by Kristan HigginsContemporary Romance
Published April 24th 2012 by HQN Books
ARC from NetGalley
After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon’s Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father’s wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she’s not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox. Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist’s assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn’t the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn’t the only thing that needs a little TLC…
Parker Welles has had a trust account to support herself for most of her life until her father loses the entire family fortune, including the family home, in an insider trading scheme. She's a single mother raising her five-year old son Nicky with the help of her best friends, Ethan (his father)and Lucy (Ethan's wife). Parker is also the author of a hit children's book series that she absolutely loathes but the profits have always been contributed to charity so she doesn't have a source of income. She finds herself homeless except for a house in Gideon's Bay, Maine that she inherited from her maternal great Aunt Julia years ago but has never seen.
Parker is excited to start a new life in her home by the sea until she sees in for the first time. It's a dilapidated shack at best and needs a lot of work and she's got limited funds. Her father's personal attorney, James Cahill, who she's always referred to as "Thing One," accompanies her to help get her fix it up and get settled. He has family in the area and stays for the next couple of months to help out a reluctant Parker. Meanwhile, Nicky goes on a three-week vacation with Ethan and Lucy so Parker and James are going it alone.
The charm of this story comes from Parker's resilience and commitment to making the best of her life. Her past is revealed throughout the book and we learn more about her relationships with members of her family, especially the complicated one with her father. James is a pretty good sport, taking Parker's initial disdain of him in stride and giving her time and space to get to know his true character. It was a nice change of pace to see a romance be given time to develop and grow while they learn more about each other. When their feelings begin to deepen, it seemed natural for James and Parker to consider the possibility of a relationship. It isn't an easy one but it's terribly realistic as they grapple with commitment, parenting and trust. You cannot help but like Parker as she immerses herself into the small community and develops relationships with the people in the town and even begins working as a florist assistant with her distant cousin. James has a bit of baggage as well so they both are tackling issues from their past as they move forward with their relationship and what's next for them career wise.
This story also includes updates of the characters from The Next Best Thing and Catch of the Day. If you enjoyed those books this one will be even more delightful. The characters come to life and the story is well written. I'm hoping there's another sequel as I was reluctant to let these characters go.