This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Escape
Released on October 1, 2013
Torchy hot surfer at the top of his game, small town girl who enjoys getting mixed up in the local resident causes, nasty reporters looking for the next headline, interfering relations and friends, hunts at night in the local swamp for an elusive endangered marsupial and a chance at romance for two unlikely people? Count me in.
I was already predisposed toward this book when I saw the hero was a surfer since I grew up near the sea and my dad surfed when he was younger. Not that one has to have any knowledge of the sport to appreciate this story. It is a fun, warm and sexy romance for all comers. What I found as I began reading was a fab surprise because it was written by an Aussie author and set in Australia. I’ve never been to Australia so it was great how the backdrop was so colorfully drawn and made me feel like I was there. To us in the Northern Hemisphere, this book might seem a bit off on the timing with its release since surfing brings to mind summer, sun and sea, but Down Under summer is just getting started. Now me? This all has no bearing because I never find surfers or surfing out of season.
The story opens when Zane Carlton, champion surfer and home-town celebrity, returns for a brief appearance back home to be the big name at the opening of a skate park. It is at the opening that he spies Molly Georgiou who is handling the press release. He is taken by her beauty, but even more so by her whole-some goodness and innocence. The glamorous world and people he moves in these days is far from what Molly has to offer, but that is exactly what attracts him to Molly. He won’t be a competitive surfer for much longer and he has a dream for his future that doesn’t include a fast paced globe trotting life in the spotlight. Then his daydreaming is interrupted when his own crotchety grandfather shows up to rescue Molly from the media hounds who are surrounding her.
Molly can’t figure out why the hottie surfer, Zane Carlton, suddenly grabs her away from his grandfather who has rescued her from those annoying and pervy members of the press. Later he comes to her office in a snit and wants all sorts of information about her interaction with his grandfather. While she understands his need to know what is going on, she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing his grandfather’s business. She tells him what she can about the fight with the developers that is common knowledge, but hides the latest venture she, his grandfather and several others are engaged in.
Zane is hurt that his grandfather hadn’t shown a lick of interest in his life and seemed emotionally detached, but seems to have no trouble getting close to Molly. Then he discovers what the two have been up to in their local campaigns against the developers. Instead of being put off, he is more attracted than ever toward Molly. He knows what the score has to be as does she, but somehow it bothers him when his grandfather warns Molly about getting involved with Zane and tells Zane to stay away from Molly.
Just a few moments with Zane and a string of emails and texts are enough for Molly to realize that she is in deep already and definitely in over her head. One surprise visit and one steamy night are enough to show them both that things have gone beyond what they ever anticipated. They move in two different worlds and probably want very different things. She can’t be the woman a man like Zane needs her to be and she can’t expect or ask him to give up all that he has worked for to come home to her. It all seems so hopeless.
The story has an engaging plot and a nice pace. The romance split between the setting of their small coastal home town and the glitz of Zane’s celebrity world. It was a nice contrast and help show what they’re up against if they want to be together. Their connection is fast and heats up quick, but I wasn’t put off by it because it is allowed to simmer before they do much plus they are both at an age where they know what they want.
The two main characters are the best part of the story. Zane has had his time living the glam lifestyle, but he knows exactly what he wants and needs. Molly isn’t wild, but there are hints that she isn’t repressed either particularly when it comes to Zane. She too knows what she wants and decides to step out of her comfort zone to have it. I loved these two together. They were uncertain, but they were also very mature- so refreshing! I kept waiting for insecurities to bring the story to a standstill and stall out with all sorts of inner monologue and recriminations at each other, but it didn’t. The barriers were there and they dealt with them according to their personalities.
The secondary characters were a fun addition too. I loved the scenes with Zane’s grandfather and Mrs. Li. Molly is so great the way she respects these elderly people and goes right along with their schemes. Poor Zane has no idea what he has stumbled into with this gang of people that add so much humor to the story.
All in all, I recommend this to Contemporary Romance lovers who enjoy the idea of a surfer hero, small town characters, and a spicy romance.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Just a little reminder that this review counts toward the Escape Publishing Comment Giveaway associated with the Tara Chevrestt Guest Post. Also for a second chance to win some awesome Escape romances, don’t forget to comment on the Escape Publishing Anniversary post.