So we have a location scout on her last chance with the studio who finds the perfect setting only it’s owned by a writer reluctant to extend to the craziness of his life with adding Hollyweird to a book deadline and responsibilities for his brother’s three precocious kids. Bargaining is at its finest when the sparks of attraction fly, small town gossip sizzles, secret deals are struck in this sizzling, fun small town romance.
Sweet Southern Bad Boy is the third book in the Harmony Homecoming series. I wasn’t paying attention and picked it up based on the blurb and new to me author. Turns out, I got lucky and this worked fine as a standalone. I could see who the earlier couples were and there were references to their situations, but no series spoilers were given so I can easily go back for the others if I want.
Katie McKnight needs to prove herself to her famous producer dad and her occasional fiancé who is kissing her dad’s butt to advance with McKnight Studios. Nobody thinks she has talent or skill or the ability to stick with a career. She will prove herself by nailing the contract on the location for her dad’s popular teen vampire TV show. Vance Kerner’s barn and farmhouse are exactly perfect. If only she can talk the attractive flirting writer into signing the papers. Katie is so determined that she agrees to watch his energetic nephews and niece to allow him to make a writing deadline even while she is confused over his attraction and approval of her when her ‘taking a break’ fiancé seems uninterested.
Vance is at wits’ end when the cute location scout shows up and whips his brother’s kids into shape. He’s got writer’s block, but it really has little to do with the distraction of the kids. This latest book in his trilogy is just not coming to him. With Katie’s arrival blow the winds of change for Vance, for his dad, and for a chance at love if the secrets he’s keeping don’t ruin it all.
Alright, this one was in the tone I enjoy for light southern small town romance. The quirky denizens of Harmony were colorful and the gossip was flowing fast. The overall feel for the story was more over the top than I like when it came to the town craziness and his friends’ ‘interventions’ in his love life, but it was still a fun element.
Vance is a home town boy and everyone knows his business and has an opinion including his matchmaking friends. He was a rebellious teen after his mom died and his dad’s strictures and withdrawal divided them. He’s had his affairs, but for the most part has settled down to his work and doing what he can for family. He quickly acts on his attraction to Katie and patiently pursues her though she pulls back each time. The way he kept secrets around her made it obvious what the big conflict was going to be in the end- yep, those secrets will come out, buddy.
Katie on the other hand has no real roots, but her whole life has been spent as a doormat for her self-absorbed parents. Katie acts mousy and looks mousy and has trouble believing a guy like Vance is really interested and she has no clue what to do with his interest. She is the product of long-term emotional abuse from parents who put her down constantly so she can’t see her gifts, skills, personality, and looks like everyone in Harmony does. I struggle with this type of heroine because I don’t have a lot of patience for the sort of stuff she allowed and put up with, but I also was angry on her behalf and really wanted her to come into her own and tell her parent’s off.
I really felt Katie’s need to stand on her own and Vance’s need for a repaired relationship with his dad were more front and center than the romance which came on quick with the feelings of love once they did something about the attraction. It made sense that they had to deal with individual situations before they were ready for something together.
All in all, Vance was definitely a Sweet Southern Bad Boy and Katie was a fun California girl to match him in this light, slightly spicy small town Contemporary Romance that I can recommend to those who enjoy it, too.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.