This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on March 3, 2015
I have been eager for this next book in the series since I realized that the last book was setting up for it. The books have each told the story of a different Manley brother who lost a bet to their sister in a poker game and so owed her one month of cleaning for her company and in the process found their romance. This final book is their sister’s book and her second chance romance with the boy next door now grown and suddenly aware she’s a woman.
The books all take place time-wise at the same time so could be read out of order or as standalones. They do work better in order, but just by a bit.
The story opens with Mac Manley congratulating herself on using a bit of honest deception and her grandmother’s scheming to get her brothers to help her start up her cleaning business by providing one month of free work. Her grandmother’s motivations were to see some matchmaking action since none of her grandchildren have married yet. Mac was fine with it all until she realized that she was part of the matchmaking enterprise when her grandmother requested she help gran’s best friend clean up her old home to sell it. This would have been alright, but Mrs. Nolan’s old home is now occupied by her grandson, Mac’s childhood crush while he recuperates from severe injuries. Jared Nolan was her crush for years and she knew to him that she was just her older brothers’ annoying little sister, but that didn’t stop her from throwing herself at him her senior year and getting humiliated when he made it clear what he thought of kissing young Mac Manley. But she’ll do this job for his grandmother because she is long over Jared, right?
Jared is bitter and scared over the potential loss of his ball career, he’s lonely and hurt that his parents are off doing their thing as usual leaving only Gran to care for him, and he’s forced to wonder what his future will be like now that he’s nearing the end and might not be able to go back to pitching. Into this morass of thought, he is invaded by Hurricane Mac. Where she was disaster always followed. And now she’s a grown woman with a temper and a long memory for the past. His hopes that she would be out of his way quickly are crushed when they find themselves caring for four skampish kittens, a quest to find his gran’s wedding ring in the attic, and his sudden realization that Mac is a gorgeous woman that he has to avoid at all cost. Telling himself he’s off women after the conniving Camille and the fact that this one is unavailable since he’s best friends with her brother. But forced time together makes them both see things past and present in a whole new light.
Mac and Jared’s story had as many sparks flying as I assumed it would have and I was tickled by those mischievous kittens and the matchmaking grandmothers. I was so sad about Jared’s home life and relationship or lack there of with his parents. I even enjoyed the camaraderie of Jared with all the Manley clan including Mac. It was the romance- or actually the impediment to the romance that didn’t entirely grab me. I loved these two together don’t get me wrong. The build up of tension, playfulness, snappy dialogue, flaws that were fixed, sizzle- all there. The tone of nostalgia, happiness, family and small sweet moments was such a cozy thing to just sink into and enjoy.
My one niggle is going to sound picky and it probably is. The conflict in the romance didn’t do it for me. Mac holds an unrequited childhood crush against Jared from over a decade ago. She acts like a victim of some horrid deed like abuse or infidelity when he never did anything to her other than see her as his best friend’s annoying tagalong baby sister. Her hang-ups and resistance didn’t match the situation particularly the way she doubts his word and his actions. The guy is tripping over his own crutches trying to show he’s interested now- the guy who adopts four high-maintenance baby kitties, ignores all the women in heat for him, in spite of his injuries and pain plays catch with a neighborhood boy, is patient with all his fans, agrees to his gran’s schemes just because it makes her happy, participates in Mac’s community programs when nothing’s in it for him. Not that Jared was perfect, oh heck no- oblivious male used to girls stroking the ego and all that. Cranky because he has to rely on others and he’s in pain from his injuries. So she has some legit reasons to snark, but as a barrier to romance it was too minor for me.
Alright, so Mac’s hang-ups aside, I had a good time with this story. There is humor, heart-warming moments, passion, family love and just an overall lovely, engaging story. I’m a sucker for the boy next door romance. Mac was the last of the Manleys to get a story so this might be the final book, but I really hope not. Those who enjoy adorable, humorous family life type Contemporary Romance should give this series a go.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #98 CR
Literary Pickers #99 Piercing
Cliché Klatch #33 ‘Ball in your court’
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