Marie Carrington is broke, desperate, and hoping to find sanctuary on Prince Edward Island while decorating a renovated bed-and-breakfast. Seth Sloane moved three thousand miles to help restore his uncle’s Victorian B and B–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart. He wasn’t expecting to have to babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just two months will take everything they’ve got–and they have to find a way to work together. In the process, they may find something infinitely sweeter than they ever imagined on this island of dreams.
Marie’s pulse slowed down, her breathing unfettered as she stepped onto the planks of the boardwalk. She drew the warm afternoon air into her lungs, full and whole. What was it about this place that made breathing so much easier than it had been in Boston?
“Do you think there’s magic in the air here?”
Seth looked at her like she’d lost her mind, his forehead a sea of wrinkles.
“Don’t you feel it? It’s like the ocean is calling and good ol’ St. Lawrence wants us to go for a swim.”
“Well, the gulf was named after someone, wasn’t it?”
His nod was as slow as his steps. “I suppose.”
“You’re hopeless, Seth.”
His head jerked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Only that there’s something incredible about this place, and you’re missing it.” She spun in a slow circle, lifting her face to the sun. Pine trees lent their scent and gulls their song to the day’s delights.
“I’m not missing it. I’m not missing anything.” He marched on, ignoring her, save for his monologue. “It’s a Sunday afternoon. It’s a nice day. But it’ll be better with ice cream.”
“Everything’s better with ice cream.”
“What’s gotten into you?”
She pulled off her jacket and pushed the sleeves of her sweater up to her elbows, the sun on her skin taking the sting out of the wind. “I don’t know.” And she truly didn’t.
Maybe it was the way Jack and Aretha had sat so close during lunch, exchanging stories and secret smiles. Maybe it was the local lobster in their lunch. Or simply the smell of spring winning the fight against winter’s freezing rain.
Maybe it was that for the first time in three months, she’d had butterflies.
Innocent. Unexpected. Thrilling butterflies.
When Seth had brushed his thumb across her cheek, pushing her hair out of her face, her stomach had erupted like a swarm of monarchs. Their wings had fluttered and flickered, both calling for further contact and terrified of the same.
He’d pulled away just before she flew apart.
And beyond all of that, her body had remembered how to respond to a man’s touch.
For months her only reaction to physical contact had been gasping for breath and incapacitating dizziness. But maybe this island was changing her.
She couldn’t turn down her smile.
This was one of those books that left me feeling deliciously warm and sated. Caden Holt told Marie Carrington to watch out, or the island would lure her in. The same could be said for this book!
When Jack Sloane sees Marie Carrington at the Wood Islands ferry terminal, counting her change and staring at the lunch specials, his fatherly instincts kick in. It’s obvious she wants to be left alone, but it’s equally obvious that she needs someone to reach out to her, and so he initiates a conversation on the first topic that comes to mind: He shows her some paint swatches, and asks, “Which color do you like better?” By the end of their conversation, Marie has a ferry ticket to Prince Edward Island and a job helping to decorate and outfit the bed-and-breakfast Jack is renovating.
Jack’s nephew, Seth, isn’t quite so happy about Marie’s arrival. Who knows what kind of con this girl could be running? And Jack’s just handing over money to her left, right, and centre. No one knows better than he what it feels like to be swindled out of your hard-earned savings, and he’s not going to let this scrap of a girl do that to Jack; except that Jack’s not about to let him drive her away with his surly behaviour, either. So he’ll make more of an effort – even take her antique shopping, and to the auction, if that’s what it takes. At least he can supervise the spending that way…
As Seth and Marie work together, they move beyond their first impressions of one another towards a tentative camaraderie that soon blossoms into something more. But as the expenses continue to mount and unexpected set-backs assail them, Jack begins to lose heart. Marie has the means to solve Jack’s problem, but doing so will also mean her father will learn where she is. Will she have the strength to face him now that she has Jack and Seth to stand beside her?
Seth and Marie both started out weighed down by the pain of the past. For Seth, it was the betrayal of the woman he was going to marry, and for Marie, it was the betrayal of one man and the brutality of another. I loved that we saw the gradual progression in their healing process, and that it came about through their everyday interactions as they worked to get the bed-and-breakfast ready – not just with each other, but with a delightful ensemble cast including Jack; local antiques dealer, Aretha Franklin (no relation to the singer!); and local baker, Caden Holt.
With a delightful location, well-drawn and endearing characters, gentle humour, and some heart-melting romantic moments, I breathed a sigh of contentment as I finished reading this story. I’m looking forward to meeting up with these characters again in Caden’s story, coming October 2016.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.
Release date: 1 March 2016
Publisher: Revell Books
Author’s website: http://www.lizjohnsonbooks.com/
Coming in October 2016 – #2 Prince Edward Island Dreams
In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.
Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.
When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart.