by Shirley Jump
Series: Paradise Key #1
Also in this series: Love at the Beach Shop, Resort to Love, Small Town Love
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: April 29, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Lauren Webster has always thought the town of Paradise Key could use a little shaking up. A partner in a marketing firm, Lauren decides to turn her trip to Paradise Key into an opportunity to work with the Tourism Bureau and create a splashy media campaign. Lauren isn’t interested in love—she’s all business from the second she arrives... until the summer love she never forgot leads the fight against her cosmopolitan changes, and Lauren begins to question the life she thought she wanted and the life she left behind.
When Carter Malone's father has a heart attack, he runs back home to take care of his family. He revels in the small town life, so when he hears Lauren's plans for commercializing Paradise Key, he steps up as her most vocal opponent. However, he can't forget the summer they shared and everything unspoken between them.
If Lauren falls for Carter, she risks losing everything she's worked for. Will this second chance at love be doomed before it has a chance to rekindle?
I first found out about this multi-author series when I saw that Priscilla Oliveras had a book in it, so after reading and loving it (review to come!), I went back and requested the rest of the series as well, though this book can be read as a stand-alone.
“Real life, though, didn’t exist in some cottage on the beach with a boy who’d only loved her until the end of August. Real life came with bills and rent and a sick father who was expecting her to become the daughter she should have been all along. Someday this company will be yours, her father often said, with the unspoken message that he expected her to not only carry on his legacy, but also make it even bigger. The trouble? Lauren didn’t love the job her father lived for.”
Lauren was ready to give up her chance at a high-powered career in her father’s company to stay with Carter years ago, except she became convinced that he didn’t love her. She wanted to stay in Paradise Key, the sleepy Florida resort town where they’d fallen in love and where Carter’s father owned the general store, but Carter was jonesing to leave as soon as possible and didn’t want anything to tie him there. Ten years later, Lauren’s back in Paradise Key following the funeral of one of her best friends, and the last thing on her mind is rekindling her summer fling with him. After bungling a high profile client, she needs to land a client to appease the partners are her father’s company. Since her memories of summers in Paradise Key are one of the few things she cares about any more, she hatches a plan to sell an advertising campaign to the local tourist board. Unfortunately, her beach bum boyfriend is now somehow one of the de factor town leaders, and he’s against anything that would change the tone of Paradise Key. Carter left after high school for Chicago – to go to college and get a job in finance. But the high-powered job – completely with swanky apartment and equally work-obsessed fiancee – paled when he returned to Paradise Key to take care of his father after his heart attack. After seeing how the town rallied around his family, he realized he was home to stay for good. With Lauren back, he realizes what he’s been missing… and if only there were some way to show her what she’s been missing, too.
“There’s just something about this place, isn’t there? Makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do.”
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The descriptions of small-town life were so much fun, and I especially loved all the secondary characters, like Carter’s dad and Mr. Evans with his string of lady friends. I liked Carter’s attempts to win back Lauren, even when all she wanted to do was talk about an ad campaign for the town. The problems that really brought the book down a star for me were the resolutions of the romance and her conflict with her father. View Spoiler »Despite hardly ever being able to stand up to him for her entire life, when he arrives at Paradise Key, Lauren’s somehow able to convince him to give up his life’s work and move to the small town after a five minute walk on the beach. As for Lauren and Carter’s relationship – if you can call it that, based on a summer when they were teens and something like three dates over the course of less than a week – ends in a marriage proposal. While I certainly felt like they had potential as a couple based on their time together, it seemed too short for them to decide to spend the rest of their lives together after spending ten years apart. It just felt like everything wrapped up way too quickly, and with a neat little bow on top as well. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, while I enjoyed it, the quickness of the resolution was too much for me. I think it’s still a fun summer read, perfect for a beach vacation, and perhaps a reader who wasn’t as skeptical of insta-love would enjoy it more.