It is SuperLibrarian Wendy’s TBR Challenge time! This month the theme is Contemporary. I was at home sick with a rather nasty bug yesterday, I was feeling all alone and palely loitering in my bedroom – too tired to read but I did not want to watch anything either so I put out a call to twitter for romance fiction audiobook recommendations. Of course, wonderful tweeps everywhere gave me some crackin’ recs including a couple of recommendations for an author I had not heard of called Zoe York. I gave up on working out the intricacies of my eaudio account and downloaded a couple of her ebooks to read from the Pine Harbour series:
Love in a Small Town (Book 1)
by Zoe York
Rafe Minelli knows better than to tell his wife no, particularly since they aren’t married anymore. She can’t hightail it out of town, though, not when they’ve finally broken through the post-divorce cold war status quo.
Olivia Minelli needs to leave Pine Harbour. It’s just too hard to see Rafe moving on without her—even if he says he doesn’t want to. But when a new and exciting job falls into her lap, she needs to choose: protect her heart, or take the new job and risk getting emotionally entangled with her ex-husband. Again.
This story is a marriage reconciliation story. Rafe and Olivia have been divorced for two years but she still serves him his daily coffee at the cafe where she works. The story kicks off where he brings his one-night stand in for a breakfast. Olivia is angered and horrified but later finds out that he had not slept with her and in actual fact had remained celibate for their two years apart as he had not really wanted to divorce Olivia. This was quite a sad story of two people who had a strong connection yet did not know how to work through disagreements. I really liked that a lot of the moments of connection for the two was when they were slow dancing (Bingo!) – there is such an intimacy to slow dancing that you don’t even realise that anyone else is there. Their reconciliation story acknowledges that good sex does not mean that problems can be overcome but knowing that they can get past a fight without breaking up and perhaps needing some guidance in achieving this is an important part of Rafe and Olivia’s story. I enjoyed how they slowly came to trust each other again and really liked their connection.
Love in a snow storm (Book 2)
by Zoe York
Contractor and army reservist Jake Foster fell in love with Dani Minelli when she was a colt-legged high school senior. He knew he was too old to even look at her, let alone touch.
Dani’s been trying to get his attention since returning to Pine Harbour a grown woman—and failing miserably at every turn.
This winter, everything is going to change. And when the snow stops falling, Jake and Dani won’t be able to hide from their attraction any longer.
Jake and Dani (Rafe from the previous story’s sister) have had a crush (Bingo!) on each other for a long time but their age difference (8 years) and the fact that they grew up together makes this relationship a no-go zone for Jake who is disgusted at himself for even having thought of a 17 year old in that way. When Dani is 20 and Jake is 28 they have a short acknowledgement of their connection but once again Jake denies wanting Dani leaving her pining for her. So the story finally opens when Dani is 25 and finally, after the two of them had a number of different relationships over the years, they come together. They have sparks and love and they are fabulous. However, they keep their relationship secret so that neither of their gaggle of brothers and other family members know that they are together because, you know, Dani being of the female gender seems to need these testosterone driven men to protect her (which she clearly doesn’t). It was rather touching to read Jake getting all upset because he deeply loved Dani but thought she only wanted him for a booty call. Dani also made a great statement when Jake voices regrets that he hadn’t accepted her approach when she was 20. She points out that they were now together as equals whereas if he had deflowered her or been her first there would have always been doubt for them. She needed to have had other experiences so for their relationship not to have a power imbalance and this is where a lot of virgin/older man narratives fall down. There was also a subplot with an ex-hookup of Jake’s which really annoyed me as it brought an external tension into their relationship which I didn’t feel made all that much difference to their relationship. I liked how Jake and Dani’s insecurities played out but I didn’t feel that they were explored enough in this book. I also felt that their coming together occurred much too early in the story which dissipated the tension that was needed to take this from a good to a great romance.
Meanwhile, Zoe York’s Canadian lakeside setting is beautiful. The weather plays an important part in the small town that the main characters all live in. In both books Rafe and Dani’s mother is portrayed as a meddling woman who is not particularly nice to the people her children like (though at times you see a glimmer of a heart’o’gold). I haven’t figured her out yet and perhaps more will come to light in the subsequent books in the series. Zoe York’s sex scenes are rather explicit and steamy and, for the most part, drive the plot forward rather than just be a leg over scene to make up the word count. There are another two books left in the series which I will probably return to. Both these books were page turners and highly enjoyable.
I purchased copies of these ebooks from an online retailer.