Bartender Mick Atwell has one more commitment before he leaves Magnolia Bay for Colorado: help his best friend, Tim, get his new wine bar POUR ready in time for its Valentine’s Day grand opening. But when Tim’s little sister Lucy breezes into town unexpectedly from New York for a visit, Mick doesn’t see how they’ll keep to their tight schedule—any more than he sees how this beautiful, spirited woman could possibly be the same irresponsible “kid” Tim has been complaining about for years…
Despite her carefree smile, Lucy Waverly hasn’t come back to Magnolia Bay for a vacation—she’s come home to hide. After discovering her boss at the gallery is selling forgeries, she needs to lay low and figure out a plan to get herself out of this dangerous mess—a plan which can’t include falling for her brother’s sexy best friend, no matter how safe he makes her feel, or how his smoldering eyes turn her inside out.
Mick has one foot out the door, but when Lucy’s troubles follow her to Magnolia Bay, they are thrust together to keep one step ahead of danger and get POUR open in time. Soon the man who lives by his plans is wondering if the woman who lives by chance may not be worth breaking his rules for.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
This was another cute trip to Magnolia Bay with a guy who’s possibly one of the best friends in the world, a woman on the run and an attraction that won’t be denied. Already racing around trying to get his friend Tim’s new wine bar finished before the grand opening, the last thing Mick needs is Tim’s bumbling baby sister arriving for an unexpected visit. Especially when he finds himself madly attracted to her – and the pair of them alone in Tim’s apartment while the man himself is snowed in during a quick trip north.
But Lucy’s not there to make trouble, she’s on the run from her fraudulent boss. Besides while she might have done some foolish things in her life, she has grown up and moved on. She just wished Tim would realise that and stop telling stories to his friend. More than anything she wishes Mick would see her for the capable adult that she is. The best way to prove it is to help get POUR ready for its big night – but small town politics, a determined ex-boss and a little spot of wine tasting might have other ideas in mind.
This was a fun, easy read. Mick’s a nice guy, though a bit Teflon since no relationship sticks to him. As a professional barman he’s highly skilled at listening without giving anything away. Except that isn’t good enough for Lucy. Sure, he’s a man with a past and some emotional issues, and while they do lead him to make some foolish decisions, he also doesn’t spend his whole time brooding about it. He doesn’t have time! Honestly, Tim is lucky to have a friend like Mick else his wine bar would have been sunk.
Lucy is a likable heroine, trying to make the most of herself and put her silly mistakes behind her. It’s just pure dumb luck that her bid for a proper life is undermined so badly. I did think she was a little pushy with Mick at times, but she’s stressed and under a lot of pressure, so I mostly let her off. Although I think the whole crime plot was too much to be handled in a novella and so was a bit feeble and definitely limps along to the finish.
That aside, though, this romance is sweet, the characters are nice, the setting is lovely. In all it’s another solid read from Magnolia Bay and a nice way to pass an hour or two.
Stealing Hearts is out February 9th!
Visit Erika Marks for more details.