A little home improvement can go a long way…
Jesse Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.
Kat McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…
Source: ARC from Zebra (Kensington Books) via NetGalley
This short, cute novella is my first introduction to Pine Mountain and I really enjoyed it. Sure, there’s a lot of coincidence happening at the start. Jesse’s apartment is flooded, along with his three neighbours’ – one of which is Kat – meaning they all have to move out until things can be fixed. Neither Jesse or Kat have anywhere to go, but it’s okay because Kat remembers the lakehouse she and her brother inherited and which she said she’d do some repairs to sometime. Jesse’s all right too because a buddy of his has a lakehouse that could use a few repairs… Oh. How utterly (un)surprising. It’s the same place!
However, if you can get over the cheesy coincidence, this is a sweet little read about a woman who needs the secure feeling of home and a man who’s never had a home to call his own before. Kat’s a bit bossy, a touch prickly and very determined, not to mention never afraid of speaking her mind, while Jesse is quiet and uncertain and barely finding his feet after leaving the Army. Their chemistry is nicely hot, but it’s the way Kat coaxes Jesse out of his shell – and the way he makes a space for himself in her life – that I most enjoyed.
This story is short, it’s not complicated, there’s a bit of foolish she’s-too-good-for-me, sister-of-my-friend thinking that thankfully doesn’t get too tedious, some steamy renovations and a sweet bit of romance. Light and lovely, I might just have to visit Pine Mountain again soon.
Just One Taste is out May 26th!
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