Title: Tequila and Tingles
Author: Keri Ford
Series: Turtle Pine #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: Jan 26th
Love doesn’t hang around in the shallow end. You have to dive deep for it.
Tequila shots 1, Beth Revlin 0.
No respectable single mom wakes up in a stranger’s hotel room with no memory of what happened the night before. When Beth does just that, she willingly takes the walk—more like a sprint—of shame, rather than face her humiliation.
Then Mr. One Night Stand turns out to be Mr. New Swim Coach to her five-year-old daughter. Holding her head high and pretending nothing happened seems like a good plan.
Olympic gold medalist Jason Johnson plans to stay in Turtle Pine just long enough to recharge his batteries. But Beth and her painfully shy little girl touch something in the depths of his soul. Besides, he needs to return Beth’s shoes without inciting small-town gossip—and tell her the truth about that night.
Beth can’t deny she’s attracted, but she’s not just guarding her own heart. She’s guarding her children’s hearts as well. If Jason captures them only to walk away, the pain he’ll leave in his wake could be more than she can handle.
Warning: Contains an Olympic swimmer who’s got his strokes down to a science, and a single mom who’s seriously considering jumping into the deep end.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
This book is high on the feel-good factor and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s just so cute and enjoyable and the kids are sweet and Jason is lovely and even Beth seems kinda nice, if a little defensive. It made me smile a lot throughout and the ending – while a bit abrupt – overflowed with cuteness.
Yet, somehow, all this adorableness never got too much. Possibly because Beth has serious abandonment issues thanks to her bastard of an ex-husband, and she’s willing to push away any and all good opportunities to save her kids ever getting hurt again. Is this a little unfair on Jason at times? Certainly. Did I blame her? Not one bit.
Speaking of Jason, he’s surprisingly lovely given the scandalous cloud he arrives under and his initial sneering at what he’d been reduced to (both of which sort of vanish from the story never to be mentioned again). Yet the way he interacts with not just Beth but her kids as well, showed a real maturity. He listens when Beth raises concerns and he tries so hard to do what she thinks is best. He’s also gorgeous and they have great chemistry, but it’s the way he is with the kids that won me over. Especially Katie. That troubled little girl was amazing and I loved the way she stole Jason’s heart.
However, I was a little confused about Jason’s Olympic career. I know swimmers don’t have a particularly long stint in the limelight, but twenty-five seemed a bit young to me for it to have all been over. And it sounded like he’d been a coach for a while too, meaning that he was even younger when he stopped. I wasn’t even sure what stroke he specialised in or even what distance. Or what medals he won at the Olympics. Or if he had any world titles along the way. Or, well, any details about his career at all, to be honest. All we get is that he was once a successful swimmer, he was at the Olympics and he knows how to swim. So, if you’re interested in his sporting life, you might be a touch disappointed.
Then again, the rest of the book definitely makes up for it. There was just so much here that I liked, from the way Jason reunited with his sister and made friends (away from swimming for the first time in his life), to how Beth’s family dealt with everything, even the way that the age gap between Beth and Jason didn’t really matter – even if everyone else tried to imply it would.
If you’re looking for a contemporary read that will make you smile and even give your heart a squeeze every now and then, this book is worth a try. Especially if you appreciate cute kids with a few emotional issues, a surprisingly mature sporting hero and a heroine who isn’t afraid to put her kids first. The ending did sneak up on me unexpectedly, but I still smiled when I put it down. All in all, it’s adorable.
Tequila and Tingles is out January 26th!
Visit Keri Ford for more details.