Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Summerside Stories, Book 2
Hero: Brett O’Connor
Heroine: Renita Thatcher
Date of Publication: February 1, 2011
Started On: February 5, 2011
Finished On: February 6, 2011
Right after I was done with Sarah Mayberry’s The Last Goodbye, I was blindsided with a ton of recommendations from Amazon for readers who loved the aforementioned book, which I absolutely did, in spades. So against my better judgement, I found myself purchasing my first title from Joan Kilby, intrigued by the thought that the hero and heroine has a shared past which had not ended that well for the heroine which would make for a good angst-filled read. So all in all, my introduction to Joan Kilby was not a bad one though I won’t be in a hurry to buy the rest of the books in the Summerside series of which this is the 2nd book.
Brett O’Connor is a retired pro Australian Rules football player who makes his way back to his hometown of Summerside years after he left it with his 13 year old daughter Tegan in tow. Just recently divorced from his wife Amber who has made Brett reluctant to try anything in the relationship department, Brett is a man who is determined to make it big and show that he is not just a sports jock without a brain. With all his savings tied up in the divorce settlement proceedings, it is up to Brett to convince the local bank to grant him a hefty sum in order for him to purchase and refurbish the only gym in Summerside and open it up as a successful venture.
32 year old Renita Thatcher works as the loans manager at the Community Bank in Summerside and is a bit overweight and always at battle with self-esteem issues which had not been helped much by the fact that she had once had the mother of all crushes on Brett only to be rudely brought back to Earth by his firm rejection of her obvious feelings for him. 13 years later, Renita thinks herself to be over her painful crush on Brett O’Connor only to have her theory disproved when he walks in sinfully handsome and hot as ever into her bank to ask her to grant him the loan to start up his business.
Though Renita tries to ignore Brett and his obvious effort to charm her, she can’t help but be aware of the effect he has on her senses. And before she knows it, she and her father are cornered by Brett into joining his gym and its not long before Renita finds herself losing weight and her heart in the process as she gets to know the complex man that Brett is inside and out.
I liked the fact that this story is about real people with difficult problems in their lives, trying their hardest to overcome them. And there were no instant or magical solutions to their problems and the fact that they made mistakes along the way and had to own up to the fact makes this story a uniquely different one based on that fact alone.
As someone who is always ordered/adviced by doctors and well-meaning family members to lose weight, I could totally understand and relate with what Renita goes through during the first half of the story and surprisingly I found myself a bit more motivated than usual to experience what she goes through during the story to come out a winner in the end. Kudos to Renita for seeing through what must have been a tough journey, especially with the man who makes her insides go aflutter being her instructor.
The relationship that forges between Brett and Renita doesn’t happen overnight which is alright in itself and though Renita still has feelings towards Brett, he takes a longer time to return them which was an irksome factor for me in this story. I want the hero to have some sort of awareness of the heroine even if she is not his “usual” type of woman, a fact that makes a romance worth reading. Brett is refreshingly honest with his feelings and though that’s a good thing in itself, I would have loved it more if he had been just a tad more aware of Renita throughout the story.
Recommended for readers who like their romance with a mix of family drama in an Australian setting.