The Bachelor's Bed

Blue Flame

Duets 42

Duets 57

Get a Clue

The Harder They Fall

Her Sexiest Mistake

Her Perfect Stranger

Hiding Out at the Circle C

Long-Lost Mom

Out of This World

Room Service

Seduce Me

Seeing Red

Slow Heat

Strong and Sexy

White Heat

Who's the Boss

The Sweetest Thing
by Jill Shalvis
(Forever, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0446-57162-3
Here is a fun filled, sexy, entertaining story of two lustful people who finally realize that their sexual attraction which started 17 years ago as teenagers can become something lasting. The Sweetest Thing is not without some issues, but it does ultimately satisfy one’s romantic sweet tooth.

Tara Daniels has had a hell of a life in 34 years. First she grew up going in between her divorced parent’s homes, primarily staying with her dad. Then one summer she comes to Lucky Harbor, Washington to stay with her mom and her 17 year old libido is highjacked by local hot shot Ford Walker. They have hot sex all summer – on the boat, in the water, in their beds, etc. When Tara ended up pregnant, the followed the practical and Tara left to go have the baby and give it up for adoption. That decision has always caused some regrets and she will never forget holding her baby girl in her arms for the short period she did.

Tara then went back to Texas and hooked up with heart throb and race car star Logan Perrish. Their marriage didn’t last and for two years, Tara has been trying to discover who she really is. She has now returned to Lucky Harbor to help her two half sisters open up their mother’s old house and turn it into a bed and breakfast.

Tara is an anal retentive, control freak and often accused of being too serious. She loves sailing and loved sailing with Ford. Ford is in town too. He was a star race boat driver and has now retired. There are insinuations that Ford is retired but keeps his hand in business activities but this is not well developed. Mainly, Ford bartends at the bar he owns with his best friend and sails when he wants to. He has a reputation as a love-em and leave-em kinda guy, one who will never commit. He was devastated when Tara gave up their child for adoption, although he totally agreed with the decision. He has unresolved issues about wishing Tara would have been a little more daring and at least thought about making a permanent home with him.

The story follows Tara and Ford’s burgeoning re-relationship. Their lust is strong as ever and yet they have a history and a kind of friendship. Tara is also dealing with her two sisters. Maddie is currently “seeing” Ford’s best friend. Chloe is an asthma suffering younger sister who grows on the reader as the tale progresses. Their two stories will most likely follow, although Maddie’s romance seems pretty solid since she did get engaged in this story.

Barriers to Tara and Ford’s romance include their preconceived notions about each other from the teenage years and the reappearance of Tara’s ex-husband with a story about missing her and wanting her back. Everyone can see he is just bored and decided this would be a good thing to do while he is recovering from an injury. But the little town, like many little towns, embrace the gossip-producing two men – one woman scenario and this pushes Tara into even more angst filled moments.

This was a story that is written in that scatterbrained folksy style that many contemporaries are written. There is lust, sex, sexual tension and small town homey touches. There are scenes of embarrassment and scenes which are touching. The romance is good even with the self-induced starts and stops. And when an unexpected surprise turns up on the porch of the inn, Tara and Ford must really do some soul searching to find out how to mold the past into a present and possibly a future.

If Ford is a little too good and patient, oh well, it is a romance story. If Logan is a bit of a flirt and an inconvenience rather than a serious threat to the happy ever after, oh well, it is a romance story. And if Tara is a little too anal and makes a habit of second and third guessing everything that happens, oh well, it is a romance story. And if the surprise is a bit too handy and without real life realism, oh well, it is a romance novel. And ultimately The Sweetest Thing is just that – a pretty good romance story.

--Shirley Lyons

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