This Small Town, Single Dad, Age-Gap Romance Will Have You In Stitches! Great For Ignite Fans ...
Commenté aux États-Unis le 13 mars 2022
Harper Wants The Fairy Tale Ending She Has Always Dreamed Of, But Greyson Doesn’t Believe In Love & Happy Endings! He Just Wants To Win A Bet & Get Out Of Town. Fans Of Melanie Harlow’s Ignite Will Enjoy This Book!
This new book is a standalone, but the cast of characters could easily lead to a series that takes place in the small Colorado town of Fairhope. Fairhope may be small, but it doesn’t lack in events. It hosts an endless assortment of events throughout the years that gets the locals out and about.
Greyson Ashford, thirty-six, is returning home to Fairhope, Colorado to help out his ailing grandfather. He had left the small town after high school, earned an MBA, and made a home for himself in D.C. Greyson believes love is an illusion, but he had been happy to find a comfortable existence with Katie, his ex-wife. They had both changed over time, however, and with that, their tolerance for one another waned. He is left with his career and his two rambunctious children, whom he loves. He gets the kids on the weekends and looks forward to every minute with them.
Greyson works for Stay Inn, a chain with hundreds of hotels. His branch acquires failing hotels to add to his company’s portfolio. It is a corporate setting, but the field is not new to him. His grandfather has operated the Ashford Inn for the last sixty years. The old building is full of history and character, and the memories attached to it make it feel like home. With his grandfather’s aging and recent health setbacks, Greyson has been granted a three-month emergency family leave to return to Fairhope and attend to the Ashford Inn while his grandfather recuperates. Fortunately, Katie has a soft spot for his grandfather and was willing to work with him on taking the kids along.
Billy and Molly keep Greyson busy – too busy to even think about dating. His nine and six-year-old keep him on his toes. Billy is a carbon copy of himself – a real charmer with a lot of crazy ideas and excess energy. Molly hopes to become a unicorn and eagerly agrees to her older brother’s schemes.
Greyson is the oldest of three boys. Zack, thirty, stayed in Fairhope and runs an animal rehab center. He is an outdoor version of Greyson and is very popular with the local women. He remains a bachelor, though, because none can complete with his devotion to his work. Zack loves to make bets with Greyson, and Greyson can never say ‘no.’ Their youngest brother Patrick is the only one that followed in their father’s footsteps – and the only one their father is proud of. They were raised in privilege by a father more concerned with appearances and his own selfish interests than in his sons’ happiness. There is also a baby sister who ran away from home last year. Hailey, roughly eighteen, is estranged from the family. It is a little unclear when the parents moved away, but Greyson had gone to high school in Fairhope.
Harper Halladay (also referenced as Halloday and Halloway in the ARC copy), twenty-three, has always wished for a once upon a time fairy tale story with a happily ever after. She has a big heart and loves kids. She returned home to Fairhope just two months ago after spending two years in France studying culinary arts. She has since become a local celebrity and darling in her sleepy town. She loves her hometown, but if she doesn’t find work soon, she might be forced to move away. Her mom runs a bagel shop in town, and her mother’s success helped Harper put together her own business plan. If she can just impress the right person at the Night of Lights celebration, she could find herself a potential investor and open her own restaurant.
When she crosses paths with a very grouchy and broody father, she doesn’t expect to be so attracted to him. He is definitely too old for her – and she does not have a daddy complex – so it catches her by surprise when they are suddenly flirting with one another. It doesn’t help matters that his kids have them practically walking down the aisle together.
When Greyson gets to Fairhope, he is startled by the Inn’s lack of customers. He soon gets mired into turning the business around for his grandfather, which happens to be his specialty. Adding a restaurant to the lobby seems to be the answer, but hiring the adorable young woman across the street to run it isn’t a good idea. She is entirely too young and too tempting, even if she would be perfect for the job.
Greyson and Harper soon begin a casual no-strings relationship with the knowledge that he is returning to D.C. in a few months. There is no hope of anything permanent between the two, which leads to a rocky relationship. Greyson is afraid of happiness, choosing to embrace his grumpy side instead since his marriage with Katie fell apart. Harper may be patient and forgiving, but a man such as Greyson is almost impossible to embrace. He is shockingly brutal with his words and not terribly worthy of her forgiveness, but the couple eventually finds a sweet happy ending.
Wow! Let me start by saying that Billy and Molly are a riot. I didn’t just laugh – I laughed hard at a few spots. Greyson is growly but charming, a strange combination, but it works.
Fans of Melanie Harlow’s Ignite will enjoy this book that has many similarities. In both stories, the single dad has two children and is divorced with shared custody. In Ignite, the girls are eight and five. Here, the boy is nine and the girl is six. In both books, the adorable trouble-making kids play matchmakers to varying degrees. The children in both also show up uninvited at a neighbor’s home. Both fathers swear a lot and vow never to be like their fathers. Both are refusing to date since their separation and are not in touch with their emotions. They are emotionally unavailable. They each have an ex-wife that is moving on and ready to settle down again. Both dads fall for a younger woman. In Ignite, the dad is thirty-four and the young woman is twenty-two. Here, the dad is thirty-six and the woman is twenty-three – so the age gaps are twelve and thirteen years. In both cases, the young woman’s mother owns a bakery (one specializes in cupcakes, the other in bagels), and both women have a cat. They each fall in love too easily and are trying to take a step back from men. Both stories begin with a scene that humiliates the young woman in her apartment – in front of the uninvited father and his children. Both stories involve a bet, and both have a number of laugh-out-loud moments.
What makes these books different is two points. First, Greyson is only in town for three months. Additionally, Greyson and Harper spend much of their time fighting rather than enjoying the benefits of their casual agreement.
As mentioned above, this looks to be the beginning of a new series, and there are a number of characters introduced here that might have their own stories told down the line. As of yet, there is nothing to indicate what might follow.
There remain two bachelor Ashford brothers. Zack, thirty, goes from relationship to relationship, breaking hearts around town. He prioritizes animals more than his girlfriends, so it always comes to an end. We know he has one employee, Crystal, and that she drives him crazy. Someone as into animals as him might just capture his heart for good, so Crystal could be his perfect match. Patrick, twenty-eight, is an attorney in New York; returning home might lead to a story similar to Greyson’s. The Ashfords also have a little sister, Hailey, eighteen, as well as cousins – Griff and Jay – nearby.
Kenny Mathers is a hometown boy that went on to international fame as a rock star and happens to have a history with Lin and Harper, who both hated him since elementary school. Lin, in particular, despises him, and during a visit to town, he implies he will be returning for her. Tristan Meadows, his drummer, is also a hometown boy who could have a story to tell.
Harper’s besties, Lin and Farrah, are introduced here. While it looks like Lin could get a story soon with Kenny, Farrah is yet up for grabs. Their new friend and coworker, Gabby, is a possible match, too. Kenny’s little sister gets mentioned here as well.
If I were to guess, Tristan and Hailey will be matched up (he is her type and not related to her). Kenny and Lin are an obvious match. So are Patrick and Crystal. Patrick, Griff, and Jay could be matched with Farrah, Gabby, and Kenny’s sister. If I were to venture a guess, I would say that Patrick would be matched with Farrah. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out!
Harper wants the fairy tale ending she has always dreamed of, but Greyson doesn’t believe in love and happy endings. He just wants to win a bet and get out of town. This small town, single dad, age-gap romance will have you in stitches. There are fourteen laugh-out-loud moments by my count. Fans of Melanie Harlow’s Ignite will enjoy this book that has many similarities. This book is nicely written. It starts out great with lots of laughs. I found it dragging by the end, but it was a good read. The plot is fairly simple. There are a number of good characters. Greyson’s character was developed more than Harper’s just because so much of the story revolved around his family. The story is told in first person. The POV alternates between Greyson and Harper. I rate this book four stars.
I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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