Known for her sexy, humorous, and fun stories, Jill Shalvis is an author one can always count on to bring it. This story hits all those Shalvis trademarks, but before you sit down to read this one, you should arm yourself with a few accessories, such as wine, dark chocolate, and a big box of tissues, because this one is packing a big walloping emotional punch….
“Don't worry about staying inside the lines, Bailey darling… just go for it.”
Bailey is living life to its fullest for the first time, doing everything she has always dreamed of. Skiing in the Rockies is one of the things on her 'list', but as a graphic artist, she has also been commissioned to paint a family mural for a locally owned ski resort. Both of these things puts her in contact with the head of the Ski Patrol and resort owner, Hudson Kincaid.
Hudson, is a man under a lot of pressure. His mother is suffering from dementia, he and his twin brother, Jacob, are estranged, something that weighs on his mind daily, and his family owned ski resort is feeling a serious financial pinch. The last thing they need is a huge mural, something they can ill afford. But, when Bailey sets her mind on something, she doesn't let go. So, every weekend for two months, Bailey will be coming to Cedar Ridge to work on the mural free of charge, and Hudson doesn't know if he should laugh or cry.
With Bailey and Hud both being stubborn to the extreme, a little battle of wills ensues over the mural, leading to some sharp wit and lightly toned banter and highlighting the sizzling sexual tension between them, but there's a poignancy lying beneath the surface, giving the story a solid substance beyond the typical romantic conflict.
Hudson may be super-hot and sexy, but he also carries around an aura of melancholy. He's happy in his work, he loves his family, and Cedar Ridge, but he's missing something in his life, and has a tendency to push people away. He can be SO stubborn and frustrating, but when Bailey worms her way into his heart, he finds himself at a crossroads. Will he let Bailey walk out of his life once the mural is complete or will he show her what he's made of?
Bailey is an inspiration, living with gusto, embracing her newly found lease on life, plus, she sets an example and sends out a subtle reminder that life is fleeting and we should not take a single thing for granted, should stop sweating the small stuff and live in the moment, taking time to do things we enjoy with the people we love. Don't settle for complacency, or hold grudges, carry around bitterness, or wallow in regret. I loved her spunk, her positive thinking, her humor, and the way she twisted Hudson right around her little finger.
Rounding out the story is the large and supportive Kincaid clan, who provides lots of laughs and insights into what makes Hud tick. Hud's mother also adds a bittersweet element, especially when she is lucid.
The humor and sharp witted dialogue kept the story balanced and despite the heavy hitting subject matter, it did not become too mushy or drippy. Like Bailey, I am a big fan of mixing romance with great passion and emotional attachment and it is so very refreshing to read a romance novel that provides all these elements. Bailey and Hud finally get their hard earned happy ever after and no one deserves it more than they do.
UNEXPECTED AND UNDENIABLE . . .
Bailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she's determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn't realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn't the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she's not planning to stick around.
As head of ski patrol at his family's resort, Hud thinks he's seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet . . . something rare and all kinds of wonderful.