tl;dr: ANOTHER SUGARY SNACK FROM NINA LANE
Sweet Escape begins nearly immediately after Sweet Dreams. With Polly off to Paris for her pastry-making class, sister Hannah is left behind to manage the bakery, and to hopefully continue to keep Wild Child on the upswing since the donut/eclairs hybrid that Polly invented boosted them into some minor fame. With CEO Luke Stone off in Paris with his fiancée, Evan Stone is left to manage that family business, but the next youngest Stone brother is keeping a secret: the fact that he will need to have surgery on his heart, getting a replacement valve, within the next 4-5 months. He doesn’t want anyone to know because he’s worried that Luke will come home and displace him yet again.
Of course, what else are two family-business stand-ins to do but fall for each other? Neither of them want anything serious, but of course their hearts betray them. Hannah bids on Evan at a bachelor auction that she’s catering, and suddenly they have 3 dates to go on, and all of that quality time together leads them to some canoodling in the Napa Valley.
I enjoy Nina Lane, I truly do. But I found this book to be entirely too much like her other books, particularly in the way that both leads want to have “fun” but then end up falling in love, and try to resist it all the way to the end. This book did have a lot more of an emotional impact than Sweet Dreams, partially because of Evan’s heart condition and Hannah’s wanderlust, and how those two things together don’t fit. Actually, the conflict between the two characters here makes more sense to me, because Evan doesn’t want to prevent Hannah from traveling since she loves it so much, and he physically can’t go with her.
I may not have noticed this if I hadn’t read them back-to-back, but Nina Lane renames the town that Polly and Hannah live in from Eastvale to Rainsville. Whoops!
Aside from some minor characterization differences, I felt like this book was nearly a carbon copy in terms of plot outline as it’s predecessor. I still have the third book to tackle, and I sincerely hope that it will shake things up a bit.
My complaint that the books are too similar is very minor. In general, this is a lovely romance. The sex is hot, the chemistry between the leads is genuine, and I am beginning to enjoy the interactions with all the other characters from both books. This story had a tiny bit more angst, which is to be expected when one of the characters needs to have heart surgery, but in general is quite light. You can’t go wrong settling down on the beach with this book.
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Looking for a romance with both medical issues and sexy times? Try Abigail Barnette’s The Girlfriend. Content warning for cancer and treatment.