tl;dr: sexy fling between cop and actress thwarted by con man father
I was incredibly underwhelmed by the previous book in this series, but decided to give this one a try since I hadn’t disliked the writing of the other book, just the plotting. And while this book suffers from a few of the same problems, the general arc of the story is much more compelling.
Finn Kelly spots a lingerie clad actress trying to sneak back into her burning theater, and follows her inside to make sure that she isn’t in danger. Sophie Birch is desperate to save the only copy of a script she feels will be a game changer for her small theater. Of course, with so much skin on display, Finn is really feeling the heat in the room. And Sophie is really digging the heroic cop display from Finn.
Despite Finn’s insistence that they can and should embark on some sort of romantic adventure, Sophie puts the brakes on it. She doesn’t let too many people get close because her con man of a father is back in town and she worries that he’ll fleece her friends for all they have if he sniffs out what these people mean to her. And even worse, Frank Birch seems to think that if his daughter marries, he’ll be set for life in a guest room. Sophie has watched her father bleed numerous people dry and she’ll be damned if he’ll ruin the life she’s made for herself here in Boston.
I really liked the explanation of why Sophie didn’t want to get involved with Finn. It made a lot of sense. It was self-preservation not only for herself, but for people that she didn’t want to see get hurt the way that she had been. The descriptions of all of her previous stepmothers and the hurt and pain that Frank’s marriages cost her is palpable. To me, it seemed even more compelling than a generic “I’m a afraid of getting hurt again,” which I know is a real excuse that people use for not getting into romantic relationships, but after seeing it time and again, this was a really fresh way of keeping the hero and heroine apart.
I did find that some of the expositions were too long and unnecessary, and could have been dropped into the story more organically. Some of the characters seemed to just get lost in their own thoughts a little too much, which is not the best use of third person omniscient in my opinion. However, the characters were clearly separated and there was no POV-jumping. We also only got the perspectives of Finn and Sophie, which is always a good choice to keep the prose clear and uncomplicated.
If you enjoy books with family drama and light suspense, then you will likely enjoy this book. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but I don’t think reading the previous books is essential for this one. Most of them are Finn’s very large and boisterous family, so that’s all limited to this book.
Find it at your local library!