Saturday, August 4, 2012

That Thing Called Love by Susan Andersen

Synopsis: For a guy she's fantasized about throttling, Jake Bradshaw sure is easy on the eyes. In fact, he seriously tempts inn manager Jenny Salazar to put her hands to better use. Except this is the guy who left Razor Bay -- and his young son, Austin, whom Jenny adores like her own -- to become a globe-trotting photojournalist. He can't just waltz back and claim Austin now.

Jake was little more than a kid himself when he became a dad. Sure, he'd dreamed of escaping the resort town, but he'd also truly believed that Austin was better off with his grandparents. Now he wants -- no, needs -- to make up for his mistake. He intends to stay in Razor Bay only until he can convince Austin to return with him to New York. Trouble is, with sexy, protective, utterly irresistible Jenny in his life, and his bed, he may never want to leave….

My Thoughts: I've seen Susan Andersen's books gracing the book store shelves for years. Heck, I even have some of her books on my personal TBR shelves. Many bookie friends have praised her and now I can see why. Between extremely realistic characters and a decent storyline it's a wonder I haven't rushed right out and bought up all her books to read right away.

The Characters: Jenny is a girl next door type (with an added pinch of spice) who has loved Austin as a brother since he was a baby and Jake is a jet-setting photographer finally coming home to be the parent he should have been ages ago. Austin is an angsty (yes spell check, I know that isn't a word) teenage boy who desperately wants a father but can't trust the father who has just popped back into his life...with good reason. But honestly it wasn't just the 3 main characters that were the only stars of this book. The entire book is filled with fully three dimensional characters making for a rich and satisfying read. When an author can run my emotions from one extreme to another during the course of a book she gets mega-praise.

The Plot: What you see is what you get. The book opens with the idea that Austin's absentee father just might want to claim his parental rights and take over the raising of Austin, which is exactly what happens. There are no real OMG moments and I don't recall ever uttering "I never saw that coming." but I think this book's simplistic storyline really allows for the readers to become fully immersed into the depths of the setting and characters.  

I did think that the ending was wrapped up too quickly (and by ending I mean the 'I Love Yous'  part.) I think Jake should have had to grovel more than what he did. But maybe that's the sadistic side of me talking.
Just so you know, there were some other happenings going on within the book. Jake and his half brother had to finally come to terms with being brothers. Jenny had a less than stellar visit with her father. Austin had his first crush. But honestly these things helped build the characters and not necessarily the plot.

In A Nut Shell: A slightly above average contemporary romance story with excellent characters made for very good read as I am extremely character driven when it comes to books I like. I will definitely read more from Susan Andersen (actually I'm hoping that Jake's brother gets a turn at HEA.) 


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