Saturday, 28 December 2019

#CBR11 Book 94: "Suddenly Last Summer" by Sarah Morgan

Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Official book description:
Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

Seeing the way his grandfather treats him and talks to him when he comes back to the family resort, I'm not all that surprised that doctor Sean prefers to stay in Boston, being a sought after playboy surgeon. When his grandfather has a heart attack, however, he obviously does the right thing and comes rushing home to help out. He discovers that his brother has done a pretty good job of turning business at the Snow Crystal Resort around and that while customers aren't flocking to the place, they're not about to have to file for bankruptcy either. Now his brother's beautiful French chef is in a tizzy because the wooden deck around her lakeside cafe won't be finished in time for the grand opening, and the resort and the O'Neil family could suffer financially as a result.

Élise feels like she owes everything she has to the O'Neil family and is eternally grateful that Jackson O'Neil hired her when she was at her lowest point, and that his family have welcomed her with open arms and treats her as one of their own. She's willing to do absolutely everything for them, and the new cafe was going to be the money spinner that would attact even more guests to the Snow Crystal Resort. That the grand opening might have to be cancelled or even postponed is unthinkable to her, even if she has to accept the help of handsome doctor Sean in order to get the deck ready on time. She and Sean shared a passionate night together a year ago, but Élise has a bad track record with romance, and does not intend to ever be in a relationship again. Thankfully, Sean doesn't seem like the long term commitment kind.

Except, once he's forced to stay around in Vermont while his grandfather recuperates and keeps seeking out Élise, as the sparks flying between them are just as hot as the previous summer, Sean begins to think that maybe he has been a bit hasty in his choice to stay in Boston all the time. That Élise just wants something casual makes him all the more determined to win her over and convince her that she may want to give love and romance a second chance.

For those who would like a heads up about such things, I should warn that there is a history of physical and emotional abuse in Élise's past, which is why she's so incredibly determined never to make herself vulnerable to a man ever again. I think it's dealt with pretty well, and Sean recovers pretty well after being a bit of a clueless idiot about his lady love, not to mention the bullheadedness of his grandfather initially.

This was neither a bad, nor a particularly memorable book. I enjoyed it while I read it, but am not sure I have a desperate need to seek out any of the two other books in the series to find out how the romantic prospects of the other two O'Neil brothers work out. To be fair, this is the middle book, so I already know who Jackson ends up with (but I'm not sure I care the exact hows or whys of why they got together). Of the Sarah Morgan books I've read in the past, I enjoyed her New York-set From Manhattan with Love series more.

Judging a book by its cover: This is a pretty generic contemporary romance cover, in my opinion. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, and the cover models more or less fit the description of the protagonists, but there's nothing super appealing about it either.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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