I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Up to Me by Christi Barth
Series: Shore Secrets #1
Published by Carina Press on June 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Ella Mayhew's always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family's hotel.But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds--shirtless. He's the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn't even know his name.
Graydon Locke's on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine's always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He's always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes--falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he's on the verge of axing. And letting the town's residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.
Ella's the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he's lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn't save her parents, but it's up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.
Ella Mayhew is a massage therapist at her family’s hotel. She loves it and the town but not the family legacy that expects her to one day assume control. And, she’s just starting to recover from a tragedy that occurred three years ago. Enter Graydon Locke whose purpose is to covertly evaluate the Mayhew Manor Hotel for a corporate raider for which he’s the hitman. That is until he sees Ella for the first time and the feelings were definitely mutual.
What I liked
The strength of the story lies in the writing. You’ve got “insta-lust” combined with a heroine who’s been propped up by her friends and a hero who is hiding a pretty destructive secret. This is normally a recipe I don’t particularly care for but it works so well in this story. I got to watch Ella strengthen with every page and Gray transform from this cynical, damaged man to someone admirable. It was gradually and eloquently done.
The bottom line
This is a finely crafted story of two people, both a bit broken but unwittingly helping each other heal. The romance is refreshing and they are surrounded by well-meaning friends and townspeople. There are some interesting quirks to the place but it all works. I liked my journey to liking these people and appreciating the relationship they created. This is going to be an interesting series.
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