Published on April 14, 2016
Published by Kindle Worlds
Copy for review provided by Author in exchange for an honest review.
Josie DeMarco moved to Mimosa Key three years ago to escape the scandalous heartbreak that destroyed her life. She has a job and friends she loves on the idyllic island off the coast of Florida, but her world is turned upside down when Tony Granville seeks her help to escape the relentless paparazzi stalking him. As Prince Anton Edward, heir to the throne of a small European nation, Tony can’t lead a normal life with the responsibilities of his title, and the constant scrutiny of his father, King Edward, hanging over him. But when Tony is back with Josie, the only woman he’s ever loved, he realizes he’s willing to give up his crown to be with her. What he doesn’t know is if she would give up the life she’s made for herself to be with him.
This novella length story, part of the Barefoot Bay Kindle World with a setting created by Roxanne St. Claire, is a second chance at love romance combined with the ever popular best friend’s sibling trope. Tony and Nick are friends, and Nick’s younger sister Josephine has a crush on Tony. Eventually, it leads to an affair between them – one that is rudely ended when Tony’s identity as Prince of a small European country is revealed. He leaves to return to his country and breaks Josephine’s heart. A few year’s later, an untoward woman pulls a nasty tabloid move, sending Tony into hiding. What better person than his old friend Nick (unaware of what happened between his friend and his sister) to help him out by offering him a place to stay with Josie in idyllic and quiet Barefoot Bay. Can Josie find it in her heart to forgive Tony, and take a chance on him again?
This is a smoothly flowing story, with low angst and a beautiful beach side setting. Josie is naturally wary of Tony, the axiom ‘once bitten twice shy’ firmly in her mind. But she can’t forget the times they shared together, the dreams they had and the attraction between them obviously hasn’t gone away either. It doesn’t take long for them to fall back into old ways, and they share some sexy scenes together, even as Josie is clear to Tony that she’s guarding her heart this time around (at least, as much as she is able). Josie comes across as a smart woman, one who is caring and friendly, and always concerned about those around her (pets included).
What brought the story down for me a bit was Tony’s behavior. When he and Josie were together the first time, he left her without so much as a goodbye, leaving her to deal with the paparazzi fallout. That to me wasn’t very hero-like behavior. To find out he was a prince and expected to marry an approved woman was devastating for Josie. Back in her life once more after 3 years apart, Tony’s apology seemed a bit too little too late. It’s clear that he’s still got the same problems if he gets involved with Josie again. He worries about the fate of his country (a legitimate concern) but he’s still being dictated to by his father the King, and the expectations of the Royal Court. I admired Josie for standing up to Tony over this, for making it clear to him that she wasn’t going to get into any deep relationship with him if he wasn’t willing to go the distance for her. I thought she came away in this story as a much stronger character than Tony did, no doubt because of having to pull herself up by her bootstraps and start things anew in Florida after Tony left her.
Tony has to make up for these failings and prove to Josephine that he’s worthy of her love. Luckily for us, he does by the end of the story (just in the nick of time), willing to choose Josie over his family obligations and giving us the happy ending we’d hoped for. It’s a worthy addition to the Barefoot Bay world, and will make for good summer reading. 3.5 stars.