Hearts at Seaside is a light read with plenty of fun and sizzle. Don’t let the “sweet” tagline fool you…much.
I’ve never read a book by this author, but was glad I chose to this time. While clearly part of a series, it’s easily read as a standalone (though I imagine a reader would pick up on more “in” jokes, depth, etc., if they’ve read the previous books).
Jenna has spent her last six summers pining over hottie, Pete. But whenever she’s around him, she’s completely tongue-tied, leading him to believe she’s a shy mouse who’d not really interested. Lots of mixed messages between them at the start, but when Jenna starts dating another hottie, Charlie the construction guy, all bets are off. It wakes up Pete’s feral side and he’s determined to claim Jenna for his own.
My absolute favorite thing about this book was the friendship between the four ladies who spent their summers at Seaside. They’re very different, yet very devoted to one another. Their playful interactions kept a smile on my face the entire time.
I was surprised at how much the book revolved around sex and sexual talk and hot, hot, hot foreplay. Yes, the actual bedroom door might be closed, but this is not a typical “sweet” romance. So if you go into this (as I did) expecting that, you’ll be … surprised. Depending on your preferences regarding sex in romance will decide whether that’s a good or bad surprise for you! “Sweet with Heat” is definitely a good descriptor. There’s plenty of heat!
I think the one drawback to my not having read the first two books was that I felt Jenna and Pete got very hot, very fast without very many pages going by. I realize they have a past — years’ worth of past — but it was still surprising. And Pete is pretty forceful, something Jenna appreciates, but occasionally came across as bossy/pushy to me. However, the fact he rescued a puppy and also the care he takes with his father adds a lot of points. He might be a little pushy, but his heart is huge and loyal.
Also, despite this being a pretty light, fluffy read, there is some dark/depth to it when it comes to Pete’s father–an alcoholic who desperately misses his late wife. The parts with him about broke my heart, and it also creates the only actual conflict for our couple’s relationship. Jenna’s mom getting over her divorce was treated a little more lightly, but is still a heart-string tugger, at least for me.
All-in-all, the writing was solid, the editing clean, the characters interesting and well-created, the storyline fun and believable–a solidly good read I can recommend to lovers of romance.
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