11 April 2016

Reserved (A Love Story, Book 4)

Synopsis from Goodreads: If only life were as simple as making a reservation.

Makenna Rye Conroy was living the dream—amazing husband, beautiful new baby daughter—when one night changed everything.

Almost six years after Adam’s death, Makenna and her daughter Paige have built a solid, happy life together. Makenna manages her brother’s trendy restaurant, The Yard, and helps out at Ryeland Farms, the family business, all while trying to navigate the world of private school parenting. Sure, being a single mom has its challenges, but she hardly has time to pack her daughter’s lunch in the morning, let alone think about dating.

Travis McNulty, the middle child and the biggest disappointment of the McNulty clan, is a chef at his best friend’s new restaurant. He gave up apologizing for not being the football hero his family wanted a long time ago. In fact, Travis apologizes for very little these days. He loves creating great food, it’s more of a passion than any job, and he lives life on his own terms with as little complication as possible.

For the past couple years, Makenna and Travis have worked alongside each other at The Yard, bickering, teasing, and never taking each other very seriously. Until Makenna has her usual reoccurring dream, but this time instead of her late husband as the featured man, Travis stands in his place. Travis may be attracted to his best friend’s sister, but she’s a widow and a mother, which tops the charts for complicated in his book.

As the game changes, Makenna and Travis, with a little help from Paige, have to figure out what they are willing to risk to reserve a table for three.

Stats for my copy: Kindle edition, 2016.

How acquired: NetGalley.

First line: Makenna Rye Conroy was naked again.

My thoughts: I loved this book. Seriously. Loved.

Makenna is a single mom, managing her brother's restaurant and the business side of her family's farm. She's been raising her daughter, Paige, alone since her husband died when Paige was only five weeks old. She's focused all her energy on her daughter and her work, and has created a cozy little home for the two of them. She's had no desire to date. But now suddenly she's had a dream about Travis, the hunky chef at the restaurant, and her brother's best friend. And Travis, being a player, a man whore, not to mention a co-worker, is definitely off limits. So when her best friend, Sage, the bartender at the restaurant, who has been harboring a crush on Makenna's brother, suggests they sign up with an online dating site and put themselves out there, Makenna agrees.
Seriously, though, this is news. So you're...on the market now?”
Wow, what an evolved and sensitive way to put it, Travis.”
What? I could have said, 'So, I hear your rack shack is open for business.'”
Travis has always crushed on Makenna a little bit, but she's his best friend's little sister and has a child, so she's definitely off limits. Travis doesn't do relationships or commitment. He does a string of sexual encounters with women who have stripper names. But when he notices Makenna seeming to notice him, he begins to really notice her.

Makenna is a great character, and kindergartner Paige is cute and funny and precocious without ever crossing the line to dreaded plot moppet. And Travis. Travis has a beard and rides a motorcycle, which is a strike and a half against him – I don't care for beards, other than a little scruff on occasion, and I'm not into motorcycles. In fact, he didn't really tick any of my usual boxes, other than having a sense of humor and being great with the child. And yet I absolutely adored him. He's got some serious family baggage, and I liked the way the author let that play out.

There are so many laugh out loud moments. I mean I literally laughed out loud, and often backtracked to read those passages again. The writing flows, and the characters and dialogue are well written and realistic, and just full of warmth and heart. And one scene at the end had me a blubbering mess. I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning to finish the book, which I rarely do. 

So, seriously, a wonderful romance, and a wonderful book, and another author whose complete back list I now need to obtain. Not to mention Sage and Garrett's story coming out May 10! 

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