Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Tour (Review, Excerpt, Giveaway): Barefoot By the Sea by Roxanne St. Claire

Barefoot by The Sea by Roxanne St. Claire
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: October 29, 2013 (today!)
Paperback, 448 pages
ISBN: 9781455508235
Barefoot Bay #4

My Review:
I read and enjoyed the first book in the Barefoot Bay series, Barefoot in the Sand and really enjoyed it.  I've been reading Ms. St. Claire for years and love to read her books.  But somehow books 2 and 3 got shoved aside for other reads.  They've been staring me in the face for months.  So I thought when I received Barefoot by the Sea I would read them first.  Of course life and other reading happens and I've been on a YA kick lately, so I had to jump into book 4 without reading the previous 2.  Something I do not like to do, but something I found didn't matter too much with this series.  Yes I will go back and read the previous books I missed, but I enjoyed reading Barefoot by the Sea just fine.  In fact like it does so often when I return to my first love genre, romance, I'm reminded why I love reading this genre.  The books are happy, have some conflict to make them seem real, have heat between the characters and make me appreciate and love my husband every time I read one of them.

Barefoot By the Sea is about Tessa.  Tessa does not like secrets, so of course Ms. St. Claire introduces her to the one man on the island with the most secrets, John Brown and there is instant attraction.  Tessa also wants a baby feeling like having a child will complete her life.  However Tessa has a secret from her friends as well.  There is lots going on with the characters in this one.  Tessa struggles with whether to keep her main secret from her friends.  She struggles with a new secret and she struggles with feelings for a man who she still feels is keeping secrets.  So I would say the theme is trust.  And Tessa isn't very trusting, however her romance with John Brown has her begining to trust again and falling in love with the one man she doesn't want to fall in love with.

John has his secrets and they are big.  He's currently the love 'em and leave 'em type but he hasn't always been that way.  But then he meets Tessa and he finds himself drawn to her and wanting to tell her his secrets but he can't.  The main storyline is whether he can be honest with her before it is too late and whether they can have a life together.  I liked John and Tessa both.  They both have struggles and I felt them.  Ms. St. Claire wrote these characters very true to life and their situations hit home with me.  I also like the way they fell in love.  Yes there is instant attraction and one hot scene in the bar, but then they take things slower and John begins to "woo" Tessa.  I enjoyed their getting to know each other and the progression to falling in love.

For the plot, it all pretty much boils down to John's secret, Tessa's desire for a baby, a small secondary plot involving another secret to provide interest and involve former characters and Tessa and John falling in love. The conflict was put together perfectly.  The secondary plot was interesting and relevant.  And the romance was wonderful.  I started this one on Friday night and finished it Saturday afternoon.  Once I dove in I had to finish and find out how these two would get their HEA, because at times it really seems like it will be impossible.  But it's a romance and even though you know they will get their HEA, you still read it because it's the journey that is fun.  And Ms. St. Claire really makes the journey in this one full of bumps and bruises but a great ride nonetheless!

As I mentioned before, I love returning to romance novels, it's like coming home.  I really enjoyed Barefoot by the Sea because I loved visiting Barefoot Bay again and the best friends that make up these four books.  The book provided me with just what I wanted, romance, conflict and a HEA.  It was perfect for me.  I think it could be perfect for you as well.  And the nice thing is yes reading the first three would probably make the experience a little more fun since you would know more of the backstory on the other three couples, but this little romance nugget of gold can be read all on it's own.  But I warn you if you do read it by itself, you will probably want to go back and read the first three.  And do it before the next trilogy centered around Barefoot Bay comes out in the future.  I read the tease at the end of the book and I cannot wait for more Barefoot Bay novels to come out!

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:

When you think you know your heart's desire . . . 

Tessa Galloway is a gifted nurturer-her verdant garden at Barefoot Bay's new resort is living proof. If only the woman who can grow anything could grow what she wants most: a baby. Her friends think the right guy will come along, but Tessa doesn't want to wait. All she needs is the perfect donor to make her dream come true. Then John Brown is hired at the resort. If anyone could make beautiful babies, it's this gorgeous, mysterious man. So why does Tessa suddenly find herself wanting so much more?

Can you give up all your dreams for love?

It's been three long years since John Brown had to leave his old life. Forced into the witness protection program, he's desperate to be reunited with his toddler twins. When he gets that chance, there's a catch-he must prove he's got a steady job and a new wife. Landing a gig as a chef in Barefoot Bay is easy enough. And falling for lovely Tessa is even easier. The hard part? Can he win the heart of a woman who prizes honesty-when the truth may shatter it?

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Author Bio:
First published in 2003, Roxanne St. Claire is a RITA® Award-winning author of thirty novels, including her bestselling Bullet Catchers and Guardian Angelinos series. Her critically acclaimed books have been published in numerous languages and recognized with multiple awards including the National Readers' Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion, all for best romantic suspense. She currently lives on the east coast of Florida with her husband and two teenagers.

“Prosciutto eggs Benedict?” she asked, finally tearing her gaze from him to Lacey Walker, who’d been interviewing him while he cooked in the kitchen for the last hour.

“That’s not on our menu.”

“It could be. John, this is Tessa Galloway, but…I believe you two have already met.”

Lacey could barely hide the amusement in her voice, but Tessa didn’t look too amused.

“Hello again, Tessa.”

“Hi.” She gave him a not-too-friendly smile, brushing some hair off her face that revealed a smudge of dirt on her cheekbone. She crossed her arms as if she didn’t want to be forced to shake his hand. Or maybe she was covering up more dirt on her shirt. Woman needed a shower. And just the thought of that made him need one, too. Ice-cold.

“Um, Tess.” Lacey gave a quick brush to her own cheek to silently tell her friend about the dirt.

“Oh, oh.” Tessa wiped her face, then glanced down self-consciously, giving him a chance to check out her long, tanned legs and clunky work boots. Damn if they weren’t cute as hell on her.

“I didn’t know we were interviewing.”

He shrugged. “No big deal.” An unreadable response crossed her face as she took a step closer, the light of the kitchen hall catching the golden threads woven into her chestnut-colored hair and highlighting the rise of color under her sun-warmed complexion.

“No, it’s not,” she agreed quickly. “Absolutely no big deal.” Except, by the look on her face, it was a huge fucking deal and no doubt his disappearing act in the bar would cost him the job. Damn it.

“Tessa runs our on-site farmette,” Lacey said quickly, trying to fill the gaping silence between them. “So she’s always involved with what goes on in the kitchen.”

Which meant she could put a freeze on his hire right this minute. Unless he won her over,which might take some doing, but he needed this job. Lacey nudged her closer, and he silently thanked this enabler who was on his side.

“So you can consider me a supplier,” Tessa said, her color returning to normal and her voice finally finding some volume. “For the kitchen. And food. And…stuff.”

More nervous than normal, then, which he’d use to his advantage. As she came closer, he dipped his head slightly. “I love working directly with a supplier.”

“Good, that’s good.” Lacey put a hand on her friend’s shoulder and urged her even closer. “That’s why I’ve asked Tessa to be part of this hiring decision.”

 “I don’t remember you saying you were a chef,” she said.

 “I didn’t,” he admitted. “But I can cook.”

“He’s being modest,” Lacey said. “He can more than cook and you’ll never guess who sent him our way.”

Tessa raised an eyebrow that said she had lots of ideas—the devil, perhaps?--but didn’t answer.

“Charity Grambling,” Lacey said.

“Really?” Tessa seemed surprised, a smile pulling. “Then maybe you’re a spy or planning to poison our guests.”

 He shook his head. “Neither. Is the local shopkeep an enemy of the state?”

“She didn’t want me to build this resort,” Lacey said as they all walked toward the kitchen. “She thought it was competition for her daughter’s motel, the Fourway.”

 He snorted. “Hardly. And I say that as a paying guest.”

“You’re at the Fourway?” Tessa asked. “We’ll have to do something about that,” Lacey said confidently.

He turned in time to catch Tessa give a wide-eyed “What the hell” look to Lacey, who shook her head quickly.

 Screw it, he didn’t have time to dick around. If he couldn’t work here, he needed to move on. “Excuse me, ladies,” he said, pausing at the kitchen door. “But if you’re going to kick me to the curb, then let’s not waste anyone’s time.”

“Okay,” Tessa said.

“No way,” Lacey countered.

After an uncomfortable beat, they all laughed, Lacey and Ian more than Tessa. “So, which is it?” he asked.
“Let her taste your food,” Lacey said.
“I will,” Tessa replied. “But first I need to talk to you in your office, Lacey.” She gave her friend a gentle push in the opposite direction. “Can you excuse us for a second?”

“Of course.” He paused at the kitchen door, watching them walk away. No doubt they’d stroll back in to tell him he was out of the running. Unless… “Hey, Tess,” he called.

She turned, slowing enough for him to see something in her eyes. Surprise, humor, a hint of hope. He winked and waited for a quick laugh at the unsubtle flirt. Instead she raised one eyebrow and kept walking. Bollocks. He’d lost that round.

The publisher is offering one (1) full print set of BAREFOOT BAY books (4 in all!) to one winner (US Only).  Enter the rafflecopter below, ends 11/5.

Note: these will come directly from the publisher.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any ther way except receiving the book for free.  ***