Pub Date: November 2010
FTC: Review copy received from Netgalley
One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?
Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he's more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn't gone so badly...
Beth's tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she'd see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can't say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.
Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he's not the player she thinks he is. But she's not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it's going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child..
I'm not a huge fan of the unplanned pregnancy trope, but Shannon Stacey was able to sneak past my preferences and make me change my mind—at least for this book.
Shannon Stacey writes wonderful contemporary romance with warm, genuine characters and a subtle sense of humor. I love the Kowalksi family, warts and all. The Kowalksis, and their family dynamics, remind me very much of Nora's classic Silhouettes (MacGregors, Stanislaskis) because there's something so appealing about the group as a whole.
I had just one problem with the book: Beth annoyed the hell out of me. She came across as flightly rather than free spirited; selfish rather than independent, and worse of all, unstable. Not someone I'd pick as mother of the year.
It was definitely a nice twist to have the guy be the one in touch with his feelings and ready to commit while the heroine was the one who didn't want to be tied down and wanted things casual.
There were a few things I would have liked to see a bit more depth to. Kevin's background as a cop is mentioned, but then completely ignored. His failed marriage is also mentioned, but also largely ignored. He definitely has his hands full dealing with impending fatherhood and his longing for Beth, but he almost has things too easy.
I loved the humor, the dialogue, and the running bar napkin gag. When I didn't want to strangle Beth, I really enjoyed watching the entire cast of characters interact.
I admit, I enjoyed the secondary romance between Paulie, the bar manager, and Sam Logan more than the one between Beth and Kevin. Even though Paulie, too, was running from something, she had made a new, stable life for herself.
This is a sweet, funny contemporary romance. We have far too few of those, these days, and we should cherish every one of them.
My Grade: B