Two disparate men vie for the affections of a beautiful, hardworking woman in Jarrett’s debut.
Most of her life, Jesse Tanner has loved Chris Kennedy, but he married someone else. Years later, Jesse takes over a broken-down marina in Montauk, Long Island, working 60-70 hours a week to make it shipshape for the grand reopening. Now divorced, Chris is devastated by the split and determined to never “go that route again.” A captain in the Marine Patrol, he assists the Coast Guard with rescues, and with all that fresh sea air and sun, he’s never looked better. One night, fueled by alcohol, the pair gives in to lust, half-naked among the lobster pots on a deserted dock, and Jesse declares her love. The morning after finds Jesse confessing that she drank too much and isn’t interested in Chris—lies, of course—and then a handsome Wall Street attorney arrives at the marina to reserve a Jet Ski. Polished and moneyed, Jeffrey Wilder has recently bought and renovated the legendary DiPinto place (soon to be profiled in Architectural Digest), and he’s in the market for a local honey. Jeff extravagantly woos Jesse and, on the town, the two often encounter Chris, who wonders if he might be in love with Jesse after all. It’s intelligence, wealth and the Gucci loafers of a Manhattan lawyer versus muscle, guts and the docksiders of a Montauk fisherman. Jesse’s mother, who can’t abide Chris, is rooting for Jeff while urging her daughter, to the point of manipulation, to return to her former swank job on Madison Ave. The book hits the ground running, with Jesse and Chris in the throes of passion, and then ratchets up the sexual tension with both becoming unwilling or unable to voice their feelings, and features about as much exploration of character as might be found in a typical rom-com. One nice touch is Jesse’s longtime English gal-pal, Susannah, who’s bright and funny, with her own set of man troubles—and, best of all, actually sounds like a Brit. The story is well paced, with a little adventure and real-life Montauk history thrown in, and an ending that neither surprises nor disappoints.
A diverting, lightweight romance.