A man and woman have both been down the aisle once before, but maybe the second time’s the charm in this romance.
It’s not every day that a gorgeous Greek man waltzes into Emma Murphy’s bookstore, A New Chapter. But she’s laid eyes on this particular hunk before. Zack Kostas was a groomsman at her cousin Phil’s wedding—one who inappropriately came on to her when they were both there with significant others. Now, five years later, Emma and Zack are licking their wounds after their respective divorces, and Zack has just moved back to town with his 4-year-old daughter, Gracie. Despite the mutual attraction, Emma and Zack agree to be just friends. But between a loaded conversation about casual sex while they unpack Zack’s bedroom and the night Emma gets plastered and wakes up to Zack cooking her breakfast in nothing but a pair of Superman boxers, plus a host of “friendly” hangouts, it finally boils over with a steamy kiss. Now, they must navigate a relationship fraught with questions: are they friends with benefits or something more? Is either of them ready for commitment? Is all of this fair to Gracie? It turns out that love is more complicated the second time around, and life is full of surprises. The book is well-paced, with just enough sexual tension and steamy scenes. Coventry’s (Custom Built for Me, 2017, etc.) prose is funny and sometimes-sassy, as when a well-endowed waitress who flirts with Zack is nicknamed “Booby.” Emma’s tenderness toward Gracie and her jealousy of Zack’s close-knit family (her own parents are fairly aloof) make her a sympathetic heroine. As a hero, Zack is the master of the grand gesture, as when he surprises Emma in Chicago after she has flown there for a trade show. The supporting characters are solid, from Kelly, Emma’s best friend and a serial dater who invents personalities for her suitors based on their preferred book genres, to Mike, a hapless UPS delivery guy who can never muster the courage to ask Emma on a date. Overall, this is a lighthearted and satisfying tale.
A flirty love story and fun beach read.