A woman with garden magic finds out the builder in charge of remodeling her florist shop is the same man who broke her heart over a decade ago. In spite of best laid plans, they find themselves falling head over hearts in this whimsical romantic comedy where opposites attract, sparks fly, and magical mayhem ensues.
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Title: Don’t Touch My Petunia
Author: Tara Sheets
Series: The Holloway Girls
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Kensington Zebra Shout
Print Length: 304 Pages
Formats: Print and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1420146288
Pine Cove Island is the kind of enchanting place where anything is possible…
The Holloway women each have a special gift, passed down through generations, each one a little different. Juliette possesses a magical green thumb, which makes her job managing the local florist shop a dream. She may be a bit wild, but she knows what she wants: to save enough money to buy the shop from her boss. Then in marches Logan O’Connor, more annoyingly handsome than ever, turning all her plans upside down.
Logan hasn’t been back on Pine Cove Island since he was eighteen and broke Juliette’s teenage heart. Now it turns out he’s her boss’s nephew—and will be spending his days remodeling the shop and barking orders. At her.
For the sake of the business, Juliette will have to ignore their simmering attraction and work with Logan. But that doesn’t mean she has to make things easy for him. Because no one knows better than she that one tiny, perfectly planted bit of garden magic could uproot Logan’s own plans and keep him out of her way. And nothing would make her happier. At least that’s what she thinks . . .
If a guy was going to fondle her petunias, the least he could do was act like he cared. Pawing at them with a big meaty ham fist while he stared absently out of her shop window was not cool.
Juliette Holloway frowned, swiping a lock of dark hair behind her ear. It was going to be a long day at Romeo’s Florist Shop, and she still had two more flower arrangements to put together before the morning rush.
She leaned over the counter and called across the room. “Excuse me.”
The guy messing with her petunia plant didn’t move or turn around. He had broad shoulders, and his head almost reached the top of the door frame. In jeans, a gray T-shirt, and a baseball cap, he looked like one of those NFL athletes—completely out of place surrounded by the delicate summer blooms and hanging fuchsia baskets.
She called again, louder. “Hello?”
Nothing. He just kept running a giant hand over the fragile purple flowers.
Juliette bristled. The plant was her newest project. Normally, she could make anything grow and thrive. Like all Holloway women before her, she was born with a special gift. Hers was garden magic. A customer had given her the potted petunia after rescuing it from an office cubicle. The poor thing had been halfway to the grave, but she’d nurtured it back to life. And now some linebacker was mauling it.
She marched across the room and tapped the man firmly on his back. It was a rock-hard, muscular back. He was probably one of those gym guys who spent all day pumping iron. “Can you please not touch that?”
He swung around and pulled an earbud out of his ear. Loud, thumping music spewed from his headset. Even with a baseball cap and mirrored sunglasses, he looked vaguely familiar. Strong jaw with a light stubble, high cheekbones, full lips. A tiny prickle of recognition tiptoed down her spine.
She gestured to the pot of flowers. “Please don’t touch my plant.”
He frowned and pulled the other earbud out. “What’s that?”
Juliette sighed. Gym rats. Brains in their biceps. She enunciated each word carefully. “Don’t. Touch. My petunia.”
His lips twitched. “I . . .”
She closed her eyes, ignoring the flush of embarrassment creeping up her cheeks. Way to set yourself up, genius. Maybe he didn’t notice.
“I’m not usually so forward.” His deep voice hovered on the edge of laughter.
Okay, so he noticed. Big whoop. Whoever he was, he was immature, and she didn’t have time for this. She grabbed the plant and turned away. The hem of her flowy skirt caught on the edge of a low shelf, and she yanked it free before escaping to the back counter.
“Have we met before?” he called.
She threw him a glance.
He gave her a slow smile that sent a jolt of physical awareness from the top of her head to the tips of her blue painted toenails. “I feel like I know you.”
For a pickup line, it was pretty bad. But he had a million-dollar smile and knew how to use it. The face. The superhero physique. All he needed was a cape or a giant hammer, or something. He probably didn’t have much practice with pickup lines because he didn’t need any.
He sauntered toward her.
There was something familiar about the way he walked—like he owned the world—but she couldn’t place him. When he reached the counter, she was glad to be on the other side. It wasn’t that she felt threatened. At five feet nine inches, she was comfortable with tall people. But this guy towered over her, and when he looked at her like that, it was . . . unsettling.
He took off the baseball cap and mussed his tawny hair.
Juliette sucked in a breath.
Then he removed the sunglasses and fixed her with a gaze as deep and dark as the earth after a rainstorm.
Something inside her cracked open, and a trickle of long-forgotten feelings threatened to bubble to the surface.
She took an involuntary step back, trying to hide her surprise by leaning casually against the wall. Supercool. She was an iceberg of cool. Except she misjudged the distance to the wall and stumbled.
“That bad, huh?” His mouth kicked up at one corner.
More from the Holloway Girls series:
A cute romance!
I liked the childhood-crush-all-grown-up aspect of the story; it made Juliette and Logan’s romance a lot of fun to read. The decoy relationships here were little more than a distraction–it was crystal clear that Logan and Jules were going to be a “thing” from page one–but seeing Logan’s crush on food grow stronger every time he went out with Bella thanks to the potion she bought from Jules was highly amusing. I’d feel sorry for the headache it gave him, but he kinda deserved it for continuing to agree to see her, so… 😉 (Seriously, though–what was Juliette thinking with surfer dude? I mean really…)
Juliet’s magic felt more integrated here than her cousin Emma’s did in her book, which was a plus. Once again the conflict and black moment felt a bit more contrived than they had to (why hadn’t Juliette told anyone–her boss and/or the guy she was falling for/working with there might have been ideal candidates–that she wanted the flower shop. if that was her life’s dream? Not that they couldn’t have guessed, but honestly, why should they have to???) and Juliette seemed like a perfectly responsible adult until the last 15% or so of the story, which made that whole bit seem a little off. Still, the resolution was sweetly satisfying, and the teaser for Kat’s story (the bits here with her and Edgar the crow and Hank the (canine) Tank were some of my favorite parts) will pretty much ensure that I’ll be making another trip to Pine Cove Island in the near future…
(#2 in the series but should also work fine as a standalone if you haven’t read Don’t Call Me Cupcake yet.)
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About Tara Sheets:
TARA SHEETS is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her work has earned first place recognition in literary contests nationwide and her debut novel, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, won the 2016 Golden Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America®. Tara began her career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee. She now lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too. When not writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a book-eating dog named Merlin. She is represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.
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