It feels like I was waiting forever for book two in this series to come out–but it’s finally here!
Book Title: Melting into You (Due South, #2)
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Hosted by:Book Enthusiast Promotions
Big, sexy men who don’t relate well to kids need not apply…
Kezia Murphy plays her widow card well. When you don’t trust people not to let you down, it’s easier to not get involved—and getting involved with a man who makes her skin sizzle just by looking at him would be una pazzia—crazy! Four years ago while Kezia’s daughter, Zoe, battled leukaemia, a tragic accident stole her husband’s life. Starting over in the little town of Oban where she’s adopted into the close knit community on Stewart Island, Kezia and her daughter are all the family the other needs. Except Zoe yearns for more.
New Zealand’s worst candidate for instant fatherhood…
Ben doesn’t do gooey emotional stuff. He doesn’t do cosy home and family. And he sure isn’t the big teddy-bear Kezia Murphy, the woman he secretly fantasises about, thinks he is. So when Jade, his surprise eight-year-old daughter arrives on his doorstep, he’s a D-minus student struggling to pass a crash-course in parenting.
They’ll either melt or raze their lives to the ground…
When the sparks of attraction between Kezia and Ben fan into an inferno, Ben doesn’t know how much longer the layers of resistance around his heart can resist melting into the gooey mess he fears. The more he fights it the harder it is to make the choice that will destroy the family he now longs to claim.
When I finished In Too Deep, book one of Tracey Alvarez’s Due South series last winter, I knew I was going to be one of the first in line for book two, Ben and Kezia’s story. Then I found out it wasn’t coming out until June. Let me tell you, in the depths of the winter we just had, I didn’t think June was ever going to get here. It did, of course, and I’m happy to report that Melting Into You was soooo worth the wait!
Life hasn’t been easy for Kezia Murphy. Four years ago, her precocious daughter Zoe fought and won an epic battle with leukemia. In the midst of that struggle, Zoe’s dad was lost to them forever in a senseless accident. Once Zoe recovered, Kezia packed up their belongings for a fresh start on Stewart Island, determined to never again depend on people who would ultimately let her down. Ever since, it’s been her and Zoe–with a tiny bit of help from a small group of select friends, Piper and Shaye Harland among them–against the world.
Enter Ben Harland. He’s the oldest of the Harland siblings, and he is so absolutely out of the question as far as Kezia’s concerned. Sure, he’s hot. But can you say commitment phobe? Ben’s got two rules: one, never mess around with local women; two, ditto friends of his sisters. Kezia’s a check mark in both columns, thankyouverymuch. Soooo not going to happen.
Except they have a crazy attraction going on…which they maybe could have kept on ignoring. Until a major surprise shows up on Ben’s doorstep one Saturday morning…
His eight-year-old daughter Jade. Whose existence Ben knew nothing about until that very moment–and suddenly, he’s got a pint-sized house guest for two weeks. And not a clue what to do with her.
But, hey–Kezia teaches eight-year-olds. Heck, she has an eight-year-old–and Zoe’s already decided that Jade’s going to be her new BFF.
So, no problem. Ben can get a little help from Kezia for the next two weeks, squeeze in a one-night-only fling with her somewhere far away from prying Oban eyes, and send his daughter back to her mother at the end of the holiday, none the worse for wear. And then he’ll have his life back, no sweat.
Riiiight. You know how well that’s going to work out, don’t you? Yeah, so did Ben–but he went there anyway:
“One time, and no one—especially our girls—will get hurt.”
The door hissed shut after her, leaving him staring at the scarred wood. Kezia was right. Nobody needed to know a fundamental Ben rule was to be broken. Limiting it to a one-time thing meant no entanglements or emotional demands afterwards.
So, why did it piss him off a little that she suggested it?
Because he was a moron. A moron who agreed to a single hook up, when his heart told him in no uncertain terms once wouldn’t be enough.
Delusional, lust-hangover-talk. His heart didn’t know what the hell it was talking about.
Uh huh. Sure, Ben.
Melting Into You has it all, from touching family drama to off-the-charts sexual chemistry. Watching Ben get closer to his daughter and becoming a real parent, is wonderful; not to mention laugh-out-loud at times. (Having him enter the Due South’s Manliest Man contest was genius–trust me, you’ll love that part! So much fun to read.) Witnessing him and Kezia finally give in to their attraction is worth every cold-shower-inducing moment that comes before for the two of them. Learning new substitutions for swear words (“fucoid” is definitely one I’ll be using next month on our Ocean City vacay) and some actual Italian curses give the reading experience a little extra something–not that it needed anything more.
And then there’s this gem from poor, in-over-his-head and completely-surrounded-by-women Ben:
Female-taming techniques 101—rack brains for what they might mean, then agree using carefully rephrased words.
Ah, if only they all learned that lesson so quickly and well. 😉
Melting Into You, though it is the second in the series, can be read as a stand-alone. Piper and West, the hero and heroine of In Too Deep, make just enough of an appearance to whet your appetite for their story, though–don’t say I didn’t warn you. (But, hey–it’s on sale right now, so if you don’t have it yet now’s your big chance!)
All in all, this book was a great kick-off to my summer reading. Whether you’re on the beach or as far from the shore as you can get, Ben and Kezia’s story will start your summer holidays off right.
(Well, unless you’re in the southern hemisphere like the story’s characters, who are going into winter. But hey, you all just had your summer, so I’m not going to feel too sorry for you. Especially if you already live on an island 😉 )
And finally, words of wisdom from the youngest Harland sibling, Shaye:
“Falling in love shouldn’t be stressful.” Shaye picked up her flatware with a small frown.
Piper snorted, coughed, and thumped her breastbone with a fist. “On what world other than a Disney-animated one is that statement true? Puh-lease.”
“Well, when I fall in love with the perfect guy, there won’t be any stress.” Shaye scooped up a forkful of rocket and beetroot salad and stuffed it defiantly into her mouth.
Oh, yeah. She is so gonna get hers when book three, Ready to Burn comes out! Can’t (though I know I have to, darn it) wait! 🙂
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kezia swayed toward him, his gravity too strong to resist. His fingers still stroked her knuckles, distracting her from the close bulk of his body.
“How do you see me now?” she asked.
If his legs weren’t in her way, she would’ve kicked herself for the breathy, flirty words falling from her mouth. Her toes curled inside her slippers. She wasn’t a flirt—well, she hadn’t been a flirt for many, many years. Had assumed she’d forgotten how in the midst of rebuilding her and Zoe’s lives.
“As a woman. A beautiful woman.” His low voice twined around her, as rich and luxurious as the most expensive silk.
“You shouldn’t. You have to stop.” She tugged her hand from the sweet torture of his fingers and pushed against his chest. His broad, muscled, warm-to-the-touch chest.
Fine lines around his eyes crinkled. “What I’ve seen can’t be unseen.”
Kezia’s gaze dropped to his lips, outlined with the dark growth of five o’clock shadow. Soft and rough and oh-so-bad for her. “Ben—”
He dipped his head, and like a flicked switch, her eyelids slipped down and her lips parted. If her mind had forgotten those exquisite moments before a kiss, her body hadn’t. Breathless anticipation squeezed low in her belly at Ben’s salty, smoky scent. His soft breath feathered her skin. One large, calloused hand covered her fingers, which clutched fistfuls of his tee shirt.
“Easy.” He followed the word with the pressure of his lips to hers, the impact of his touch like a zap of static electricity.
Her eyes popped open, a shiver skating down her spine. Ben stared, his eyes narrowed, lashes masking his expression. Had he felt the spark of intense connection too? Or was it the overactive imagination of a woman who hadn’t had sex in almost half a decade? Sexually frustrated widow over-reacts to a simple kiss. Like a newspaper headline running through her mind. Mortifying.
Book one–In Too Deep, which I read and reviewed here–is on sale right now for just 99-cents!
Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand) where she’s yet to be buried under her to-be-read book pile by Wellington’s infamous wind—her Kindle’s a lifesaver! Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.
Fueled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.
When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found reading sexy books of all romance genres, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.
Melting Into You on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21895616-melting-into-you
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