Book: If I Stay
Series: Montgomery Manor #1
Author: Tamara Morgan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 224
Published: Carina Press, May 12th, 2014
Ryan Lucas would rather be anywhere but Ransom Creek, Connecticut. After losing his high-adrenaline career as a Hollywood stunt driver, he’s had to tuck his tail between his legs and take up employment as a chauffeur for the Montgomerys, a wealthy hotelier family.
Amy Sanders has returned home to Ransom Creek to take over her mother’s former position as nanny to the Montgomerys—bringing her close to dashing Jake Montgomery once again. She grew up with a major crush on Jake, and it’s not easy to leave those feelings behind, even though her friendship with the hard-edged family chauffeur, Ryan, has a sizzling undercurrent of undeniable attraction.
Amy’s determined to prove to Ryan that life at Montgomery Manor isn’t all bad, but each time they draw closer Jake swoops in. Amy is torn between two men—and two worlds. And Ryan is rapidly coming to learn that if he wants to make Amy his, he’ll have to prove to her that life downstairs can be everything they both want.
Has anyone ever watched Upstairs Downstairs? It was before my time-yes, yes, there are shows that are older than me- but I tried to watch it whenever I could catch it on tv. It had a nostalgic aura and pastel tones that kept your interest and had you playing it on the background at least. It was a show that I know I would’ve been a big fan of at its own time had I been able to start from the very first episode. Alas, by the time I was old enough to be interested-not to brag about my young age here, mind you- the show was over and became a classic already.
For those of you wondering why I rambled on about this show, I’m sure you can guess what it’s about. The interesting household mix of the upstairs owners and the downstairs servants presented an intriguing story. And now, Tamara Morgan has taken that and adapted it to the modern life. Let me tell you, with all the honesty I can muster, that she’d done an exceptionally good job with it. If I ever wished for such a plot to be told in a contemporary romance, I’m sure this was what I would’ve wished in my mind-or heart.
A stunt driving job gone wrong forces Ryan’s hand to come back to the small town-small town!– of Ransom Creek and take the job of chauffeur for the rich Montgomery family. It is where he meets the charming nanny Amy and realizes the true meaning of adrenaline.
There are not enough words to tell how much I love a small town story. It is almost a certainty for me to want to read a book that has limited acreage for a setting. And to limit it even more-so to speak- to a manor and its owners and employees was a challenge I simply couldn’t pass up. And the Upstairs Downstairs reference was the cherry on top of an already done deal.
What makes a book a true success, of course, is not just the setting. Taking these people and stuffing them inside a huge manor is not enough. Thankfully, oh so thankfully, Tamara Morgan did a fantastic job of creating witty, intriguing and smart characters to go with the manor. I was absolutely smitten with Ryan’s sweet charm. Really, I can almost say it was love at first sight. He was funny, he was adorable in that sexy, cool way only a stunt driver turned chauffeur could pull off. And Amy was not your typical heroine. She was strong, sure, she was adorable and yet tough in that nanny way, and she had no tolerance for nonsense, again, in a nanny way I guess. She was one of the funniest and sincere heroines I’ve read so far, and I liked her immediately. If she hadn’t practically forced Ryan out of his comfort zone with her insistent charm, I think I might’ve been really jealous of her. However, she was a force to be reckoned with and she only added to Ryan’s allure so I’m going to refrain from a duel. For now.
The witty banter between the two, the easy friendship and the sexy relationship was so much fun to read. They had a chemistry that was off the charts in bed, but also one that was enviable outside of it too. I enjoyed whenever they interacted, not only with each other but also with the rest of the household.
I cannot wait for the rest of this series, of how the rest of these people will fare in their own stories. I recommend this book, and the hopefully upcoming ones, to those who love to have their hodgepodge of people-I amuse myself, really, don’t mind me- in confined spaces with only their wits and charm to accompany them.
I’m adding five big spoonfuls of this sweet story into my hodgepodge. Hmm, maybe I should apply for a job at Montgomery Manor. It’s enticing, you’ll see once you read this book! Keep reading for an excerpt and an interview with Tamara Morgan!
ADD THIS BOOK:
Amy scooted out from underneath Ryan and got to shaky legs. Giving in to the indulgence of a backward glance to find him staring openmouthed at her, she lifted her shirt off and tossed it to the hallway floor.
“What are you doing?” he asked, his voice gruff.
She kept moving, an extra sway in her hips as she unbuttoned her shorts and shimmied them off her hips. “Leaving you a trail of bread crumbs in case you get lost along the way.”
She reached behind her and flicked open her serviceable white cotton bra. The only way to dress up that kind of bland plant material was to dangle it enticingly from one fingertip, which she did as she reached her door. It wasn’t locked—unless someone wanted to steal her ancient ten-pound laptop or her collection of Old World maps, there wasn’t much to take—so she pushed it open and slipped in.
One. Two. Three. Four. She flicked on the lights, assuming Ryan was right behind her. Five. Six. Seven. Was he seriously not going to follow her in here? Eight. Nine. Nine and a half.
She slipped out of her panties—more of the same boring white cotton, though at least they had bits of scalloped lace at the edges—and tossed them out the open door.
Nine and two-thirds. Nine and three-quarters. What the heck came after that?
“Goddammit.” Ryan stormed through the door and tossed all her clothes onto the floor. “Are you trying to kill me?”
He stopped, suspended in a swirl of desire that hit him from all sides, holding him momentarily aloft. In his haste to somehow find the ability to both walk and gather up Amy’s clothes, he’d forgotten that he held all her underclothes. Nothing stood between him and her completely naked body except distance and air—both of which mattered for absolutely zero.
Can you describe your new contemporary romance IF I STAY in just one sentence?
A modern-day upstairs/downstairs love story between a nanny and a chauffeur.
How did you get to know your hero and heroine?
Ryan and Amy are probably one of my favorite couples so far—mostly because they came to life when they were on the page together. The more time they spent bantering back and forth, the more their personalities became clear. An optimist versus a realist, the sun and the moon. I love when couples do all the heavy lifting for me like that.
What first attracts Ryan and Amy to each other?
They’re definitely an opposites-attract couple. Ryan loves how cheerful and trusting Amy is—especially since she’s the quintessential girl next door. Amy is intrigued by Ryan’s sharper edges and dark past. She also loves his adorably protruding ears. (Who wouldn’t?)
Anyone who’s read my books knows I’m a sucker for opposites-attract. So much room for tension!
If you were uber-wealthy, could you see yourself having an estate like Montgomery Manor?
If I’m uber-wealthy? No way. I’d skip the Manor and go straight for a castle somewhere in the UK.
Would you work at the Manor?
I would love to work there! Even though lots of money and a stately home would be nice, I think the staff members at Montgomery Manor have more fun than the family does. I’m not sure what kind of job I’d be suited for, though. I can’t cook, I’d be terrible at cleaning, no one would want me in charge of security or their children, and you definitely don’t want me to be fixing cars.
Maybe I can be a writer in residence?
What’s up next for you?
Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on BECAUSE I CAN, the third book in the Montgomery Manor series. It’s the scandalous one, crossing the upstairs/downstairs barrier by putting the oldest son in verrrrry close contact with the family handywoman.
Tamara Morgan is a contemporary romance author of humorous, heartfelt stories with flawed heroes and heroines designed to get your hackles up and make your heart melt. Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them.
Whether building Victorian dollhouses, consuming mass quantities of coffee and wine, or crying over cheesy 1950s musicals, Tamara commits to her flaws like every good heroine should. She lives in the Inland Northwest with her husband, daughter, and variety of household pets and only occasionally complains about the weather.
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