Series: Due South #1
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: Fido Publishing, December 19, 2013
She vowed never to return.
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.
She’s a risk he can’t take.
West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?
Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.
Didn’t think I’d travel to a New Zealand town without the company of hobbits. So glad to have picked this book up, it made me imagine cool waters in this summer heat.
Piper and Ryan ‘West’ Westlake have been friends since childhood. West is Piper’s brother’s best friend, considered as another son by her family, so they charmed me right from the start. I might’ve mentioned this a few times-or a thousand, but who’s counting?- but friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite romance themes. There’s a different kind of sexiness when it comes to two people who already know the best and the worst of each other. But as sweet and promising Piper and West’s romance was, I had a few problems with it. Piper, for example, is a tough woman. She’s strong, she made a life for herself after a tragedy had her leave her small town and become a police diver. She’s a woman who proved herself in a profession that consists mostly by men, and she’s good at what she does, and yet I’ve never read a heroine being so self conscious about her bra size. Don’t get me wrong, women can have their hang ups about some things-I know I do- but for a big chunk of the book she’s complaining about her small, boyish breasts and how West must not like to touch or see them, and how off putting they must be. I can see this coming from a young girl who’s only just experienced her first love, but not from a woman who’s established a life for herself. Especially during and/or after she’s already slept with the man of her thoughts.
The book contains a somewhat mystery about what happened in Piper’s past that made her desperately want to leave, and how and why things went south for West and her, and although I could understand what happened with West, things relating to Piper’s reason behind leaving were a bit blurry for the most part. I understand keeping the reader in the dark and constantly guessing, but the back and forth approach between how much of the things that happened were West’s fault and how much were Piper’s, or whether they were at fault at all, was frustrating. When we finally got the whole story in the end, it was better and somewhat satisfying, but by the time I got the whole picture, I think I lost a bit of my curiosity.
I liked most of the other characters, in fact, I do look forward to Piper’s brother’s story, but just like Piper and West, they surprised me at times. I think for the most part people gave the wrong reactions in the wrong moments and it made them appear irrational. More than once a character said a word or acted in a way that seriously threatened the understanding they displayed earlier in the book.
I can honestly say it was hard for me to rate this book. On the one hand, I loved all the characters, but on the other, I found myself interested more in the systematics of free diving than Piper and West’s romance. But in the end I did enjoy reading about the people in Due South, and already looking forward to a few of the friends’ stories, so I’m going smack in the middle, and adding three spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge. All things considered, I wouldn’t mind going back and dive into the cool waters a few more times with the friendly people and the white sharks.
Due South series by Tracey Alvarez:
- In Too Deep
- Melting Into You