Something to Prove
Magnolia Beach series, Book #1
By Kimberly Lang
ISBN: 0451471032 (ISBN13: 9780451471031)
Author’s Website: www.BooksByKimberly.com
Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In the small waterfront town of Magnolia Beach, Alabama, people may forgive, but they never forget—especially when it comes to scandalous reputations, juicy gossip, and a sexy new flame.
Former wild child Helena Wheeler was happy to leave behind her hometown—and her sordid past—for Atlanta twelve years ago. But when her grandmother suffers an injury, Helena has no choice but to return, even if it means facing down all the people who have shunned her.
Ryan Tanner went from being a football legend in high school to Magnolia Beach’s young, hot bachelor mayor. As a teenager, he never wanted anything to do with a girl like Helena. But when she hires Ryan to do some construction in her grandmother’s house, he finds that she’s grown up into a different person—one he quite likes.
For Helena, confronting her past has its share of surprises—and falling for the resident golden boy was definitely not on her to-do list. But will her reformed ways be enough to get her back in the town’s good graces, or will her reputation keep Helena and Ryan apart for good?
Almost from the get go I was totally captivated by the story. Haven’t we all got something in our past we wish to forget and/or move forward from? Helena must return to her roots (Magnolia Beach) to tend to her grandmother (Ms. Louise Wheeler) as she recovers from an injury (a fall where she laid at the bottom of the stairs for two days with a broken hip, broken ankle, 3 cracked ribs and a concussion!). Helena must confront all those people she left behind shortly after high school graduation who remained in Magnolia Beach. Helena’s nickname was “Hell-on-Wheels”…
As Helena comes into town…we get an immediate glimpse into how it will be…the stage is set:
“If I’d known I was going to attract this much attention, I’d have worn lipstick.”
This also allows a peek into Helena’s sense of humor…and a really great sense of humor it is.
In order to get Ms. Louise’s home ready for her homecoming, Helena must hire a contractor to install appropriate fixtures for the washroom, ramps, etc. to make the home accessible for Ms. Louise’s new walker. The contractor recommended by many is Ryan Tanner, the town mayor as well as an entrepreneur with his own contracting business.
I love how easily Helena was able to reconnect with Tate. Love it when a friendship passes the test of time. From the reintroduction though, you could sense that Tate wants to be more than friend’s with Helena…always has. Now how that plays out is predictable, but the path it took to get to the predicable resolution was well told, with a few kinks along the way. Given this is the first book in a new series…I expect some interesting things (aka – a love tale) to happen to Tate in the future?
Now I really loved the proprietor of the coffee shop, Latte Dah (great name!!!). Molly right from the beginning seemed like a perfect fit as a new ‘bestie / BFF’ for Helena. I found one particular passage with unique descriptive characteristics of the town while Molly and Helena were bonding over the reasons why Molly opened the coffee shop:
It took Helena a few minutes to find enough breath to speak.
“Oh my god. We are so messed up. You’re like my soul twin.”
“I know.” Molly fanned her face and coughed as she calmed down.
“It’s so refreshing. I love this town, but I swear everyone seems so mentally healthy, it’s just downright weird.”
“Oh, trust me, they’re not. Scrape away the Mayberry frosting and you’ll find magnolia Beach is a nutty fruitcake underneath. And it’s not the cute, small-town eccentrics you see on those made-for-TV movies, either. I could tell you tales of dysfunction that would make you feel like the poster child of good mental health. We just don’t talk about hem in public.”
Another favorite character for me was Tank…the hairless dog, with a rat-like appearance that belonged to Ryan. So not the dog one would imagine for Ryan…but perfect none the less.
As the relationship between Helena and Ryan develops (and you know it had to) we got to see a playful and fun side…and I loved the playfulness between Helena and Ryan:
“Missed me, huh?”
“Oh, don’t get all cocky,” she said as he took her over, pulling the shirt up and over his head and grinning at her, happy to hear her admit it.
”A woman has needs, you know.”
“So you think you can just snap your fingers, and I’ll come running to take care of those needs?”
“You’re here, aren’t you?”
The banter that frequently occurred between Ryan and Helena seemed so natural. I think the attraction, while of course physical, is also deeply rooted in the personality of each individual. There really is a mutual respect for each other, once they got past the high school stuff.
As with any relationship, there are ups and downs. I found it interesting how Helena came to reconcile the past with the present. The upsets were well written and kept me engaged in the story. Frequently I get bored but I was fully engaged throughout. And the love scenes…very tasteful and left the reader using imagination in conjunction with the written word to visualize the physical connection between Helena and Ryan. VERY HOT! So read the book to find out how it works out!!!!
All in all – a great beginning to a new series. I will wait with anticipation for the next book in this new Magnolia Beach series.