Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .
After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change—with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.
Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything—but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?
I found this story to be thoroughly delightful. Early on it was spelled out very well how Mallory was beginning to feel:
“I was rattled by the kiss. At that moment, Mallory was a hell of a lot more than rattled. She was in lust so deep, she had to force herself not to crawl on his lap and lace her fingers through his hair.”
Ben was a classy guy throughout. When he found out Mal’s big secret (not gonna tell ya :)!!!), he did not run away, but came back the next day and began courting Mallory again. While Mallory was deciding whether she should give him another chance and start a relationship…..she had an epiphany …
“And screw a duck if she didn’t suddenly realize she already cared for him.”
One example where we see what Ben’s intentions are from the start:
“As much as he wanted her, he had to slow down. Not only did she need to know that he likes her, the whole package of Mallory, he also needed to take it at a more relaxed pace. The woman needed time, and he’d be sure she got it. He had no intention of being her rebound guy.”
All I can say is that this definitely endeared him to me as a reader!!!!
I must say, that at least temporarily, I was disappointed in Ben for what appeared to be him running away in the face of adversity. At a time when his new girlfriend needed him, he couldn’t handle it (or could he? Leaving you with too little information so as to not include a spoiler). The author depicted the adage about communication being vital in any relationship very well. When Ben and Mallory did not communicate fully, we saw life become bleak for Mallory, Ben and Ben’s daughter Amber. Now as all good love stories tend to go, after a period of silence between Ben and Mallory, communication is restored. I LOVED Ben’s creativeness and truly thoughtful way of apologizing. I expect Mallory did as well!
I was pleasantly surprised in how the introduction of a child to a new relationship was told. Nothing un-torrid occurred when Amber was around. Wholesome family values seemed to rule Ben’s choices, especially in how they would affect his child. I appreciated Ben’s choices and his respect for his daughter’s feelings and that Amber was always number 1, even before his feelings for Mallory.
Yet….the story is anything but “wholesome” when describing the intimate part of Mallory and Ben’s relationship. The steamy scenes were steamy and the loving “ahhh” moments were romantic. All in all, a delightful, easy to read love story. It had enough other sub-stories going on to keep it interesting. I expect that for the next stories in the series, we will get more of the backstory of each of the “Ladies Who Lunch” club members (teachers who have worked together for years). I look forward to further reads from this series.
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