He won’t stay put for a woman, and she won’t chase after any man… Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase—and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he’s called home to help with the family lodge, he’s intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn’t need a man. If there’s one thing Mitch can’t resist, it’s a challenge.
After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto “Men are a luxury, not a necessity.” But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she’s tempted to indulge. They’re the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize their sexy affair has become anything but casual…
Mitch Kowalski doesn’t get home to Maine too often, but when his little brother, Josh, breaks his leg and needs help at their family’s lodge, Mitch has to move home temporarily and he becomes intrigued by the new woman in town. Mitch has always had an easy time with women. Several of them around town fondly remember (and share) the times they spent with him and he cannot escape the long memories of the town. Though he has quite a reputation as the love-em-and-leave-em type, he always leaves them with a smile.
Paige has had a rather nomadic childhood with a flighty mother who chases after men because she can’t stand the thought of being on her own. Paige refuses to follow her footsteps. So when her car breaks down near Whitford, Maine, she decides to make it permanent and re-opens the town diner and finally becomes part of the family of Whitford. She likes belonging somewhere. She’s made friends and has established herself in this community and they, in turn, have welcomed her and are protective of her.
They want fundamentally different things. Also, Paige has to get past the reality that Mitch has (long ago) slept with one of her best friends, though Hailey assures her that it was a one-off. And everywhere she goes, she gets to hear stories of his prowess (even if they’re not completely accurate and sometimes entirely made up). Mitch owns his own business and he likes being able to pack up and go to a new city for a few weeks without anything tying him to any one place. Besides, he can’t just leave his business, there are lots of people depending on him and several jobs already lined up. He cannot stay indefinitely in Whitford, no matter how much Paige intrigues him. So he proposes they scratch each other’s itch mutually and when it’s time for him to leave, they leave as friends. How can she refuse when she wants him just as much?
Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series has, as of now, 6 books (with more on the way, I believe). The first three books (Exclusively Yours, Undeniably Yours, and Yours to Keep) introduced me to this author and I quickly fell in love with her writing and the family.
Mitch was a lot of fun. His history with the women in Whitford seemed to be a case of youthful exuberance rather than him being an unrepentant player with only sex on his mind. He was confident but not cocky, which is much more palatable. And the women sure were happy to be a part of his history and were never bitter about his moving on. Paige, for her part, is constantly aware of their time limit and refuses to let her feelings for him sway her to change in order to keep him around or, even more importantly, entice her to go with him. She was definitely a character of integrity and knows her own mind, which I appreciate in a heroine.
Another aspect that I really liked was the setting. Whitford is a small town full of interesting characters, but it felt like a real town, not like an impossibly perfect small New England town where everything is rosy and people dance down the street singing show tunes. The next two books in the series are about Mitch’s brothers, Ryan and Josh, and there’s a little bit of their story playing out here for you to salivate over. Josh’s story, in particular, makes me anxious to read it.