Nine years after June Augustine hightailed it out of Sultry Springs with her heart in pieces, one thing stands between her and her dream of opening an upscale martini bar: a bogus warrant from her tiny Texas hometown. Now she’s stuck in the sticks for a month of community service under the supervision of the devilishly sexy Luke Gallagher, her first love and ex-best friend.
If Texas wasn’t already hot enough, working side-by-side with June would make any man melt. Luke wants nothing more than to strip her down and throw her in the lake-the same lake where they were found buck naked and guilty as sin all those years ago. In their heads, they’re older and wise. But their hearts tell a different story…
Source: Sourcebooks through Netgalley for review purposes
Mae-June Augustine is a small town girl, trying to make a success of herself in Austin, Texas. She’s about to open her own bar, a place where she can make her own drink recipes and call all the shots, but she’s temporarily stymied by a little ten year old bench warrant from her hometown that she knew nothing about. So she takes off, convinced she can get it taken care of in an afternoon, but is slowed down by the town judge who forces her to complete a month of community service as time served.
Luke Gallagher grew up in the same house as June, both of them raised by June’s grandmother when June’s parents died and Luke’s mother ran off with his little sister. Luke’s gone through a lot since he last saw and heard from June nine years earlier. He’s been in the Army and was married and divorced. Now he’s picking up the pieces of his life and using a second chance to make something of himself. He’s built a business of building houses and runs a nonprofit that utilizes others in need of a second chance. When June turns up at a house he’s working on for her community service, he is surprised to find himself drawn to her like he was all those years ago.
Luke’s abandoment by his mother (and her choosing his sister over him) has left him feeling like Love is an illusion. He cannot believe that June, or anyone, loves him or that love is even real. June tries to make him see that her love is real and that she will always be there for him, but he’s pretty hardheaded. There’s also the fact Austin that six hours away from Sultry Springs and June’s life is there, while Luke’s life is here.
It’s no surprise that I loved this book. I tend to be drawn to books about small towns and the people in them. Sultry Springs was not a big presence in the book, but the small town mentality and southern way of life was present and helped me to understand Luke and other characters in the book like June’s grandmother and her Church friends and the Judge that forces June to stay in town. I loved that June just kind of fell right back into the person she was when she was younger and in love with Luke. Their chemistry was pretty great and it was fun to read about them both trying to deny their attraction. Luke’s issues with love were kind of hearbreaking, and June’s mission to make him believe that she loved him made for a hopeful book because you know in the end, she’s going to win. That’s just the way romance books are made. Happy Endings for Everybody! Also, I loved Luke’s best friend, Trey, who will be the focus of the next book, which I will be reading shortly. So, in conclusion, the book is great fun, the characters really making it the kind of book I like: funny and sexy with a satisfying conclusion.