Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along…
Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as motherly meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?
|Series:||Keys to Love (Book 2)|
|Trope(s):||Second Chance Romance|
Enemies to Lovers
|Point of View:||Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)|
|Location:||Key West, Florida, US|
|Release Date:||27th April, 2021|
A delightful and rich story
This is the second book in Oliveras’ Keys to Love series, set in the sultry Florida Keys and centred around the Navaros clan. The first book in the series was the delightful Island Affair and even though that book whetted our appetite for this second-chance romance, you don’t have to read the books together or in any order as each stands completely alone.
Anamaría is a kick-ass heroine that I really admired. She’s quick to admit her failings – perhaps too quick – but also knows what she’s working with. She’s that great blend of vulnerable and strong that makes you connect with a character and see yourself in her while also rooting for her.
Alejandro was slightly more complex and I definitely felt he had more growing and learning to do over the course of the book than Anamaría did. But I still loved him. He’s grumpy due to his injury that’s brought him back to a place that he never planned to return, but he’s also grumpy because he’s being assailed by all these memories of better times. He’s also funny, cocky and has the sweetest scenes with his little niece, Lulu. Long story short – I loved him.
Together, our couple had a delicious spark that fired up every time they were together and bantered together. For a lot of the book, it’s mostly about the pair learning about each other again, forgiving each other again and then building something of a friendship once again. It was still satisfying when they got together and I sighed at the end in sweet happiness.
But, god dammit, give me an epilogue! I beg you!
As seems to be her norm, Ms Oliveras brings us a story packed full of character and her love of the Keys just shines through. As does her knowledge and understanding of a ‘typical’ Cuban familia and comunidad. You feel the sun shining on your body, you smell the sea and the spices of the cooking and you feel the censure of the traditional mamis! She really transports you to Key West and makes it come to life. I once again played the game of trying to translate the Spanish (of which I speak none) and was very smug with myself when I got it right. But fear not, when there’s Spanish, the characters find a way to get the translation into the narrative so if you don’t understand it you’re never in the dark.
So why not 5 stars? Well, it comes down to 2 things for me. The first is that Anamaría and Alejandro were childhood sweethearts and fully committed to each other as teenagers. This kind of takes away from the ansty, first-time nerves of the pair getting physical with each other as they’ve been there and done that. So our anticipation has to be ramped up in other ways. And for the most part, it was, but Ms Oliveras is pretty much a closed-door sex scene kinda gal and with Anamaría and Alejandro’s history, I really felt we were missing something by not seeing more than we did.
The second reason for 4 stars is simply that I was looking forward to this book so much and could not wait to get my eyes on it. I had enjoyed Island Affair so much and had built this book up that, I suppose, it was never able to live up to my expectations. I wonder if it would have been a solid 5 stars had I read it as a Keys to Love virgin.
This was still a delightful book that brought me back to the heat, heart and love of Key West and the Navarro family. I really enjoyed Priscilla Oliveras’ writing style and how she brings this rich Cuban family to life for me. I look forward to Enrique and Natalia’s story which I’m hoping will be next up in a series I’m very much looking forward to continuing. 4 stars.
PRISCILLA OLIVERAS is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, among others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a romance genre junkie, Priscilla also considers herself a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.