4 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Sweet Home Louisiana by Erin Nicholas

A sexy, small town, second chance rom com!

Thanks to a drawn-up-while-drinking-moonshine partnership agreement, Madison Allain has to spend thirty days back on the bayou before she can sell her part of the family business.

And if the heat and humidity and freaking alligators of Louisiana aren’t enough to agitate the cool and in-control California girl, then Owen Landry, the equally hot guy who stole her heart twelve years ago, will sure do the trick.

Owen just has to remember three simple-ish rules: Do not fight with her. Do not fight *over* her. Do *not* kiss her. He can do this. He’s charming and friendly for a living after all. But this is Maddie. The only woman to ever shake up this laid-back bayou boy.

Besides, she’s not staying. No way. These people and this town make her crazy. She doesn’t want to be crazy. She definitely does *not* want to own a swamp boat tour company. She just wants to paint. In her quiet, beautiful, alligators-not-allowed, *air-conditioned* art studio.

As for that hot bayou boy? Well, he’s… amazing. But he belongs here in the South. And she definitely doesn’t. Even if her heart stays behind when she leaves.

Title:Sweet Home Louisiana
Author:Erin Nicholas
Series:Boys of the Bayou (Book 2)
Trope(s):Small Town Romance
Second Chance Romance
Point of View:Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Autre, Louisiana, USA
Release Date:7th May, 2019
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Fun and frolics on the bayou

I am a HUGE fan of Erin Nicholas’ books and her writing in general – she always manages to pull you right into the story, make you feel like you’re part of it – and that you want to continue to live in her worlds. The characters, the quirks, the relationships…simply, no-one writes small-town romances like Erin Nicholas.

While I suppose this could also be classes as a small town romance – it focusses more on the bayou than on the town itself. And I’m going to be honest – the bayou, what it looks like, how it feels and etc is as foreign to me as if someone was talking about another planet! Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t connect as much with this book as I have done with others by Ms Nicholas; I couldn’t really picture the town of Autre – and I didn’t really feel like I wanted to live there.

And I suppose that’s very much like our main character, Madison. She – for reasons that become less and less firm as the book progresses – ran from her life in Autre and from her first love, Owen. She’s not happy to be back in her home town, feeling the feelings she’s long suppressed and turning back into that girl she once was. I liked Maddie and could sympathise with her and while I understood her reasons for not wanting to return home and be with Owen – the fact that she wasn’t really committed to her reasons made me a little confused.

Owen was exactly the right hero to match with Maddie. He was laidback, a little bit of a hothead at times and a whole lot of cocky, arrogant male. If there was one thing that annoyed me about Owen – which had nothing to do with the way he was written – was that I couldn’t get the image of the Owen from the front cover out my mind when I was reading. And goddammit I HATE the cover of this book. There have been worse covers, but there’s something about the pose of that male model, and the look on his face, that honestly turns my stomach. Eurgh. I know for a fact that had I not seen that cover, I would have loved Owen a whole lot more.

“It gives you the fun, the sexy frolics and all the feels you’d expect from an Erin Nicholas book.”

When you read an Erin Nicholas book you expect witty banter and a good bit of comedy – and this was no different. The whole bit about Owen’s typhoid fever was hilarious and had me laughing out loud. On the other hand – I think I was supposed to laugh at the incident with the alligator and the shotgun. I didn’t and it didn’t speak well of Owen’s character that he didn’t think what that might do to Maddie. It didn’t feel like a case of ‘stupid man’ but more ‘uncaring, unfeeling man’.

I feel like I’ve been a bit of a downer about this book when I actually really did like it. It gives you the fun, the sexy frolics and all the feels you’d expect from an Erin Nicholas book. You’ll whizz through it in no time.

It’s worth mentioning that I have yet to read the first book in the Boys of the Bayou series, ‘My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding’. Although the main characters from that book do appear in this one, and I’m assuming in the first book we’re introduced to all the other characters from Autre and the other Boys of the Bayou, I didn’t feel I was missing out or didn’t understand this story just because I was reading them out of order. I do now want to pick up that book and cannot wait for grumpy Sawyer’s book (Beauty and the Bayou) and then hopefully Baxter and Kennedy’s book after that (Crazy Rich Cajuns?).

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

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Owen felt his mouth curve into a grin as he heard the familiar clap, clap, clap behind him.

That was one of his favorite sounds—high heels on the wooden dock of the Boys of the Bayou swamp boat tour company.

He took his time turning and once he did, he started at the shoes.

They were black and showed off bright red toenails. The straps wrapped sexily around trim ankles and led the eye right up to smooth, toned calves. The heels matched the black polka dots on the white skirt that thankfully didn’t start until mid-thigh, and showed off more tanned skin.

He straightened from his kneeling position in one of the boats as his eyes kept moving up past the skirt to the bright red belt that accentuated a narrow waist and then to the silky black tank that molded to a pair of perfect breasts.

He was fully anticipating her lips being bright red to go with that belt and her toenail polish. God, he loved red lipstick. And high heels. In any color.

But before he could get to those lips, she used them, to say, “Oh, dammit, it’s you.”

Owen’s gaze bypassed her mouth to fly to her eyes. Because he’d know that voice anywhere.

Madison Allain was home.

A day early.

Not that an extra day would have helped him prepare. He’d been thinking about her visit for a week and was still as wound tight about it as he’d been when Sawyer, his business partner and cousin, had told him that she was coming home. For a month.

Owen stood just watching her, fighting back all of the first words that he was tempted to say.

Like, “Damn, you’re even more gorgeous than the last time I saw you.”

Or, “I haven’t put anyone in the hospital lately.”

Or, “I’ve missed you so fucking much.”

Just for instance.

She blew out a breath and now he did focus on her lips.

Yep, red. Terrific. That wasn’t going to make ignoring them any easier.

“I was hoping you were Sawyer,” she said, propping a hand on her hip.

Owen tossed the wrench he held into the toolbox at his feet. “Nope. Sorry.” So she wasn’t happy to see him. Big shocker. He hadn’t always been the perfect Southern gentleman around Maddie, that was for sure.

He wiped his hands on his jeans. Okay, he was supposed to be niceto her. That meant treating her like she was one of the tourists who frequented this dock. Polite. Friendly, but not I’ve-known-you-my-whole-life-and-kissed-you-a-whole-bunch friendly. Just mildly hey-how’s-it-goin’ friendly. So that she didn’t sell off her portion of the business that not only fed him and his other two partners, but that was their pride and joy. And the only thing he was really good at.

Nice. Polite. A little friendly—but not too much. He could do that.

Annoyed that within thirty seconds of seeing her again he was already thinking about kissing her, he kicked the toolbox, trying to slide it into the nook under the bow of the boat. Of course, he kicked it too hard and it tipped, spilling tools over the floor of the boat with loud clangs of metal against metal.

He shoved a hand through his hair. That was typical. Everything was an overreaction when it came to how he acted around Maddie. Even the little stuff. Certainly the big stuff. Always had been.

“Sawyer’s over at Ellie’s.” Owen pulled himself up out of the boat and onto the dock.

That took him about two feet closer to her and he instantly became aware that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. Very aware as Maddie’s eyes tracked over his shoulders, chest and abs.

The heat that arrowed through him was unwelcome. Though not unexpected. There had always been this crazy chemistry between them. Key word: crazy.

Boys of the Bayou Series:

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