Tanner Harlow is a talented landscape designer, quietly building a name and a solid future when he finds himself needing to be the temporary guardian to his eleven-year-old half-sister. Tanner loves her, but can’t see himself as a father figure or imagine how he’s going to build his business during his busiest season with a child in tow until his newest client—his high school crush who still makes his heart pound—has a proposition that will help them both as long as Tanner can resist the tempting lure of the girl next door.
Elementary school teacher Francie Tate moved back to Marietta to be close to her ailing father. She plans to settle in and fix up her little bungalow before the school year starts, but definitely needs help with the neglected yard. She’s shocked when the landscaper she hired turns out to be a class mate. Tanner used to be shy in school, but he isn’t the same kid anymore–he’s tall, sexy, and has the most striking brown eyes she’s ever seen. When Francie learns of Tanner’s need for child care, she impulsively offers to watch his half-sister for the summer in return for some landscaping and renovations around the house.
It seems like a win-win, but Francie didn’t bargain on falling in love.
|The Harlow Brothers (Book 1)
|Category / Genre(s):
|Single Parent / Guardian
Small Town Romance
|Point of View:
|Marietta, Georgia, US
|2nd August, 2018
A fun, small-town feel romance
This is the first Kaylie Newell book that I have read and also the first in a new series about the Harlow Brothers. Each book follows a different brother so stands very much alone. No cliffhangers here. (Hey – if your book is good enough – people will buy it without you having to resort to cheap marketing tactics. Just saying.) The next book in this series is Luke’s story, Luke’s Gift.
The story kicks off with Tanner in a bit of a turning point in his life. His mother has just passed away and he has taken guardianship of his sister. Despite the very sad set of circumstances, at no point in this book is the story overly maudlin or upsetting.
Tanner is a good guy – sweet, understanding and just a little bit gruff. Sadly for me, the author described him as exceedingly tall and 26 years old. 26. Good God – how old am I getting that this sounds so young?! So all through the book I had this image of a tall, lanky man-boy as our hero. I’m going to send out a plea – don’t tell us the age of our couple. Let me pretend I’m young – or that my couple are a little older!
I really like Francie, too. She was the girl next door that everyone had loved in high school – including Tanner. But she’d lived too long living up to the expectations of her mother, and everyone else in her life. And she’d always been the kind of person to try to not hurt anyone else’s feelings – even if it costs her something. I just felt for her and sympathised with what she was going through.
And surprisingly for me, I also really loved wee Maddie. I’m not usually into kids in a book but I enjoyed her and thought she brought something extra to the story.
The writing was good, the story kept me interested and I’m keen to read the next book in the series – always a sign that a book was good.
So now onto the things that stopped me from marking this 5 stars.
At first I thought this was a sweet, clean book. The first kiss wasn’t described much and I didn’t feel much sexual tension between the pair – only the sweet romance. But some words caught me out and left me wondering if the book was a bit sexier than it first appeared. And it did get sexier from there – it’s just I didn’t feel it. I have never said this about a book in my life (liking the sexy times as I do) but I honestly think I might have given it 5 stars if the door was closed to us when Francie and Tanner had all the sex. There was just something missing for me in the intimate scenes which made them feel a little awkward.
And I was also a bit confused as to what the problems were with Tanner and Francie – both individually and together. Why didn’t they want to be with each other? Why were they fighting against their feelings? It left me a bit drained trying to get my head around it – which made me think it might be the age thing. Which made me angry because that means I’m definitely getting old!
As I say, a couple of minor things dropped this from a 5 star read to a 4. But it was still a fun, small-town romance with a great couple and hopefully another couple of equally excellent books still to come in the series. Recommended.
Kaylie Newell was born in the great state of Oregon, where she was raised alongside rivers and lakes and scruffy dogs that chased their tennis balls as far as Kaylie’s noodle arms could throw. As she grew, so did her imagination, and it didn’t take long to realize she was a romantic at heart. She began to fancy herself the future wife of a cowboy, the likes of which graced every paperback novel she could get her hands on. She decided to go to college in Oklahoma to snag herself one, but irony won over when she fell in love with a hippie in sheep’s clothing instead. Together, they came back to Oregon, started a family and watched their dreams unfold. Kaylie wrote her first book when her girls were toddlers, editing sex scenes with The Wiggles on in the background. She’s proud of many things in life, among them the fact that she can still recite her lines from Romeo and Juliet from her seventh grade play, the fact that she can set a grilled cheese sandwich on fire faster than most people can make one, but mostly she’s proud of the stories blossoming inside her noggin on a daily basis.