An O'Connor Family Novel, 1
Danielle’s got three months to make her grandmother’s rundown Craftsman house livable. Her game plan is to get in, get grubby, and get back home to L.A. She needs a carpenter, and her best friend’s younger brother is a good one. It’s hard to ignore the buffed body under Ryan’s paint-splattered sweatshirts, but her friend declares he’s off-limits so Danielle reluctantly agrees.
Ryan doesn’t have the cleanest record, anyway. His recently ex-ed girlfriend wants him back, and he has a reputation for brawling. He’s also had a crush on Danielle since he was a kid. Despite their nine-year age difference, he knows she’s worth pursuing.
Soon the paint under Danielle’s fingernails starts feeling more natural than the L.A. sunshine. She’ll have to navigate plumbing disasters, money problems, and one seriously cranky best friend to find something she hasn’t had before: a real home, and a man who loves her.
Faced with the drafty interior of a big box store on a Sunday evening, Danielle did what any other single woman would do. She whipped out her cell phone, scrolled through her contacts, and sent up a prayer to whichever god was listening. She’d been back in Seattle exactly three days, just long enough to have figured out things at her grandmother’s house were a lot worse than she’d anticipated.
Maeve picked up on the third ring. "Why aren't you here?"
Relief trailed out on a sigh, and Danielle eyed the rack of lumber, each six foot piece as wide as her hand. Those boards wouldn’t fit in her Mini Cooper, which might not matter since she wasn’t sure they’d fix the problem. "Because I'm here.”
"Where?" The brew-fueled babbling on Maeve’s end of the call made her location obvious: her favorite hang-out, the Pig N’ Whistle.
"You nerd," Maeve said, then hollered ‘Home Depot’ to the crowd around her. A surge in the general hubbub gave Danielle’s location a big thumbs-down.
"Do I want to know what you're up to?" Maeve’s voice dampened, as if she’d cupped the phone to cut out the background noise.
"Well, the kitchen floor’s kind of a problem." It topped the list of challenges at Danielle’s late grandmother’s house, right ahead of ‘no heat’ and ‘intermittent electricity’.
"That whole house is a disaster."
“Shut up. There’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix."
“Wishful thinking,” Maeve said over a swell of crowd noise. “You don’t believe that any more than I do.”
Danielle scratched the hairline at the back of her neck, wanting nothing more than a long, hot shower. “Guess I got a couple months to prove us both wrong, then.” Maeve had been her best friend since high school, her go-to phone call when things turned to shit in L.A. In the three days Danielle had been back in Seattle, Maeve had been her rock.
She rested against one of the orange metal stepladders employees used to reach the top shelves. The whole thing shifted, zapping her with fear the top boxes would come tumbling down on her. Why not? The oversized store, the oversized project, hell, the oversized change in her life could very well squash her flat.
If Maeve had been at home, painting her toenails or paying bills, Danielle would have invited her down to the ol’ Home Depot right off. But now? No way could she interrupt Happy Hour.
To her right, a man pushed one of the store's big dollies up the wide aisle. He wore a black knit cap pulled down almost to his brows, allowing just a fringe of dark curls and long sideburns to show.
"Just come have a pint with the rest of us,” Maeve said. “The floor will be there when you get home. Tomorrow's Veteran’s Day and the place is packed."
"Honey, it's the kitchen floor." Danielle gave Mr. Sideburns a ‘privacy please’ grimace, then almost made a fool of herself double-taking his return smile. His dimples and blue eyes had a familiar feel.
“Don’t ‘honey’ me,” Maeve said. “You can’t cook there anyway. Nothing works. Did you call my brother yet?”
"Not yet.” Danielle rubbed her forehead, pushing back the headache that wanted to take over. Focus. She was in no shape to play with Mr. Sideburns, no matter how sexy he looked in his paint-splattered UW sweatshirt. “Last time I saw Ryan O'Connor he was a ten-year-old with a dirty face and holes in the knees of his jeans.”
"Call him. He knows his stuff.” Maeve said. “And you’re family, babe. There’s nothing more important than family."
Danielle had to smile. Maeve’s family – her rowdy brothers and generous, loving parents – had been Danielle’s ideal since she was a kid. In comparison, her own mother had relied upon a principle of benign neglect when it came to raising Danielle, her carelessness contradicted by a perverse inability to approve of any of Danielle’s life choices.
“You’re a good sport to help me out like this,” Danielle said.
“I figure if I’m nice enough, you’ll stick around.”
“Yeah, my boss’d love that.” Right now, her job was the best part of life in L.A.
Mr. Sideburns pulled a couple sticks of lumber from the rack, angling them across the top of the bags of concrete and box of tiles already in his cart. He lifted them with no more effort than if he was pulling a box of cereal off the shelf in the grocery store.
Danielle dragged her eyes down to the floor. No more ogling the other shopper. The buffed and gorgeous other shopper. Who probably had all kinds of women admiring his dimples and sideburns and whatever was hiding under his worn-out jeans.
Danielle convinced Maeve this wasn’t a good night for drinks with the gang and tucked her phone away. Like any L.A. woman worth her yoga studio membership, her usual approach to home improvement meant calling a local contractor. She could have done the same thing this time, except she’d given in to the impulse to get her hands dirty.She refused to look too deeply at that decision, because it probably meant something significant. Why else would someone with a great job, a gorgeous condo, and a busy life drop out for a three-month leave of absence?
When the project was done, she ought to take a long vacation and figure out why she’d chosen to come home to Seattle, why she wanted to do the work herself. Until then, she needed to leave off the introspection and go ask one of the orange-vested employees for some help.
"Must be bad to get you into Home Depot on a Sunday evening." Mr. Sideburns leaned on his cart and gave her an appreciative once-over, his almost-cocky baritone mellowed by a hint of laughter.
Hitting on me? Not until I’ve had a shower, dude. Danielle jumped up from the ladder, ready to run. "I’m good, thanks."
“Got that right,” he said, mostly to himself. “Sounds like you need a carpenter.” A wry grin tweaked the corner of his mouth, just enough to show a dimple. “Ryan O'Connor."
"Ryan?” The wheels in her head burned rubber tracking back through the conversation with Maeve. How much did he hear? “It’s been what? Fifteen years?" She raked a strand of hair out of her face, torn between embarrassment over her woefully unwashed state and stupidity for blushing like a teenager. “Danielle Jacobsen.”
“Figured.” He smiled wide enough to show both dimples. Yep. Definitely related to Maeve. As a kid he'd had freckles and a snub nose. His nose was still rounded at the end and it looked like he'd broken it at least once, and his jeans had the kind of shredded wear at the knees that L.A. hipsters paid big dollars to copy. Her reserve melted until it warmed parts of her anatomy that had no business heating up in a Home Depot store.
"So … um … you're Maeve's little brother." Danielle offered her hand, covering her momentary fluster with a glossy SoCal smile.
He wrapped her in a grip so sure and strong she didn't want to let go. "Yep. I heard you were back from L.A."
Danielle loosened her grasp to keep from giving him the wrong idea. Or to keep from giving herself the wrong idea. "Got here Thursday."
"Shouldn’t you be at the Pig with Maeve?"
"Well, my grandmother’s house is kind of run down, and there's this hole in my kitchen floor." She gave a weak laugh, the banks of glaring fluorescent lights turning their conversation into a stage play.
Ryan stuffed his hands in his pockets and shrugged like he’d already seen worse than anything she could show him. "Before you spend any money, let's go take a look."
"Not tonight. I mean, it’s a holiday weekend.” If he was anything like Maeve, there was a bar stool with his name on it somewhere. “I'll call you and get on your schedule."
He gestured to his cart. "I just gotta pay for this stuff and we can go. Don’t buy anything ’til we know what you need."
"But you must have plans."
"Yep. I'm going to help out a pretty woman." He lifted his eyebrows in a clear gesture of approval.
It’s like that, is it? She pinched her lips to stifle a grin, aiming for stern with a helping of skeptical. "Pretty older woman."
"What do you expect from a kid with holes in his jeans?” He gave his cart a shove in the direction of a checkout line.
It would have been rude not to follow.
Posted by Jess @ From Me to You ... Book Reviews on 23rd Oct 2015
3.5 out of 5 stars! Not long after an unexpected breakup Danielle (Dani) is informed that her grandmother left her childhood home to her in the will so, with hopes to get some space, she takes off a couple of months from work and goes home. Dani’s plans are to upgrade the house and put it on the market during the time that she’s there but that is before she realizes that the house is in need of a whole lot more TLC than she can give on her own. Therefore, she enlists the help of her “best friend,” Maeve’s, younger brother Ryan to help. During their time together, their relationship goes from platonic to friends to lovers very quickly. Yet with the cards fate has stacked against them, will they be able to work through their issues so they can have something good together? Or will it be only a brief affair for them after all?
This compelling novel reels you in with all of its drama. It was hard not to be hooked! Dani is a sweet 33-year-old, who is dealing with a lot of issues and not sure how to fit back into the town she grew up. Though Ryan is nine years younger than Dani, he has had a crush on since he was a little boy and their time together has just matured those feelings. Yet, both are dealing with recent breakups from people who have emotionally scarred them, so they both have a hard time coming to terms with trusting one another throughout this novel. It was interesting how they dealt with all of the chaos in their lives while they leaned on each other for support. And it was because of that support that made this novel and their relationship so sweet to read. Add in a few sex scenes and this novel definitely keeps a reader entertained in many ways.
Simply, I liked Dani and Ryan together. Even though this novel throws many curveballs their way I’m glad it all works out for them.
In truth, what made me not give this novel a higher rating was because I didn’t like some of the secondary characters and I thought some of the storylines (like the one about Dani’s mother and her job) was left a bit incomplete.
Nevertheless, I definitely recommend this novel for those looking for a dramatically erotic contemporary romance.
Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews
-- read more of this review and 3+ TEASERS on my blog: frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com --
Posted by Nana Prah on 10th Aug 2015
I haven’t read a romance like King Stud in a long time. I’m talking one of the old time romance novels. The kind where the attraction is red hot and they want to hook up, but they don’t for one reason or another. The back and forth, the almost, then not, builds the tension so high that when they do get together, it’s explosive.
I loved it.
I’m not sure which character I liked more. Danielle with her practical, organized, rationalizing ways and sharp wit. She’s a woman of strength and intelligence who didn’t let the hard times of her past or present break her. Or Ryan who is just all around wonderful with his hot body, talented carpentry skills, huge heart, and amazing sense of humor. I could do without his off the wall temper, though.
I’ll warn you about the snark in this book. If you don’t like laughing then don’t read it.
The secondary characters pulled the novel together. Ms. Rancourt has set us up for an extraordinary series. Now she has me wondering who’s next. I hope she comes out with the next book sooner rather than later.
Posted by Liberty Ann Ireland on 6th Aug 2015
Enjoying the freedom that could only truly come on the back of his motorcycle, Tanner almost literally ran into Beth on a dark road one windy, rainy night. On the run from the only so called home she had known, a cult run by a domineering religious fanatic trying to make her his next child bride. Tanner felt immediately drawn to Beth in every way possible - protective, physically and downright sexually. Just six months out of prison and trying to keep his nose clean, his MC president is none too thrilled to have Tanner dragging a 'problem child' into the Club but Tanner cannot leave her. Tempers flare, passions rise but how will it all play out?
I was in love with Tanner faster than you can say spit. His way with Beth and being the crusty marshmallow from h*ll that he was, I found completely endearing. The fact that he made it totally clear that he would protect her with all that he had before he even really knew anything about her gave me a huge insight into his make-up. I was pleasantly surprised by how the MC in general responded to the dirtbags who kept coming after Beth. Amber reminded me that once again, you really can't judge a book by it's cover. As for Beth, I was afraid, quite frankly, that she would be a wuss. I mean she had every reason to be, right? But she wasn't. And she and Tanner were so good together. Their sexual chemistry was off the charts hot. Their first kiss about sent me through the roof and when Tanner offers to take care of her needs right there on the step, well, let's just say it was cold shower time when he was through. And as for what happened with the bad guys, Ha! I'm not gonna tell you what happens in the end, silly!
This is a rough and gritty book. The author crafted the language and actions to match. The sex is fabulously erotic. Lovers of hard riding, soft hearted heroes will gobble down Tanner's War in no time!
Posted by IP on 27th Jul 2015
Ryan is hot. Let’s just get that out of the way. Not just hot in a look-at-those-abs type way. But hot in the indefinable way of a guy who is talented and fun and knows what (and who) he wants and isn’t a jerk about any of it. Too bad he comes with a few hang-ups courtesy of his ex.
I struggled a little more with Danielle, mostly because she’s struggling. She’s worried about the age difference, and dating her best friend’s little brother, and getting back to a job she doesn’t seem to like. The only thing she doesn’t worry about is herself and whether she’s living the life she wants to live.
I love how all those elements come together in a way that is hot, and sweet, and ultimately satisfying.
Ryan’s got a big, close-knit family. I’ll definitely be looking for more of the O’Connors
Posted by Unknown on 24th Jul 2015
I really enjoyed this story. The characters were real and so were the struggles they dealt with. I was able to relate with them throughout.