“I will say that there is some sensitive subjects on this novel but the author really handled them beautifully. 5 stars #2OCCJD” – 2OCC Reviews
As I dug around in the glove box, I heard someone chuckling behind me and froze. I bit down on my tongue so hard I could taste blood. I was just about to turn around and attack, until I heard his beautiful voice behind me.
“Now, that’s a view,” he said.
My belly vibrated with want at the sound of his low, husky voice. It was gravelly. Manly. I had never heard anything like it.
Then, his words registered in my brain, and realized I was bent over in my truck, flashing a stranger my bare ass.
I scooted myself from the cab and turned around quickly, covering my butt with my hands. I pressed myself against the cold steel of my truck and took a deep breath.
I forced myself to look up at him, and the only description for the man was pure perfection. He was not at all what I was expecting to see. Not in Rust Point, of all places. He stood in front of me with a wry smile, his muscular arms crossed tightly over his chest and an easy stance. I blinked several times, trying to focus on what had to be the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. His light eyes danced with humor, and as I tried to figure out if they were blue or green, or a little of both, I realized those same eyes had just been staring at my mostly bare ass.
I wanted to die.
He was confident and sexy as hell. He stood firm, thick legs shoulder-width apart and his back steady and tall. He wore a pair of worn Levi’s and a light blue work shirt with an embroidered patch above the front pocket. The black T-shirt underneath hugged his strong chest. His black work boots were scuffed and worn, and I had never been so turned on by black boots in my entire life.
He screamed man. And sex. And at that moment, so did my brain. My gaze slowly worked its way back up to his face, and those eyes were still sparkling with mischief. His mouth should have been illegal. I wanted to suck those soft lips into my mouth.
There was nothing, and I mean, nothing about him I didn’t want to touch. My fingers twitched, wanting to trace his chiseled jaw, and run through the rough scruff of his beard. I imagined nuzzling my cheek all over it, and then working my way all the way down and back again.
My pinky gave another flicker when I noticed the thick dark hair peeking out from under his ball cap. There was a hint of salt and pepper at the temple and I wanted to rip that hat off his head and play with those waves.
And rip his T-shirt off and rub his hard pecs. And his thighs. Thick, muscular thighs that pressed against the worn denim. And his strong arms…
Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.
Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.
In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town’s meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?
Duffy McCready has only ever truly loved one woman and it sure isn’t his bat-sh*t crazy ex-wife. No, Duffy McCready’s heart has only ever truly belonged to his childhood friend, Lucy Brewer. With Lucy back in town after a long absence and Duffy finally completely disentangled from his ex, there is every expectation that Lucy and Duffy will pick up right where they left off so many years ago.
As far as Duffy is concerned, the friend zone sucks but since he never actually declared his true feelings to Lucy, he’s going to have to settle for the friend zone for the time being. What’s more, Lucy isn’t back in town and ready to simply go back to the way things were. No, Lucy is back in town fresh off the death of her husband, trying to avoid her toxic in-laws, trying to learn about life as a single parent, and working towards the launch of her new sweets shop. With so much on her plate, Duffy is pretty sure he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone for a good long while if he doesn’t do something drastic.
As is always the case in the McCready family, Duffy has a lot of help and advice coming from his relatives. There’s not a McCready in the bunch who doesn’t want to see Duffy happy and they all agree, it’s about time he and Lucy Brewer finally get together. To that end, Lucy is lovingly welcomed back into the fold and everyone begins working on softening her up and encouraging her interest in Duffy. Though Duffy knows all involved are well-intentioned, he also knows he can’t rush Lucy or force feelings that may not be there.
Lucy Brewer knows several things: she doesn’t miss her dead husband the way she probably should, her mother-in-law may be the devil incarnate, her sister-in-law is most certainly the devil’s spawn, her son is the best thing in the history of ever, and if she can ever get all the paperwork filed and the renovations done, her sweets shop is going to be tremendously successful. Oh, and there’s one more thing she knows, Duffy McCready has grown into a fine man and her feelings towards him are so far beyond the friend zone. To be sure, there is a long road ahead and Lucy is already up to her butt in getting settled in and moving forward rather than looking back. It’s going to take real effort, lots of meddling relatives, and more than a bit of misunderstanding and confusion to get to a hard earned HEA.
The Bottom Line: In general, I have greatly enjoyed the Southern Eclectic series, but I completely loved this particular book! Duffy has been a consistent favorite for me over the course of the series and I was so glad to read about his deserved HEA. Duffy has been through the wringer and that doesn’t change in this read, only Duffy’s response to the situations. There’s so much growth in Duffy and that is one of the things I always look for in characters and books. On the flip side is Lucy, a brand-new character to the series who makes quite the impression. From page one, Lucy is bold, fierce, and more than willing to speak her mind. Though she certainly has some issues of her own to deal with, Lucy is (mostly) clear in her wants and desires and is determined to fight anyone who dares stand in her way. I adore Lucy, her fire, her strength, her mouth, and pure determination. While I have liked all the couples in the series, I have to say, Lucy and Duffy are far and away my favorites!! I feel like there could be one more book in the series (Duffy’s momma!) but if there isn’t, Gimme Some Sugar is a great way to end this quirky, fun, HEA filled series.
Book #0.5: Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck: Carl and Marianne were high school sweethearts, loving the way only teenagers can—with no thought to logic or pride, just a bone-headed, optimistic frenzy of unicorns and hormones. That was all they needed. Or so Carl thought.
Scared of being stuck in Lake Sackett, Georgia, like so many of her friends—without a real shot at a future or achieving her own dreams—Marianne panicked and bolted to college after stomping Carl’s heart into the high grass. But when she returns to Lake Sackett for the summer with her family after years away, she and Carl are drawn together like moths to a flame. As they rekindle their old romance and remember what it was like to be in love, they have to wonder: is this, finally, their real chance at happiness?
Book #1: Sweet Tea and Sympathy: Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.
Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.
As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?
Book #1.5: Peachy Flippin’ Keen: The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.
Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?
Book #2: Ain’t She a Peach?: An Atlanta ex-cop comes to sleepy Lake Sackett, Georgia, seeking peace and quiet—but he hasn’t bargained on falling for Frankie, the cutest coroner he’s ever met.
Frankie McCready talks to dead people. Not like a ghost whisperer or anything—but it seems rude to embalm them and not at least say hello.
Fortunately, at the McCready Family Funeral Home & Bait Shop, Frankie’s eccentricities fit right in. Lake Sackett’s embalmer and county coroner, Frankie’s goth styling and passion for nerd culture mean she’s not your typical Southern girl, but the McCreadys are hardly your typical Southern family. Led by Great-Aunt Tootie, the gambling, boozing, dog-collecting matriarch of the family, everyone looks out for one another—which usually means getting up in everyone else’s business.
Maybe that’s why Frankie is so fascinated by new sheriff Eric Linden…a recent transplant from Atlanta, he sees a homicide in every hunting accident or boat crash, which seems a little paranoid for this sleepy tourist town. What’s he so worried about? And what kind of cop can get a job with the Atlanta PD but can’t stand to look at a dead body?
Frankie has other questions that need answering first—namely, who’s behind the recent break-in attempts at the funeral home, and how can she stop them? This one really does seem like a job for the sheriff—and as Frankie and Eric do their best Scooby-Doo impressions to catch their man, they get closer to spilling some secrets they thought were buried forever.
Book #2.5: A Few Pecans Short of a Pie: Readers first fell in love with big city event planner Margot in the first Southern Eclectic novel, Sweet Tea and Sympathy, as she discovered a long-lost branch of her family—the McCreadys, of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home. To Margot’s surprise, she’s taken a liking to life in small-town Georgia…helped along by a romance with the hot elementary school principal.
The two of them have been taking it slow—or they were until Margot gets pregnant! Kyle wants to make an honest woman of her, but Margot’s still trying to proceed with caution. After all, she was the best event planner in Chicago before she ever came to Lake Sackett—her wedding has to be perfect, and perfect includes not having the baby halfway down the aisle.
By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers–“Hatchlings”–who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.
But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.
Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez–the only non-douchey guy at Hatch–has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.
I read this book in a single sitting which suggests I loved it and couldn’t put it down. However, that’s not exactly what happened. How to Hack a Heartbreak is one of those books where I find myself completely torn over whether I liked or disliked the read. Here’s the breakdown:
Whitney: Though a minor character in the book, Whitney has a HUGE personality that very much overshadowed nearly everyone else. While I am certainly not opposed to such a character, I am very much opposed to Whitney. She is loud, rude, obnoxious, brash, and though she does come through for her friend in the end, she is just hard to take and even harder to like.
The Hatchlings: WOW!! There isn’t a great deal of good to say about this group of first-class jerks! From the very beginning, the work environment that includes the Hatchlings is terribly toxic and doesn’t improve much over the course of the read. Since so much of the book takes place in this environment, I found it difficult to ever really be comfortable with the setting and many of the people in said environment.
The Man-Bashing: Holy crap is there a ton of man-bashing that happens in this book. While the cast of characters is predominately heterosexual female who have experienced some really awful dating events/situations, not every man in the world is that level of awful. Additionally, while a certain amount of man bashing is to be expected based on the characters experiences, I found myself often thinking, “What about the women out there who behave in the same way?” The bashing in this book is pretty relentless and is wholly one-sided.
Mel and Alex: Talk about doomed from the get-go! Mel is so traumatized by her past dating experiences that she doesn’t ever truly give Alex a fair shot. Mel is suspicious, untrusting, and willing to go to some very sketchy lengths to “prove” what she already “knows” about Alex. For Alex, much of his time with Mel is very confusing; he likes her, tells her he likes her but always seems to receive such mixed signals that he has no hope of interpreting. What’s more, both Alex and Mel are so scared to be completely honest with themselves and one another that they walk right into mutually assured destruction. Much of Mel and Alex’s time together is well and truly painful to “watch.”
The Bottom Line: How to Hack a Heartbreak has some great moments and, in the end all the truths are accepted and understood, and everything works out, but I’m just not sure it’s enough to convince me to really like this book. I think I wanted more out of the ADULTS in this book and simply got more too little, too late. So many of the ridiculous issues that arise in this story could have been completely avoided had the characters simply thought through their words and actions before speaking and/or acting. With all this being said, I did enjoy the ending: the adults finally decided to behave like adults, Mel and Alex get their business squared away, and some good things develop from the rubble of Mel’s life. As you can see, dear reader, my positives and my negatives tend to balance one another which leaves me not all sure if I liked this book or not.