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With a smile lurking at the corners of his mouth, Sean had been waiting for an eruption for the last ten minutes.
It was day three of construction, and Melinda had looked far from chipper as she’d schlepped into the wine bar at eight in a slouchy gray sweater, faded jeans, and nondescript running shoes. Her eyes were bleary, and she cradled her coffee concoction like it was the crown jewel in the queen’s tiara. She’d winced every time his hammer drove home a nail.
Sean grinned. Hangover, he supposed, and he pounded a few extra nails for good measure as she scuttled into her office. That ought to fix her little red wagon, Miss High and Mighty and her sexy British accent. Not that he’d noticed.
He glanced toward her office door, and there was Melinda, staring at him with a stony gaze through half-slitted eyes.
“Good morning, Ms. York,” Sean said in his perkiest voice. “Sun’s shining, and it’s beautiful out.” He fiddled with the chuck on the drill and idly revved it a few times for some bonus noise.
“Is there anything quiet you can do for a while?” Melinda said, her tone was pained.
“Not feeling well?”
“I’m fine. I have some phone calls to make to wine distributors and a little peace and quiet would be divine.”
“Go back to your coffee shop for those calls. Unless you want me to take a break already? That will slow me down.”
Melinda glared. “I’m trying to get some work done, too.”
“Well, ma’am. This is a construction zone, so there’s going to be noise. We’re not slapping on some paint and hanging a few light fixtures. We’re adding beams, ripping out floors. What exactly were you expecting? Should I bring a bowl of potpourri or something?”
“That might help.” Her tone was drenched in syrup. “Or do you have a silencer for that drill?”
Kiss Me at Last
by Holly Cortelyou
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
KISS ME AT LAST (A Wescott Springs Novella) by Holly Cortelyou
What’s better than wine, chocolate and a little renovation magic? A sweet and sexy matchup between a handsome, hammer-swinging contractor, Sean McMallory, and a flirty and stubborn champagne bar owner, Melinda York, who’s in a remodel pickle! Kiss Me at Last brings you back to the charming mountain hamlet of Wescott Springs, Colorado in a heartwarming contemporary, small town romance that’s sweet with a little kiss of heat!
One tempting kiss will rock his world…
Melinda York has every last penny tied up in her business remodel so the last thing she needs is a complication—like surly Sean McMallory. But when “McGrumpy” blows through her front door with a hammer and toolbox, she knows she’s doomed…her replacement contractor is none other than the jerk who humiliated her at the town council meeting. With Melinda buried in sawdust and the exasperating, but ever-so-sexy, Sean constantly underfoot, how is she supposed to maintain her professional poise when she can’t stop daydreaming about his broad shoulders and his unexpectedly kind heart?
Sean McMallory likes his life simple and straightforward, and his plate is full with a booming construction business and family responsibilities. When a cousin begs a favor, he’s plunged neck-deep into the whirlwind that is elegant, jet-setter Melinda York and her wine bar renovation. There’s just no trusting the flirty Melinda even if he can’t forget her kissable lips and surprisingly, vulnerable eyes. So he’ll stick with his beer and country roads, and she can keep her bottles of bubbly and fancy truffles!
Can one kiss build a bridge to love and heal their wounded hearts?
4 **** Sweet Novella
Before I started writing, I had been an avid reader for many years and I always favored romances. The naughtiest, the better. That doesn’t mean I dislike sweet romances, though.
The reason I say this is to clarify upfront that, despite personal preferences, I didn’t dock a star from my evaluation of Kiss me at Last because it is a sweet, ‘behind-the-door’ love scenes kind of read. I always base my reviews on quality of writing, not on agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s choices for content.
Having said that, I appreciated the fact that Holly Cortelyou employs dual point of view in this book. She does it skillfully and without head-hopping. She creates an engaging story arch, provides enough background story to guide readers through the book, and develops the characters well. All that packed into a novella, which is not that easy to accomplish and requires skills, and Holly proves she’s got them.
Both Melinda and Sean are well-written characters made more realistic and interesting by their flaws. They are gorgeous, intelligent, and resourceful. Secondary characters are equally well-developed and important to help move the story along. Characters from the other books in the series make cameo appearances. If you don’t like cliffhangers, there’s no reason to worry as Kiss me at Last doesn’t have one; it’s a standalone.
As for the plot, I don’t like writing spoilers because I really dislike reading them. I can safely say, though, that I had never thought cream-filled donuts could be sexy until Sean proved me wrong. Curious? Yes, that’s what I was going for. Another theme that stood up for me in the story is that of how harmful assumptions can be. Wrong assumptions, on both Melinda’s and Sean’s part about the other one, caused them to lose five precious months because they avoided each other for that stretch of time. At this point, you must be wondering why I docked that one star, right? Although the plot flows smoothly, for the most part, I felt a few bumps along the way. In the beginning of chapter seven, for instance, I had to stop and go back to chapter six to make sure I hadn’t skipped a page or two by mistake because Melinda is going over something that had been resolved in chapter five. Sorry, no-spoilers here so that was intentionally vague!
Lastly, as a feminist, it bothered me that a woman needed male reassurance to believe in herself; however, I didn’t dock a star because of that as I’ve explained. I just felt I should mention it.
One of my favorite lines, and it’s from Sean’s point of view: “She was all electricity and sparks”.
I recommend this book to romantics looking for a sweet, quick read to warm up their cold nights.
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Holly Cortelyou is a romance author who pens sweet and spicy small town, contemporary romances as well as supernatural and paranormal romances. On any given day, you’ll likely find her posting dog and cat pics on Facebook (HollyCortelyouAuthor) or goofing off on Twitter (@HollyCortelyou) and Pinterest! And of course, you can always visit her on the web at http://www.HollyCortelyou.com. Holly has hazel eyes, a goofy sense of humor and…all the rest is subject to change without notice.