When it comes to caring for the furry residents of St. Helena, California, groomer and pet rescuer Shay Michaels can handle anything. Humans are another story, though especially Deputy Jonah Baudouin. He's the town's resident superhero: upright, uptight, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous, even when he's investigating complaints about Shay's beloved foster animals. And that spells danger for Shay, a free spirit who can't risk trusting the wrong person again.
Jonah and Shay have been circling each other ever since she came to town, and he's running out of reasons to "not" kiss her senseless. But this deputy is a straight shooter with his eye on the sheriff's badge. He can't afford to get involved with Shay, a chaos magnet with luscious curves who's liable to turn his career and his life upside down. He enforces laws. She breaks them repeatedly. Keeping her out of trouble is becoming a full-time job and it's one he hopes is never going to end.
Need You for Keeps is book one in the Heroes of St. Helena, a spin-off of the St. Helena Vineyard series. Marina Adair is a new author to me. I chose this book on a whim and mid-way through, I stopped to go back and purchase all five books in the St. Helena Vineyard series. The Napa Valley region is one of my most favorite places in the world and I can easily imagine these characters living this kind of story there in the quaint town of St. Helena.
Stories like these make me happy and remind me why I read contemporary romance. I fell in love with the writing, the characters, the plot, and the setting. After reading so many dark paranormal stories recently, Marina Adair’s story is bright and refreshing. She expertly conveys the sweet nature of the characters. No, they are not perfect, but they are, at their core, essentially good, and this is what binds Jonah and Shay together as a couple. On the surface, their personalities seem to be opposite from one another. She is the free-spirit, willing to bend the rules a little, animal lover. He is the follow the rules, disciplined, hometown law and order hero. We are just so different. He is determined to walk the line, and I walk it until I find where it fades. She grew up in the foster system where she learned that she never quite belonged: Even when she’d been in foster care she’d been forced to knock on the front door if it had been locked when she’d gotten home from school. He grew up with solid family support and ties.
Although their obstacles seem almost insurmountable, through misunderstandings develops a keen appreciation for each other’s strengths. It’s a familiar story, but done so well with beautiful words and wonderful phrases that make me sigh: You are the color in my black and white world, and I love every shade that you are.
St. Helena is a small town and, as expected, there are standout supporting characters. The townspeople are intimately a part of the charm and humor of the story. Northern Californians give Southerners a run for their money in the quirkiness department.
In A Nutshell:
Sweet, adorable, humorous and infinitely re-readable, don’t miss this old-fashioned love story.
Marina Adair is a National bestselling author of romance novels. Along with the St. Helena Vineyard series, she is also the author of Tucker's Crossing, part of the Sweet Plains series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter.
As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.