Where did you get the book: Netgalley ARC
What publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: Out now
One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?
Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly…
Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.
Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child…
I have really enjoyed Shannon Stacey’s romances in the past and I was looking forward to this installment of the Kowalski’s clan, which features Kevin, the brother of the hero in the first book of the series, Exclusively Yours. Kevin’s story starts out during the wedding reception of his brother, who was the hero in the previous book. Kevin soon finds himself intensely attracted to Beth who is serving drinks at the bar, and one thing leads to another and they share a very hot night of passion that has consequences to the sounds of pitter patter of tiny feet.
I really, really enjoyed Kevin’s character and I liked that from the moment he set eyes on Beth, he was a goner there and then. I liked how relatable and realistic his reactions were especially when he discovered he would become a father. He didn’t push Beth into doing something she wasn’t ready or comfortable with and I really liked how patient he was towards her. I also really liked how he interacted with his co-workers and customers, which was full of funny and engaging conversations, and illustrated what kind of character he was. His courtship with Beth was filled with patience and yearning that I found really appealing.
On the other hand, Beth was a much more subdued character and although initially I liked her independent gypsy life and carefree attitude and I enjoyed her early interactions with Kevin. But as the book progressed I found her character wasn’t as developed as Kevin, because the reasons behind her detachment with her family didn’t really work for me – which was due to her family’s overprotective attention and care. But I didn’t think they were overly stifling or controlling and it just felt off, although I could see why she could be a loner. I just couldn’t warm up to her stubborn attitude about not giving him a chance and for me this affected my enjoyment of the romance between them.
I also found that because she was constantly throwing road blocks into committing into a relationship with Kevin until right until the end, and I became doubtful that it would actually work. I just found that final transition from her discovering she was willing to commit and the realisation that she was in love with Kevin – even though she was aware of his feelings – just didn’t work for me.
I actually found myself more interested and absorbed into the secondary characters, Paulie and Sam who were former lovers and were previously engaged to be married. I think the conflict between them was much more believable and not as frustrating as the one that Beth and Kevin shared. Paulie’s desire to escape from her rich and influential parents as well as the social expectations that she had to face was a more realistic reason compared to that of Beth’s. And I found that interesting because both Paulie and Beth mirror each other in some ways but Paulie’s romance with Sam was more engrossing and in some ways I wished this was the main romance.
I also liked the insights and life at Kevin’s bar/restaurant and I think Shannon Stacey has a great way with dialogue and characters. I really enjoyed the quirky characters which conveys such a warm tone and engaging affection to the reader and that is a true highlight for me. I especially loved the scenes with Kevin’s close knit family life which helped to create such a warm and fun tone which I think was one of the highlights in this book for me.
Shannon Stacey has such a great way with dialogue and conveys quirky and memorable characters and it was apparent here in spades in this book. Nonetheless, although I did enjoy some aspects of Undeniably Yours, such as the secondary romance with Paulie and Sam, the secondary characters, and even the main hero Kevin who I felt was an engaging and warm hero, Beth’s reticent and the reasons behind that just felt forced and dragged on which affected my enjoyment of their romance.
I give Undeniably Yours a C-