They say you can never go home again . . .
When “Life Coach to the Stars” Jocelyn Bloom is embroiled in scandal, the only place she can hide is the one place she wishes she could forget. She left Barefoot Bay-and the boy next door who knew all her secrets-years ago. Now nothing about the tiny island off the coast of Florida is quite how she remembers it, especially Will Palmer. He’s even more gorgeous and tempting . . . and still capable of turning her world inside out.
But what if someone is waiting for you?
To Will Palmer, Guy Bloom is more than the elderly, senile neighbor he looks after-he’s the last connection to Jocelyn, the woman Will loved and lost. But the reunion with Jocelyn doesn’t go smoothly. Shocked by the change in her father’s personality, Jocelyn struggles to reconcile her dark childhood with the sweet, confused man who has grown close to Will. Jocelyn has guided countless clients to happiness-but can she escape the rainy days of her past for a new sunny future with Will?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
When I first saw this series mentioned, I was so excited to read them. I love St. Claire’s voice, and the series sounded like such fun and flirty and sexy books.
Jocelyn never liked coming back to Barefoot Bay, and getting out was the best thing she could have done for herself. Now that she is in hiding from her very public scandal, she heads home to hide out. She didn’t want to deal with anyone, least of all Will, her best friend from high school and the one guy who got away. But Will isn’t the same sweet next door neighbor she remembers, although it doesn’t stop the sparks from flying.
Will is still a little bit in love with Jocelyn, but he worries that the relationship he’s built with her father will be enough to drive a wedge between them. None of Jocelyn’s memories of her childhood are good, and they are all because of her dad. But old age and disease has changed the man, and although Will can see those changes, Jocelyn isn’t as receptive to accepting her new and improved father. But with Will’s insistence and support, Jocelyn might be able to get back the one thing she never had growing up, a loving father.
Any romance novel that deals with abuse is one that I don’t take lightly. Whether it’s abuse from a spouse or parent, it’s a subject that must be treated delicately. I’ve found that more often than not, I have a hard time reading a story about abuse, especially if the abuser is painted in anything other than a horrific light. But with Jocelyn’s father I had a hard time hating the man, especially once we got to see more of his character and disease. The struggle he had with not remembering anything, certain things making him retreat back into his mind, and so on and so forth, made if very difficult for me to just hate him outright. At the same time, I also never felt as if Jocelyn was in the wrong to NOT want to see the changes in her father. Despite Will’s belief that Guy really had changed, Jocelyn had the memories, the bruises and the fear of days and nights living with a man who frequently flew off the handle at the smallest of things.
I didn’t like the way that Will pushed Jocelyn to accept her father, but I did like his character. The way he dealt with his situation in life, going from the big man on campus to the boy with the shattered dreams all while retaining his love of life was enough for me to like and respect the man. Sure he was devastated when his baseball career ended, but he also found something else he loved equally and made a success of himself. And despite the fact that he hated Guy for everything the man did to Jocelyn, he still opened his heart to the man and did what he could to care for him. It made Will a honorable character, despite his pushing Jocelyn.
While I liked Jocelyn immensely, there were times I didn’t like her at all. The whole aspect of the “scandal” and truth behind it went against everything I can imagine a life-coach stands for. I thought that although it went with her character’s past, that situation didn’t really make sense to the adult Jocelyn, to the well put together and life-coach Jocelyn. But her reactions to her father were real and resonated with me. I couldn’t imagine going through what she did, and then coming home and having to face those demons.
The romance between Will and Jocelyn was a very sweet second chance love story. We got to see quite a bit of their teenaged romance in the beginning of the story, as well as the reconnection as they found each other as adults and became friends once again. I did think at times they were a little unrealistic with each other. Will wanting Jocelyn to accept her father regardless of her history with him. Jocelyn was also quick to push Will away whenever she felt defenseless or at odds. There was a lot of buildup and sexual tension, and while I was so glad to see these two finally get it right, it wasn’t necessarily an easy journey to read.
All in all I still really enjoy the Barefoot Bay series and am anxiously awaiting the next in the series. I’ve come to love and adore these women and the resort they are building together. While Jocelyn and Will had a lot of drama and difficulty in their relationship, there were also a lot of parts to enjoy.
I give Barefoot in the Rain a B-