SHE’S STEALING HIS HEART . . .
Vintage boutique owner Venus Smith is stunned to realize her newest acquisition comes with a larcenous legend. Stolen years ago, the antique mermaid brooch belongs to the Clayworth family. The right thing to do would be to return it, but that means facing Connor Clayworth O’Flynn, the sexy department store heir Venus has had an unrequited crush on since childhood-and the man who helped ruin her father.
ONE KISS AT A TIME
Connor knows that Venus has never forgiven him for what happened between their families. But business isn’t personal, even though Venus’s father’s betrayal still cuts him like a knife. So when Venus proposes a deal-she’ll return his family’s brooch if he helps clear her father’s name-he reluctantly agrees. As action-packed days turn into flirtatious fall nights, it isn’t long before old memories resurface . . . and new desires ignite. Can two young lovers leave the past behind? Or must they first admit that all they’ve ever really wanted . . . is each other?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
When I first saw the blurb for this book I was intrigued, but at the same time the cover made me think this would be more women’s fiction instead of romance. I’m glad to say that this book was most definitely a romance book, and one that I am really glad I picked up.
Venus loves the Boutique she owns with her sisters almost as much as she loves classic costume jewelery. But lately, the only thing she has on her mind is clearing her father’s good name. She has come up with a plan she thinks will work: get close to her long time frienemy Connor O’Flynn.
Connor is an executive at the long standing Clayworth department store, lawyer extraordinaire, and helplessly in lust with Venus – despite the bad blood between their families. But Venus avoids his like the plague, so Connor spends most of his time working and enjoying time with his aunt and uncle. But when Venus starts showing an interest, Connor jumps at the chance to spend more time with her, even if it means listening to her pleas to exonerate her father. Connor agrees to keep an open mind, and is surprised when the threads begin to unravel.
After a somewhat slow start, I have to say I really did get into and enjoy this book. While this one is not listed as being part of a series, it did have a series feel to it. I checked the author’s goodreads page later, and realized that her other books do focus on characters from the same world. At times, early in the story, it felt as if Bodine assumed that readers knew some of the characters and back story. I found myself a little confused and unsure about how everyone in the story was related or why certain characters felt certain ways towards one another. It wasn’t bad enough that it ruined by reading experience, but it was noticeable.
One of the things I really liked about Bodine’s writing is that it combined a fun and flirty romance with a suspenseful mystery and wonderful family dynamics all rolled into one. The relationship between Connor and Venus was filled with sexual tension, especially since the chemistry was so strong between them, but neither acted on it for what felt like FOREVER. But because of that slow building up, I was constantly engaged and excited about their romance.
The suspense and mystery sub-plot was handled really well too. I loved that Venus was so determined to exonerate her father, but that she also wanted to help Connor’s aunt Bridget and uncle Tony. Venus had a kind heart and it showed as she went through great lengths (although sometimes not-well-thought-out lengths) to solve both the mysteries in the story. I was pleasantly surprised that Bodine did a good job of leaving multiple different trails, and that it took me longer than usual to figure out who the bad guy was in the whole story. Very well done in that respect.
The other aspect I really enjoy was the family dynamics between Venus and her sisters, Connor & Venus and his aunt & uncle, Venus and her father, the list goes on. I come from a huge family, as does my husband, so I always enjoy when books can showcase a believable family dynamic. The willingness for Venus to step outside her dedication to her father and help Connor with his aunt and uncle was great. When Connor stepped up to do what he could for Venus’ father I was so touched. Everywhere the book turned, those dynamics were alive and kept a smile on my face.
All in all I enjoyed my first Bodine book, and look forward to reading more in the future. While there were a few things that I felt held the book back a bit, there were also a lot of really wonderful moments that made the book an overall enjoyable read. I think that fans of both romance and women’s fiction alike will enjoy this story.
I give All I Want is You a B-