Luke Bailey has dreams of building homes and putting down roots. But for a man with a rough past, finding any job isn’t easy. When Mary Scott offers him a job-and a place to stay-mixing drinks and tapping beer at her theme bar, My Parents’ Basement, Luke accepts. Customers flock to the cozy pub, designed to evoke memories of lost childhood, to meet and mingle and play games.
For Mary, her gorgeous new employee should be off-limits. She’s his boss. And they’re very different-something her interfering family constantly points out. But Mary’s done playing the good girl. And Luke isn’t the bad boy everyone thinks he is. Their attraction simmers until Mary seduces Luke into playing some deliciously adult games. Then a shocking betrayal threatens everything…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’ve never read Summer, and only read one Dee book in the past, but I really liked the look of this story. Bad boy trying to reform, good girl who falls for him, breaking a few good girl rules along the way…. Sounds like a recipe for success!
Mary is working hard to make her bar a success, despite the fact that her family thinks it’s ridiculous. When she needs another employee, she helps out a friend by interviewing and hiring an ex-con. Mary is attracted to Luke, but she is also hesitant given his past and all the literature she got about con’s returning to civilian life, but she is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Luke needs to make something of his life. He has dreams and wants desperately to achieve them. Although Mary is not the kind of woman he expected, he is drawn to her. He wants to be able to earn and keep her trust and love. But when things go missing from the bar, that becomes harder and harder.
There were quite a few things I really liked about this book. Luke, for a bad boy, was pretty much a total softie at heart. He accepted full responsibility for his actions, honestly regretted his past, and was resigned to whatever future he could make, even if it was a dismal one. At times he was really optimistic about life, and other times he wasn’t. I thought his attitude slingshot around a few too many times than I was comfortable with, but overall I liked his character.
Mary was very sweet and innocent, she comes from money yet wanted to break out and prove to everyone she could run a successful business on her own without her parents’ help. And she did it well. I liked the concept of her bar and thought the whole ‘parents basement’ idea was cute and worked well for her character. For as sweet and nice and yet stern with Luke, I wanted her to do the same with her family. She let her mom and dad walk over her left and right and I would have liked to see her stick up for herself instead of just meekly going along with them.
The romance between these two was cute, but at times felt a little awkward. There were some really sweet moments when Mary and Luke clicked, when the leaned on each other and supported each other when they both needed it. Other times it felt odd, like I couldn’t understand or figure out what they saw in each other, what they even liked about each other, how they could have a relationship without trusting one another.
One of the things that both annoyed me and excited me about this book was the way it was all resolved. SPOILER: [spoiler] Mary’s father offers Luke a bribe to leave his daughter. A great work/education opportunity that Luke lets Mary believe he took, while instead working on his own to achieve his dream. They spent some time apart before realizing their desire to be together, and the way they came back together was well done.[/spoiler] I was glad to see Luke trying to make it on his own, but pissed he felt the need to lie to Mary about it. I also wanted Mary to really take life by the horns and fight for what she wanted, and instead she waited around without taking the driver seat in life.
All in all this was a sweet and cute romance. I always love the bad boy paired with the good girl, and Luke and Mary did have some wonderful moments together. I would definitely be interested in checking out more from these authors together!
I give Serious Play a B-