The last place he expected to find lasting love was back in his hometown…
Slater knew tragedy from a young age, but with the support of his foster family, he turned his life around. Now, back from a stint in the Navy, he’s packed up his motorcycle and returned to Red Hook to help to run the family restaurant—a job that comes with a tantalizing upside. Her name is Rocki.
Flirty, sweet, and outgoing, Rocki brings in crowds as the lead singer of the house band. And although she’s unable to resist the charms of this intense bad boy, she refuses to open her heart to him. Until a family crisis shatters Rocki’s easygoing demeanor, exposing something from her past she’d always hoped would stay hidden.
But Slater knows a thing or two about family secrets—and he sets out to prove to Rocki that their relationship could finally give them both a future worth believing in.
This blurb came from Goodreads.
I read the blurb and liked the thought of former military, foster family, and hidden secrets but I was leery about requesting this because it was the third and I had not read the previous ones. So I bought the first one and after giggling my way through it I bought the second, then went ahead and requested Had to be You. I am very glad I read the first two installments first because I would have been completely lost. As a result I highly recommend giving the first two a try if you are intrigued. I will try to avoid spoilers from the previous books.
Slater arrived back home ready to do his part in helping his foster father continue to recover from his heart condition. When Slater entered the family restaurant among the changes he noted was the live music, especially the lead singer. He was only planning on sticking around for a few months before heading overseas on a contract so he wasn’t going to pass up the idea of a little fun. He and Rocki hit things off quite well until all of a sudden she shut him down and tried to keep things friendly but distant. Not one to give in easily since Rocki’s interest to him was obvious, Slater used every opportunity to be around her and provide temptation.
Rocki loved her time in Red Hook and had found almost a second home complete with friends and family. As much as she loved her time there, Rocki was extremely careful about sharing any real personal information managing to deflect or distract inquiries. Then during one of her sets, a strange man walked into the bar and managed to disturb her usual performance concentration. Looking forward to some flirtation and maybe a good time Rocki’s hopes were dashed when she learned that Slater was one of Pop’s kids. She immediately put an end to the flirtation only to discover that he kept showing up and tempting her to change her mind.
As Slater and Rocki danced around their attraction the supporting characters started exerting their influence. Rocki’s friend Patrice known for her inquisitive and interfering nature started throwing them together while pestering Rocki about her life before she arrived in Red Hook. Nicki, the latest of Pop’s kids, whose parentage is an ongoing question throughout this series kept throwing Slater off of his game by insisting on his interaction. Nicki had already bonded with Slater’s two brothers in previous installments. I kept giggling as I watched Rocki and Slater’s mental gymnastics as they dealt with the others in their lives. Then Rocki received a phone call and everything changed.
I enjoyed the growth Rocki and Slater experienced. Rocki learned that true friends are upset when they feel cut out not because they need the information but because they care about you as a person. Slater learned there was a lot more to family than he ever guessed even with Pop’s example. Learning Rocki’s past really explained a lot of her behavior and showed how she and Slater had similar issues trusting other people. Watching Rocki, Slater, and Nicki overcome their pasts, learn to trust and love each other, and learn what they would do for that love was very rewarding.
Had to be You provided a very satisfying ending to the three foster brothers. I enjoyed their stories and fell for the entire town not just the main characters. The central position held by the restaurant, the esteem everyone had for Pop, and his attempts to arrange everything just the way he wanted it. I loved the inclusion of Rocki’s family in the later part of the book and found myself really hoping a certain daredevil gets his own story. I also think I need to look at some of Kaye’s backlist while I wait and hope.
I give Had to be You a B