Forbidden Kisses
Annie Rains     

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Blushing Bay
Book: 1

The USA Today bestselling author of the Hero’s Welcome series introduces a trio of swoon-worthy North Carolina brothers fighting for love in this novel of sand, sea, and seduction.

For years, Jack Sawyer’s family has been running their upscale seafood business like a finely tuned machine. But every machine breaks down eventually, and suddenly Jack needs a new office manager, a new kayak launch, and a new lease on life. Then Grace Donner shows up again. She’s smart, motivated, and perfect for the manager position, but if she’s anything like her mom, she can’t be trusted. And Jack has never been able to trust himself around Grace.

Grace hasn’t seen her former stepbrothers since their parents’ messy divorce, but she never forgot them—especially Jack. She misses being part of the big rambunctious Sawyer clan, and if there’s an opportunity to set things right, she means to do it. But she can’t ignore Jack’s irresistibly kissable lips, or the searing way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not looking. Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

Grace Donner thought her life was perfect growing up in the Sawyer clan. Yes, she may be harboring a minor crush on her stepbrother Jack but where’s the harm in that? Fast forward fifteen years and Grace is really down on her luck. When a position opens up in the Sawyer family business, she is hard-pressed to say no...even after what went down between the families all those years ago.

Since losing his best friend in a boating accident a few months ago, Jack Sawyer has not been the same. Unable to find joy in the thing he loved the most, fishing, Jack has been drifting along through life... that is until Grace comes crashing back into his life.

Grace is juggling not having a job and being able to pay for her mom’s meds to working for a family that truly thinks her mom is the scum of the earth. There were so many points in this book that I felt truly sorry for Grace. It is the classic case of judging someone based on the sins of others.

Jack was so very frustrating in much of the second half of the book. Seriously? You've got quite the grudge going there, Mr. Sawyer. Now, Ms. Bennet did a nice job of giving the readers insight as to why Jack and the Sawyer clan were so angry for such a long time. Each side had their reasons but I was still irked for some of the book.

The chemistry between Jack and Grace was instant, but fifteen years of buildup will do that to a relationship. While it was expected that they would ultimately find love with each other, Ms. Bennett keeps the romance sweet and the sparks flying.

Jack looked at her again. “I’m excited about you, too. That feeling when we dragged the fish on board doesn’t even compare to how I feel every time you walk into the room.”

Grace’s breath caught in her chest. Oh, God, she wanted to kiss him right now. Wanted it nearly as much as she wanted her next breath.

Leaning in, Jack read her mind and kissed her.

Now how cute is that! I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in the novel, mainly the relationships that Grace developed with two local women, Krista and Abby. The women are all independent with struggles of their own but can still meet for bagels in the morning to discuss any juicy news. I was not as much a fan of Jack’s brothers because they were extremely grumpy for much of the book. However, I warmed to them enough that I think I would enjoy future books about them.

This is not one of those books that has many unexpected plot twists, so if that’s your cup of tea, I would steer away. It’s a quick read, perfect for a sunny day at the beach (or maybe even on a boat if you are like the Donner family).

~ Megan