Release Date: Jun 18, 2020
Series: There’s Something About Marysburg
Heat Level: Hot
Publisher: Hussies and Harpies Press
40-Love is the second novel in Olivia Dade’s There’s Something About Marysburg series. Tess Dunn is on a much needed vacation before the school year starts. When a rogue wave leaves her stranded without a bathing suit top, Lucas Karlsson swoops in to save the day. Lucas turns out to be not only her nudity savior, but the tennis pro at the resort she’s staying at. When their tennis lessons turn into more will Tessa and Lucas manage to overcome their obstacles and find true love?
I have enjoyed many books by Olivia Dade, but none so much as this latest book. Dade always writes stories with strong characters, engaging plots, and a lot of heart. In this book she continues her wonderful track record with a funny and sexy age-gap romantic comedy. Our heroine, Tess is over forty, smart, determined, and curvy. Lucas is 26 charming, friendly, sexy, and a former pro tennis player. This setup could have come off as a fairly fluffy rom-com, however the internal and external struggle between these two as they navigate their relationship is some of the best writing I’ve read to date in 2020. All too often romance is only given to curvy heroines after they lose weight, but in this book Tess is comfortable with herself and Lucas loves her just as she is.
I appreciated that Dade managed to write the sports talk in such a way that was engaging even for a non-sports fan. The lessons between Tess and Lucas become a way for them to flirt and get to know each other and the banter was extremely sexy. The tension between these two was so well crafted that even though they spend a small amount of time together the feelings are completely believable. And once these two land in bed, holy cow, it’s on fire!
My only minor quibble with this book was that Tessa was so laser focused on her goal of becoming the next principal at school that it took up a decent amount of page time. I love my characters to be competent at their job and both Tess and Lucas are more than competent, but I am also a glutton for page time with the main couple. In general, I don’t like anything that takes me away from the story of the couple falling in love. However, I understood why this was included because it was such a big part of Tess’s life, and Lucas was very supportive of her work which was endearing.
Overall I’m giving this book 5 stars because I cannot imagine how you could write this story any better. I sped through reading this book because I loved it so much and already want to go back and re-read it just to spend more time with Lucas and Tess. I’m hoping that we get more books out of this series, especially for Tess’s friend Belle who had to exit this story in a way that was truly sad and relatable. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves smart and sexy reads in the vein of Penny Ried or Lucy Parker. I cannot wait to see what else Dade has in store for this series.