book review

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

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Four and a half furiously fluttering fireflies in my stomach!

I wasn’t expecting to love this story so much, mainly because I find the cover image a bit cheesy. I can’t really stand the image of half-naked men with eight-pack abs, not because it’s not appealing (I’m human after all — I fan myself too), but because I feel like it takes away from the story and that, most of the time, I feel like it’s compensating for crappy stories. Yes, sex sells. That’s a given. But it can also have a good story. Authors need to pay more attention to the story, but I digress. Despite finding the cliche cover on this book though, I purchased it still because the description drew me in.

Goodreads description:

Welcome to The Buoys, a West Coast haven where love comes in with the tide. Perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, the Fishing for Trouble series features three unforgettable brothers—each of whom is a great catch.

Major league pitcher Liam O’Donnell knows his best days are probably behind him, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to retire and become a fishing guide. Still, after all the time he’s spent chasing his dreams, he owes it to his brothers to pull his weight around the lodge. The Buoys is their father’s legacy, and they can’t let some developer take it from them. The one snag Liam isn’t counting on is a blast from the past: his ex-wife.

The moment Kate Hadley steps out of the seaplane, she knows this assignment is going to be trickier than she thought. She has to persuade the owners to sell—and one of them is Liam O’Donnell. Ten years ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life when she married Liam during a fling in Vegas. Now he’s her only lifeline in the middle of nowhere. Kate’s trying to keep things cool, but Liam just reminds her of the scorching few nights they spent together—and tempts her to make new memories that are just as steamy as the old.

One of the things I really appreciated about this book is that it didn’t hype up the fame at all. Despite Liam being a major league pitcher, the story still paints him as a regular guy, struggling to get a contract while making sure his family gets to keep his father’s legacy. It’s great to read about a professional athlete who still has to work for his spot on the mound, and isn’t so caught up in the limelight.

On the other hand, you have Kate, the quintessential girl-next-door who doesn’t realize her own beauty and isn’t afraid of hard work. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and doesn’t let her past with Liam get in the way of getting her job done. At least, until she finds out the truth about the role her employer wants her to play in acquiring The Buoys.

With dual PoVs, we get a glimpse into the intricacies of these two characters, which is such a treat because of how well-developed they are. Their histories and their personalities are fleshed out so well that it makes their decisions and the unfolding of events in this story so real and believable.

Add to that a heaping helping of steam, and a boat-load of memorable moments (seriously, the syrupy sweet scene in the dinghy will stick to your guts), and this book leaves you swaying with cheeks hurting from smiling so much. It just feels good. Laura Drewry sure knows how to create great moments.

It’s stories like this that have me continuously sifting through books with covers of half-naked men or couples in steamy positions. Sometimes, you just find a gem hiding beneath the cliches.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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