Have you seen In the Heights? This gave me the same kind of vibes, minus the singing and dancing, but add in some steam – lol! We’ve got our sweet hometown guy, the girl with big dreams who finds herself back home, a strong sense of community/found family, and a focus on inclusivity. Our heroine is bisexual (an Own Voices element), and that was incorporated so well. It’s got a different tone than the other books I’ve read by Nolan, with a slower burn, softer feel, and more of a focus on family and community. Yeah, it was too slow sometimes. The beginning was definitely too slow for me, and I think the page count could’ve been reduced quite a bit. But I loved how unique it felt, and once the romance got going, it was pretty solid.
The story follows Dean, a former boxer who retired very young because of an injury. He’s not quite sure what to do with himself now that he’s not an athlete with a career on the rise, and he’s been hanging around his hometown feeling sorry for himself. When the girl he crushed on in high school returns home for a visit, those old feelings come rushing back. Tabitha is Dean’s total opposite, a wild, carefree woman who wants to travel the world and do big things. She’s a free spirit who only does flings, and Tabitha thinks Dean would make the perfect temporary adventure. But Dean is a sweet, shy guy who knows he’s got too many feelings wrapped up in Tabitha to cross that line for a fling. As the two reconnect and spend time together, one of them has to change their ways.
Community is a major element of this book, and that took me by surprise. There are definitely some subplots that revolve around the neighborhood, and Nolan paints such a vivid picture. It felt real and authentic, though the community focus does keep the pace a little more laidback and less centered on the romance than I typically like. That’s just personal preference, but this takes awhile to really get going. I loved the characters though, especially Dean. He is a sweetheart, and I loved all of the contrasts of his character – a man who made a living with his fists, who is kind, shy, and nervous around the girl he likes. The friends to lovers element was great, and while “fling to more” romances aren’t a personal favorite of mine, it worked with the story. This is a light, steamy, and laidback read that’s a great mix of sweet and sexy.
Summer in the city heats up when the girl who got away moves in next door.
Dean “The Machine” is a South Philly legend. Much to the dismay of fans who still hound him, the broody former fighter walked away from his boxing career right before clinching another championship belt. Tight-lipped on his reasons for retiring, he’s busy trying to figure out his future when the past literally falls in his lap.
Tabitha Tyler, the fiery redhead who captured his teenage heart, is back in town and staying next door. Only now the girl that got away is all grown up and offering him a strings-free, summer fling. Dean knows better than to start something that will leave him flat on his back and seeing stars.
But there’s only so much temptation a man can take.
Kept away by the secrets that tore her family apart, sparkly filmmaker Tabitha is home for the first time in nine years. And her old friend and new hunky neighbor is just the distraction she needs. It’s the perfect relationship for her – one with an expiration date.
She’s got two weeks to convince him to cave.
He’s got two weeks to convince her to stay.
But when she refuses to let down her guard, Dean realizes that this time…he just might get knocked out for good.
Author’s note: A smokin’ hot, friends-to-lovers, opposites-attract love story in a close-knit South Philly neighborhood with a quirky cast of nosy but well-intentioned neighbors.
About the Author:
Kathryn Nolan is an adventurous hippie chick and loves to write steamy romance. Her books are filled with slow-burn sexual tension, memorable characters, tons of heart — and are often set in wild and beautiful locations.
Kathryn started her writing career in elementary school, writing about Star Wars and Harry Potter and inventing love stories in her many journals. She blames her obsession with slow-burn on her similar obsession for The X-Files.
Kathryn is a wanderer at heart, and loves to spend her free time hiking, camping, and traveling in her camper van (“Van Morrison”) with her cute, nerdy husband and Walter, their rescue pup. Kathryn is a Philly girl who just moved back home after spending more than 8 years living in Northern California — and six months traveling across the country in her camper van.
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