I loved it from start to finish – this was a sweet and swoony treat, featuring an adorable grump of a hero and playful, lighthearted vibes. I’ve been meaning to check out both of these authors individually, so I jumped at the chance to read their first team-up, and it was more than I could’ve hoped for. The story balances humor and heart, tackling heavier subjects such as the loss of a loved one and dysfunctional family dynamics, while also bringing plenty of laughs, banter, and a low angst feel. I LOVED this couple together, particularly the way the sunshine heroine brought out the grumpy hero’s gooey cinnamon roll center. And for a book that doesn’t have any steam, this was pretty sexy, with so many sexual tension-filled moments – heated glances, scorching kisses, and a great growth in intimacy. The forbidden/age gap dynamic also gave this a definite slow burn feel. I’m excited to read more from the series, because this was an EASY 5-star rating for me.
The story follows Eloise (21) a woman who thought that the days following her college graduation would go very differently. Her plans to go to grad school fell through, her grandmother just passed away, and her family feels more distant than ever. So when Eloise heads to her grandmother’s hometown for the funeral – the beautiful, small island community where Eloise spent some of her summers – she’s feeling out of sorts. And after a few drinks at the local bar leave her decidedly tipsy, a handsome stranger comes to Eloise’s rescue. Unfortunately, Jake (32) also happens to be her grandmother’s lawyer, and he’s got some information that will further alter Eloise’s plans. But spending time in the welcoming community is not a hardship, and it’s not long before Eloise is seeing a softer side to the stern and serious Jake.
I’ll admit to being a little nervous about this particular age gap, but it really worked out well – Eloise is at a turning point in her life, and Jake is just old enough to see things from a different perspective. It certainly adds plenty of friction to their ever-evolving relationship, and is perhaps the only angsty element to the story. The overall tone is light, fun, and just the right kind of quirky. I loved the small town feel, the chemistry between Eloise and Jake, and pretty much every character we encounter along the way, lol. I’m definitely interested in reading more about the sisters, and this writing duo has set up future love stories in a way that has me itching to get my hands on those books – which is exactly what I hope for every time I read a new-to-me author. This was an all-around win, and I didn’t even miss the spice (mostly), because they did such a great job of bringing the sexual tension as well as the swoon. The focus on the emotional connection was awesome, and I really loved Jake (even when he drove me crazy). I loved the whole thing, let’s be honest here.
I’m not sure which is worse–the lawyer handling my grandmother’s estate or the attack pelican living on the screened-in porch. Just kidding–I’ll take the pelican any day.
After graduation, I thought I’d be off to grad school, doing research on my favorite poet. Instead, I’m renovating my late grandmother’s home and posting about the process on Instagram. Talk about a detour …
But here I am. Turning Gran’s beach house into a bed and breakfast–a process that would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to deal with the grumpy lawyer living next door. It doesn’t help that the night Jake and I met, I got a little tipsy, and he had to carry me back to my hotel.
But the longer I stay on Oakley Island, the more I feel a connection to my childhood and to my grandmother. This isn’t the life I dreamed of, but dreams can change. Especially when new dreams include a future with Jake. On the outside, he might be pricklier than a puffer fish, but I catch glimpses of a delicious, cinnamon roll center.
Did I mention the tattoos he hides underneath those crisp button-down shirts? Yowza.
When I’m suddenly presented with the academic opportunity of my dreams (former dreams?), my picturesque life on Oakley starts to unravel.
A part of me wants to stay. If only a certain tattooed grump didn’t seem so determined to send me away …
Eloise and The Grump Next Door is a grumpy sunshine, closed door romantic comedy. The Oakley Island Romcom series follows three very different sisters as they renovate the house they inherited and find love on the island along the way. Each book will have sizzling chemistry but no spice.
About the Authors:
Emma St. Clair is a USA Today Bestselling Author who loves sassy heroines, witty banter, and love stories with heart and humor. She lives in Katy, Texas with her hubby, five children, and Great Dane. Her favorite place to write is tapping on her phone while on the elliptical machine. No Emmas have been hurt in the writing of these novels. (Yet.) Follow me on insta: https://instagram.com/kikimojo. Join the Facebook reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/emmastclair/
Jenny Proctor was born in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a place she still considers one of the loveliest on earth. She and her husband currently reside in the Charleston, SC area and stay busy keeping up with six children and a growing assortment of pets. She loves to hike with her family and spend time outdoors, but she also adores lounging around her home, reading great books or watching great movies and, when she’s lucky, eating delicious food she doesn’t have to prepare herself. Jenny’s romantic comedy LOVE AT FIRST NOTE was a 2016 Whitney Award Winner in the Contemporary Romance category. To learn more about Jenny, visit her webpage at www.jennyproctor.com.
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