Desert Isle Keeper
Let’s cut to the chase: Vi Keeland’s Beautiful Mistake is drop-dead sexy, breathtakingly romantic, intricately layered, jaw-droppingly unpredictable, and deliciously satisfying. It stands out in the vast and overwhelming sea of contemporary romance and will, undoubtedly, be on my Best of 2017 list. If I’ve adequately piqued your curiosity, do not waste another moment before starting Beautiful Mistake. If you need a little more convincing, allow me to expound.
Strangers Rachel Martin and Caine West collide when she tells him off for cheating on his wife with her best friend. She delivers quite the passionate and rousing set down but soon discovers her wrath was just unleashed on the wrong man. Caine’s not the suspected cheater – he’s just a devastatingly attractive man, who happens to be at the same bar as said cheater and wearing a similarly colored shirt. Oops. Rachel doesn’t stick around to acknowledge her mistake or apologize, believing she’ll never see him again.
Karma delivers a comedic punch when she shows up (late) to her music class at Brooklyn College to begin her new position as a teaching assistant, and she meets her new boss – Professor Caine West. While they begin their new relationship on an awkward footing, Caine’s not offended or angry over her mistake but rather finds the situation amusing and admires her spirit. But he is concerned about her problem with punctuality. He’s known around campus as a bit of a hard ass and not the most friendly, touchy-feely person.
Rachel is, of course, mortified by her mistake, and she’s extremely attracted to Caine. She realizes she’s in for a long and complicated fifteen weeks working underneath him, especially because she finds herself really wanting to be underneath him. Caine acts professionally and he’s a bit of a closed book, but it becomes obvious he’s attracted to Rachel. He’s drawn to her hilarious and bitingly sarcastic wit – playfully calling her “wiseass” – and he’s captivated when she begins to reveal a softer, intuitive and more vulnerable side. They both share a passion for music, and their exploration of this mutual love creates a poignant bond between them and also provides a means to get to know each other on a very personal level.
The chemistry between Rachel and Caine simmers, and Keeland masterfully turns up the heat slowly, purposefully building the sexual and emotional connection that draws the reader into their burgeoning relationship and invests us in its outcome. Both Rachel and, especially, Caine fight their mutual attraction and attempt to keep their guards up for the obvious reason that any relationship between them would be frowned upon by the university. But they also both have less obvious and more complicated reasons for their reluctance to drop their defenses, open up, and give into the magnetic pull between them.
Keeland breathes life into Caine and Rachel’s characters through insightful flashbacks and well-placed hints into both their pasts and their current psyches, and this gives them dimension and makes them relatable. Each interaction, moment, and exchange are carefully constructed pieces of a complicated puzzle that slowly creates a picture and tells a story that is mesmerizing, brilliant and unexpected. I could not put this book down waiting for each twist, turn and revelation.
While Beautiful Mistake is exactly what you might assume – a fun, sexy, entertaining, and heartfelt romance – it is also a beautiful, complex and layered story that is truly original. This book has it all, and I look forward to re-reading and taking the journey again. If I ever do find myself on a deserted island with only books as my companions, I believe I will be just fine if I am surrounded by books like this one.