Can't Help Falling
I loved the first full-length novel in Cara Bastone’s Forever Yours series, Just a Heartbeat Away, which featured a widowed single dad and a teacher. In that story, secondary characters Serafine St. Romain and Tyler Leshuski were introduced as friends of the heroine and hero respectively, and seemed to clash at every turn. So it’s only fitting that the next story in the series is theirs, a classic enemies-to-lovers story, though one with a rather unconventional heroine. While Can’t Help Falling didn’t make as much of an impression on me as the first in the series, it’s still an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Serafine is a psychic with the ability to read people and a firm belief in the healing powers of certain crystals and herbs. But she doesn’t need her powers to know that Tyler is a playboy who could break her heart. So she’s quick to turn down his advances. But as they spend time together due to their mutual friends, and Tyler’s unexpected guardianship of his younger sister, she has second thoughts. Perhaps Tyler isn’t quite the shallow guy she’d believed him to be. And if she was wrong about that, is it possible that he’s actually the perfect guy for her?
So, a heroine with psychic powers in a contemporary romance (versus a paranormal one) is a little out of my realm of believability, which is probably why this book didn’t resonate for me as well as the first did. But on the plus side, I really liked Serafine as a person despite these quirks, and while she comes off a bit snooty at first, she is willing to admit that her first impressions of Tyler were mistaken and sincerely offer her apologies as they move onto better footing.
Tyler is a more complicated character than he seems at first. Yes, he’s commitment shy and likes his women sexy, fun and uncomplicated (which Serafine definitely is not) but he’s been a steadfast friend to Sebastian through his struggles as a widowed parent and now he has his own challenge – becoming the guardian of his younger sister. Serafine bonds right away with Kylie – to Tyler’s chagrin – but they’ve both had difficult upbringings (and Tyler is much older than Kylie so didn’t grow up with her). Still, Serafine, who has intentions of becoming a foster parent herself, sees the effort Tyler makes with his sister and this goes a long way to softening her feelings for him. Plus he takes her crystals and herbs and psychic abilities in stride and isn’t rebuffed by them.
This is a slow burn story with some eventual sexy scenes for the couple as they move past wariness to friendship to romance. I really enjoy this author’s writing style and the real feeling to her characters. They show genuine growth over the course of the story, especially Tyler as he goes from bachelorhood to being the parent of a teenager. The emphasis on found family and friendships is evident. The happy ending is sweet and well worth it for this couple and I’m looking forward to reading whatever is next for this author. I would put Bastone with the likes of Jill Shalvis, Lucy Parker and Kate Clayborn, and say she’s definitely one to consider for your contemporary romance reading shelf.