Desert Isle Keeper
Hot Island Nights
I know they’ve become cliched, but I still love Good Girl Meets Bad Boy romances. (I really love Bad Girl Meets Good Boy romances, but those are quite rare.) As you’d expect, most are average and forgettable. But on those occasions when I read a really good one – like Hot Island Nights – it’s oh so fulfilling.
After being orphaned as a young child, Elizabeth Mason was raised by her loving, but very conservative, grandparents. She’s spent her entire life wanting to both please them and not be a burden to them, so she has always given in and agreed to do whatever it is they think is best for her. She’s the very epitome of a proper lady. Until the day she discovers both her grandparents and her fiance have been lying to her: The man she’d always believed was her father was actually her step-father, and her biological father is still alive somewhere. Feeling betrayed by her loved ones, and thoroughly sick and tired of being a passive good girl, Elizabeth dumps her fiance and goes on a mission to both discover herself and track down her father. When she learns that his last known address is on a little island off the coast of Australia, Elizabeth doesn’t hesitate to jump on a plane.
Nathan Jones has spent the last four months in and out of a drunken stupor -mostly in – desperately trying to drown his personal demons. When he’s not sleeping off his hangover, he’s either surfing or looking for a good time. When Elizabeth Mason shows up on his doorstep searching for her father, whose property he’s sharing, Nate is intrigued by the occasional glimpses of hot sexuality beneath Elizabeth’s oh-so-proper exterior. But when their no-strings affair starts to feel more like a relationship than a fling, Nate is forced to face those demons he’s been running from – and that’s the last thing he wants to do.
One of the things I love about Sarah Mayberry’s books is that her characters are drawn in shades of gray. They are neither perfectly good, nor are they purely bad. Take Nate for example: He is, without question, an alcoholic, but he’s also not completely flawed. Sometimes he’s selfish or self-destructive, but at other times he’s compassionate and loving. Mayberry also could have gone the route that too many novelists take and made the secondary characters of Elizabeth’s grandparents, father, and ex-fiance either all good or all bad, but thank goodness she didn’t. They too have their good points and their flaws, which adds nice depth to the story.
Hot Island Nights is one of those books that I just didn’t want to put down. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t think I did put it down once. From the beginning of Elizabeth’s internal struggle, to the scorching chemistry, to the emotional climax, I was well and thoroughly hooked. Elizabeth and Nate met each other while struggling with personal issues, and I loved watching how Nate helped Elizabeth discover herself, and how Elizabeth helped Nate heal. Their story has ups and downs and complications, but that made the happy ending that much sweeter.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, Hot Island Nights isn’t a fairy-tale-birds-singing-oh-happy-day romance. It’s complicated and emotional, heartwrenching and hopeful, but ultimately very satisfying.