Just in Time (2013)
Do you hate small town romances where everyone knows everyone else and wants the hero and heroine to get together and gives them advice at every turn? Then avoid Just in Time like the plague. The small-town familiarity didn’t bother me too much, but I have other problems that keep me from recommending this third entry in the author’s Alaskan Nights series. I haven’t read any others in the series and at times all the characters were overwhelming. I was particularly disappointed in how frequently the action switched to assorted townspeople; many not even former heroes or heroines. With too little focus on the actual hero and heroine, I can’t recommend this.
The story is set in Indigo, Alaska – population about 750. Not only does everyone in Indigo know everyone else’s name, they know everything about them.
As the book opens, our heroine Avery Marks is helping with the wedding of one of her best friends (and the heroine of Baby, It’s Cold Outside). Avery recently returned to Indigo from an extended stay in Ireland where she learned more about the hospitality industry. Avery’s now back working and living in the town’s hotel. While Avery’s excited about her friend’s wedding, she’s nervous to encounter one of the guests – Roman Forsyth – the guy she’s been in love with since she was about 5 years old.
One quick dance at the reception and it’s clear the chemistry is still there for Roman and Avery. While she still loves Roman, Avery doesn’t want to go down that path again. Roman left Indigo nearly 14 years earlier for a career in the NHL, and broke Avery’s heart at the same time. But of course, living in a small town, the two run into each other frequently. And being a romance small town, all the other town residents want the two to get back together.
Roman’s back in Indigo for an extended stay, trying to figure out what to do with his life. He’s keeping secret from everyone in town the fact that he’s had a career-ending eye injury. Roman gets talked into doing a “hockey clinic” for some of the town’s adolescents over the summer, which turns into a bigger job than anticipated, including rehabilitating the dilapidated ice rink.
Roman isn’t the only man in Avery’s life. The hotel’s young bartender – who she babysat as a child – is eager to go out with her. And then there’s the charming Irishman she met while in Ireland. But she can’t work up an interest in either of them (despite getting daily calls from the handsome Irishman.)
I liked both Roman and Avery, and found their stories interesting. However, I felt there was far too much focus on the assorted townspeople and too little on Avery and Roman. Far too often I found myself wanting the side stories and visits with secondary characters to end, and have the action get back to Roman and Avery.
If you like the two previous books in the series you may like this more than me, particularly the aspects of re-visiting familiar characters. As it stands, I cannot recommend this one.