Desert Isle Keeper
I don’t read many category romances—I like longer stories. Sarah Mayberry’s, however, are the outstanding exception to that rule. I’ve read twenty of her novels. Suddenly You is my favorite. It’s funny, sexy, feminist, and wonderfully real.
Harry is a nice guy who likes to take it all easy. He’s got a cool car, a decent job, good mates, and answers to no one but himself. And he likes it that way… until one night he sees his best friend’s ex-girlfriend Pippa stranded on the side of the road with her broken down car.
Pippa doesn’t think much of Harry—he’s a pal of Steve’s, her loser ex. Steve and Pippa broke up when Pippa got pregnant and Steve insisted she get an abortion. Since then, Steve has been nothing but awful to Pippa and baby Alice. His refusal to support his child has meant Pippa and Alice teeter on the edge of poverty. She lets Harry give her a ride home and sends him on his way.
Harry drives by Pippa’s broken-down car for several days and can’t figure out why she hasn’t had it towed. Finally, he stops by her ramshackle house and asks her. She tells him she doesn’t have the money—Steve won’t give her child support and she’s just barely paying her bills.
Harry decides to fix Pippa’s car himself, even as he’s not sure why he’s doing so. He also tries to get Steve to support Alice and is upset when Steve says no. As far as Steve’s concerned, once Pippa decided to have Alice, the baby became Pippa’s sole responsibility. Harry finds himself seeking out Pippa, fixing up her house—she makes him dinner as payment–and slowly the two become more than just friends.
Everything about this book works. Baby Alice isn’t a prop—she’s as difficult and as adorable as any normal baby and that’s just enough to make Pippa’s life as a single mom tough. Harry’s a gem and, even as he falls for Pippa, he doesn’t give up on Steve. The secondary characters, especially Harry’s parents, are winning and intrinsic to the story. The prose is hilarious—the wood filler scene alone is worth the price of the book. And the sex scenes are steamy and sweet.
Perhaps best of all is that Mayberry’s characters exist in the same world as the rest of us. They worry about money and are grounded in the lives they live. By the time Pippa and Harry find, slowly, their way to true love—the kind that changes everything—we believe they’ll grow old together, laughing, loving, and living. Their HEA resonates.
If you’ve not read Mayberry, I recommend this as a stellar place to start. Suddenly You is lovely.