The Bikini Car Wash
Andi Wokowicz is a desperate woman. She gave up a successful career to move back to Plainview, TX in order to help her dad with her developmentally disabled sister. She needs a job – preferably a good one – if she ever wants to rent her own place and be an asset rather than burden to her father. There is no way her dad’s plans for retirement included supporting his successful, accomplished business woman daughter!
But in spite of her stellar education and outstanding credentials, local employers just aren’t interested. Her only work option seems to be to open her dad’s old hand car wash business. It’s got a great location – a corner on a busy street with Guthrie’s Grocery Store right next door. But who wants to pay to have their car hand washed when automated is so much cheaper? Solution: add a dash of splash to the old rag, water and hose routine by getting bikini clad women to scrub those cars.
Pete Guthrie isn’t surprised to learn his father pulled some nasty tricks to keep Walt Wakowicz from doing something different with the old car wash building. But he is surprised by how Walt’s math geek of a daughter finds a way to make it work – and how great she looks in a skimpy red bikini. He sure would like Andi to put a shine on something besides his car! It’s amazing to think that the subject of his gang’s high school teasing is now the object of his adult mind’s fantasies. And it isn’t just the scanty suit that is turning him head over heels. The combination of savvy business mind and sassy personality that go with it have turned him inside out too. So when Pete’s father goes on the warpath against the bikini clad woman of his dreams, he has no problem choosing sides. As far as he is concerned, the only business he wants next door to Guthrie’s involves soap, sponges and lots of leg showing.
This is a really fun summer read that makes you want to go out and soap down your own vehicle. I adored former high school hero Pete who has grown up to be a really decent, solid kind of guy. He wasn’t overly romantic or fun, but he was real and nice and supportive and just about everything you could want in a romance lead. Andi was a terrific heroine for him; practical, brainy and family oriented, she was exactly what he had been waiting for all his life.
Jelly, Andi’s developmentally disabled sister, is a delight with her love of Law & Order and her ability to cut through to the truth of every situation. I liked that Ms. Morsi didn’t make raising a developmentally disabled child look easy but showed some of the sticky spots and brought in another character to show us how it can be even more sticky. And while Jelly provides insights she is not there as an oracle or catalyst to the whole tale. Too often I see a secondary character – an elderly grandma or autistic child – providing the big reveal that enables the h/h to reach their HEA. I’m so glad that wasn’t done here. Andi and Pete find their own way and come up with their own solutions.
Tiff and Cher-L, Andi’s two employees, are enjoyable secondary characters. With Andi being so smart and capable, we needed a character to show some growth and Cher-L was great for that. I was pleased to watch her change from complete flake to sexy, accomplished woman. Tiff, a young mother down on her luck in love and money shows just what happens when you are willing to take some chances. I liked her a lot and enjoyed seeing her own romance blossom.
Morsi does a really great job of capturing small town life and not romanticizing it. She shows how even native daughters like Andi can have a tough time fitting in small town culture. She captures the difficulty of doing business when a handful of people run an entire place – and fear anyone who isn’t a part of their set. She shows how hard hit these communities are during recessions. But she captures the warmth and basic good nature of the community too. I especially loved a scene where Pete let a young mom take groceries home on credit. Big box chains just don’t have the luxury of doing that and it was a nice home town touch that I have seen in my own community.
I was also thrilled that being in a small town didn’t mean Andi threw away all plans for success and embraced the simple life, longing to stay home with her kids and bake cookies. True to character, she remained a savvy, career oriented gal throughout.
My problem with the book lay in the romance that Andi’s dad was involved in. I felt, pretty strongly, that it interrupted rather than added to the story. It was frustrating to be moving right along and suddenly find yourself reading about something else entirely. It didn’t help that I just wasn’t that interested in his story. It kept an otherwise awesome book from being an A. Similarly, Pete’s secretary added a glitch. She was not at all likable, and I just couldn’t sympathize with her. She cast a shadow on every scene she was in.
Quibbles aside, Morsi still delivers a good book. Definitely add this gem to your summer beach bag. It makes perfect lounge chair reading.
I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.