What it’s about:
Nothing’s sweeter than a chance at true love…
Larkin O’Neill refuses to let anything stand in her way. Despite a troubled upbringing, she’s created the life she always wanted, surrounding herself with close friends and opening the bakery of her dreams. But the free-spirited baker is blindsided when she falls hard for the local bad boy. She knows that she should stay away, but the sizzling attraction between them is just too tempting…
Shane’s love ’em and leave ’em ways have left him a persona non grata in Harvest Cove. But when Larkin bursts into his life, the handsome lawyer can’t think of anywhere he’d rather be than by her side. She’s the first person in a long time who believes there could be more to him than meets the eye. Now he’s determined to prove to Larkin that he’s worth taking a chance on—and prove to himself that he’s the kind of man she deserves.
Come on Closer by Kendra Leigh Castle is the fourth book in her Harvest Cove series. I have not read the previous books in the series, but I had no problem jumping into the story; in fact, it read like a standalone novel.
Larkin O’Neill owns the Petite Treats Bakery; she comes from a dysfunctional family. She has doggedly done whatever it took to get an education, start a business, and take care of herself. To do this, she has severed all ties with her family. Despite the fact that she was not supported or nurtured in her youth, Larkin is a caring, warm person.
“Feeding people makes me happy.” –Larkin
Shane Sullivan comes from old money. His family has high standards and high expectations. His dad is the stereotype of the entitled rich, and Shane desperately eschews everything his father embraces with one exception. Shane has reluctantly joined the family’s law firm. To add to his baggage, Shane’s reputation as a lothario means the local women refuse to see him as anything but bad-boy eye candy.
“Everybody tends to think the worst about me and relationships. Why should you be any different.” –Shane
Gina Valeri, one-time cafeteria lady, is known in town as “The Cake Lady” now that she is has the most successful cake decorating shop in Harvest Cove. Being a single mom was a struggle, and the hardship showed in her gruff mannerisms when she was working multiple jobs to keep food on the table. While everyone presumes that Gina and Larkin would be business rivals, they actually have a kind, supportive relationship. The two are neighbors, and Gina has become a surrogate mom and good friend to Larkin.
The remaining secondary characters are charming. Shane’s friends provide are a varied set of artists, authors, and thespians who goad him to follow his dreams instead of following in his father’s footsteps.
I really enjoyed this well-paced, relatively chaste contemporary romance. The dialogue between the main characters is fun and flirty, and the two have a believable chemistry. No instant love here; Shane and Larkin are friends, and given Larkin’s track record with men, she is inclined to keep it that way.
“ Outwardly, she was completely casual. Inside she, was the puddle of goo she always became when he started teasing her…” –Larkin
I loved that Larkin and Shane started as friends, and that Shane chivalrously pursues Larkin (despite the womanizing in his youth, he really is a sweet guy who now has his head on straight).
“Sometimes the wrong guy turns out to be the right one.” –Gina
With friendship as the foundation of their relationship, Shane and Larkin approach a romantic relationship slowly. Larkin presumes they have absolutely nothing in common given the dichotomy of their upbringing and socio-economic standing in the Harvest Cove community. They get to know one another, and with that, they support each other through family problems and life choices.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are a few conflicts for the main characters to overcome, but no major drama. This book has a sweet plot, strong main characters, interesting secondary characters, and an uplifting, hopeful tone. The only way to improve this book would be to include the Petite Treat Bakery recipes! Come On Closer by Kendra Leigh Castle was a treat to read—just as sweet of a romance as Larkin’s brownies and cupcakes.
Thanks to The Book Nuts and Berkley Publishing Group for the review copy.
Other books in the series:
About the author: Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of numerous paranormal romances, including the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy, the RITA award-nominated Renegade Angel, the Dark Dynasties series, and the Hearts of the Fallen series. 2014 will see the release of her first contemporary romance, For the Longest Time, which will be the first in her Harvest Cove series. Kendra lives in Maryland with her husband, children, two Newfs, and one obnoxious cat.