Friday, February 20, 2015

Review + Excerpt: Meet Me at the Beach

Meet Me at the Beach Seashell Bay # 1
By: V.K. Sykes
Releasing February 24th, 2015
Grand Central / Forever



When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he’s more handsome than ever. If Aiden’s in town, the rumors must be true about his family’s plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.

Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.

Lily wagged a finger at him as she backed away. “Throw one ball and you die,” she threatened. 
When Aiden made a sad face, she couldn’t help laughing. 
At the dunk tank, Jessie Jameson—the duty volunteer— helped her up the short flight of steps at the back, and Lily swung her body onto the white, vinyl-covered plank, gingerly taking her seat. Her toes barely touched the water, still cold despite the heat of the sun pounding down on it. Mesh in front and on the sides of the enclosure protected her from any badly aimed throws. 
There were never any problems getting volunteers for the tank. At least a couple of dozen people every year signed up to take a turn getting soaked—some kids, more than a few men, but mostly the young women of the island. Yes, it was sexist, but it was all good fun too, and the women hooted as loudly at the guys as the men did at them. 
The crowd around her was made up of mostly young guys in their twenties and thirties, along with a handful of small boys. Morgan had disappeared, no doubt to change back into the yellow sundress she’d worn earlier. Aiden stood alone, staring at Lily intently. She wagged her finger at him in warning again, even though she smiled. 
“My turn,” Dylan O’Hanlon said as he picked up one the yellow balls off the grass. 
From about fifteen feet away, Mike O’Hanlon’s seven year-old son threw the ball hard at the yellow backstop, aiming for the small, round target in the middle—a mechanism that would release the seat and dump her into the water. Lily sucked in a deep breath, ready to be dunked, but Dylan’s throw missed by a couple of feet and bounced back off the plastic tarp surrounding the target. 
Aiden flashed Lily an evil grin and stepped forward. “That was a good try, kid, but I could help you with some tips if you like.” 
Lily rolled her eyes. She had to give Aiden credit. Maybe he wouldn’t try to dunk her himself, but he had no scruples helping a kid do it. 
“Uh, okay, mister,” Dylan said tentatively. “I guess.” He handed Aiden the ball. 
“That’s Aiden Flynn, dummy,” his older brother, Rory, hissed loudly, giving him a punch on the arm. “He plays for the Phillies.” 
The kids might have missed Aiden’s little flinch, but Lily didn’t. 
Forcing a smile, Aiden tossed the yellow ball between his hands like a juggler. “What’s your name?” 
“Dylan O’Hanlon.” 
“Your dad runs the boatyard?” 
Dylan nodded. 
“I know him.” Aiden wrapped an arm around the boy’s shoulder. “Okay, Dylan, it’s important to lock your eyes on the spot you want to hit and keep them there until the ball has left your hand. But let’s start by lining up your left shoulder with the target.” 
Aiden gently rotated Dylan into the correct position. 
“Now, watch me, okay?” 
He took up the same position, standing right beside Dylan. As he reared back, Lily flinched, wondering if he was going to throw the ball after all. Aiden took a forward stride and followed through with his arm but didn’t release the ball. 

“See, Dylan?” he said, handing it back to the boy. “You lead with your elbow, and you make sure you’re throwing over the top, not sidearm or anything like that. You were kind of slinging it just now.” 
Dylan looked up at Aiden. “Will you help me more if I miss again? I really want to dunk Lily.” 
Aiden patted his back. “Sure, but don’t worry. You’re going to nail it this time.” 
Lily watched their easy interaction with both amusement and fascination. Aiden was good with kids, but then again, that shouldn’t have surprised her. He’d been great with Bram growing up and had always gotten along with kids in the lower grades too. Unlike some of the jerks she’d gone to school with, Aiden had never teased the little ones and had always been happy to toss a ball with them. 
Dylan squeezed the ball hard and squinted at the target, tight-lipped. 
“Relax, buddy,” Aiden said. “Don’t strangle the ball.” 
Dylan nodded, easing his grip. The boy sucked in a deep breath, wound up like Aiden had instructed, and let fly. The ball thudded into the target, and with a shriek, Lily slid off the seat and splashed into the water as the crowd let out a loud cheer. 
She’d pinched her eyes closed as she submerged but opened them again after her head dipped below the surface. A bunch of kids were rushing to stare at her through the clear plastic window in the front of the tank. Aiden, naturally, was right behind them. 
Lily got her feet under her and thrust up out of the water. 
“Thanks, Mr. Flynn,” Dylan enthused. “That was awesome!” 
“No problem, kid,” Aiden said in a smug voice. 
Lily laughed as she swiped water from her face. She scrambled out of the tank and waited until Jessie reset the seat. Aiden moved quickly to her side as she dripped water all over the already soaking grass. 
“Way to rock the wet T-shirt, babe,” he said in a low voice, dramatically patting his chest as if his heart was thudding. Then he gently brushed back her wet hair and let his fingers drift down over her throat, coming to rest on her banging pulse. She shivered, and it wasn’t from the dunking. 
“I gotta say you just made my week—maybe the whole damn month,” Aiden said. His gaze slid downward as his mouth curled up in a sexy, openly appreciative grin. 
Instinctively, Lily crossed her arms over her chest as her nipples responded enthusiastically to his hot gaze. Now she knew for sure that she was in way more trouble than she’d thought. 

Review Rating: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS

Review: Okay, okay. I know, it's winter (At least, probably where you are. Here in Phoenix it's warm and not winter like) So you're wondering why am I reviewing a beach read?

Well first off, I signed up for it months ago. How was I to know this arctic blast was coming?

Meet Me at the Beach is more than a simple feel good beach read. It's a romance with a second chance feel. Aiden returns to his hometown after being gone for so long and he doesn't expect anything out of this visit other than to take care of some business. Lily is a strong willed, opinionated person but she's a great character.  The sparks fly between the old friends. They had feelings for the other before, but nothing ever came from them. Until now.

This is a well written story with great characters,  fun dialog and an all around great read. Looking forward to more in this series! 

Author Info  
V.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance and also romantic suspense. Randy excels at plot and characterization, but tends to fall down on the job when it comes to that pesky old thing called emotion. That’s where Vanessa steps in. She usually writes the sex scenes too, since Randy is a bit uncomfortable when it comes to that sort of stuff. Vanessa also writes award-winning Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra under her own name. You can check out Vanessa’s bestselling historical romances at

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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