Good morning and Happy Thursday, everyone! Today I'm happy to be hosting a stop on the Goddess Fish book tour of RETURN TO AUDUBON SPRINGS by RoseAnn DeFranco. I really enjoyed this story (which I've reviewed below). Don't forget to scroll all the way down to take part in the author's giveaway! RoseAnn will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
When Emma Grant returns to her family's Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father's will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She's never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.
Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma's life years ago, but he's determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.
Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she's kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?
“It’s good to see you too, Emma.” Rafe smiled. A flash of dimples tugged on her memory and heart. “Is falling into men’s flower beds a habit or should I feel special?”
“As it happens, I don’t see this as your flower bed, but rather my own.” Covered in dirt, Emma feasted her eyes on Rafe. She didn’t try to stand. Instead she pushed her hands further into the sticky mulch, needing something to hold on to, momentarily thankful to be on solid ground. She licked her lips. He looked good.
“Finally here to claim what’s yours?”
“Are you going to help me up or not?”
Rafe took a deep breath, and reached out a hand. When they touched, the same powerful jolt of electricity that used to exist between them ran up her arm and straight to her heart. He pulled harder than necessary and Emma slammed into his chest. She took a quick step back, needing space, and almost landed in the garden again. Rafe held on and steadied her.
“Whoa, easy. I don’t think the shrubs can take anymore.”
Her stomach twitched at the sound of his voice, so close it resonated in her ear and vibrated down her spine. His scent, masculine and fresh from-a-shower-clean, mesmerized her. He surrounded her even though he only stood in front of her, balancing her.
“Let go of me,” she whispered.
He complied by raising his hands, palms out, in the air as if they’d been burned. His heat lingered on her skin, and she ached with the loss of his touch. Emma went to work brushing the gritty mulch from her shaking hands.
“You always were a bit clumsy, huh, Ems?”
***Nona’s Review of Return to Audubon Springs by RoseAnn DeFranco***
This romance has a lot of humor as well as touching and heart-wrenching moments. It employs the well-worn secret baby trope, which is always a lot of fun. It’s also a tale of lovers reunited, but because of past hurts they’re fighting the attraction that never died.
Emma Grant and Rafe Iuliano were once very much in love, but their break-up was bitter. Three years later, they’re forced to meet again at the Jersey Shore to settle the details of her father’s will. When Emma’s father died, he left the Summer house in Audubon Springs to Emma and Rafe equally. This is not a cozy cabin or a bungalow. It’s a home worth millions.
Emma finds her attraction to Rafe hasn’t faded, though she tries her hardest to push the feelings aside. He’s grown even more handsome and dynamic during their separation. Still, she’s determined to drive him crazy and force him to surrender his half of the home. First she poses as a snooty macrobiotic queen who throws away all of Rafe’s food to “cleanse” the kitchen. Rafe retaliates by hosting a loud, rowdy, guys-only football watching party complete with beer and smelly cigars. Plenty of comic scenes ensue as the two butt heads and try to out-do each other with obnoxious tricks.
But aside from the comedy, there are serious themes. Emma has several secrets. Her three year old daughter Elana is also Rafe’s child, but he knows nothing of her. Emma’s also being blackmailed by her brother Daniel. If she doesn’t get Rafe to sign over his half of the house, Daniel will reveal Elana’s existence to him. As she spends time with Rafe, Emma realizes she never stopped loving him. She wants to tell him the truth about their daughter, but will he ever forgive her for her deception?
The book had me chuckling a number of times and also had me feeling sympathy for the struggles of Emma and Rafe. I was on the edge of my seat several times saying “Tell him, tell him already!” when Emma’s about to tell Rafe the truth about their daughter.
Emma grows during the story and finally stands up to her controlling family. She’s a wonderful mother and her daughter is the center of her life. As much as I liked Emma, I loved Rafe. He’s sexy, funny and smart. He writes poetry! And his big boisterous, loving Italian-American family added to the fun.
Return to Audubon Springs was a very satisfying romantic read. If you enjoy a story with humor, romance, family and a sexy hero, you’re sure to love this one.
Purchase Return to Audubon Springs here:
Purchase Return to Audubon Springs here:
RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing romance. RoseAnn blogs about her writing experiences with her critique partners at www.the violetfemmes.com. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family. She would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town Audubon Springs from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at www.radefranco.com.
Web links: www.radefranco
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Have a wonderful weekend, all!
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