More Than She Expected
By Karen Templeton
March 18, 2014
Laurel Kent never planned on being pregnant and single, but she’s fathoms deep in love with her unborn child and reasonably confident that, with a little help from the grandmother who reared her, she can care for her baby. She bought a house before she knew of her pregnancy, and her work as a writer allows her to work from home. That’s a plus for a single mother, but it also means that Laurel lives a rather isolated life. Perhaps that’s why she loses her heart to the friendly mutt next door who pays her visits and seeks sanctuary from a storm in her arms, but as appealing as the mutt and his hot, younger owner are, the owner is clearly marked “Proceed with Caution.” And his penchant for giggly, young blondes makes clear Laurel is not his type. Still, a woman can enjoy the scenery without putting her heart in jeopardy—or can she?
Tyler Noble is just being a good neighbor when he persuades Laurel Kent to let him rebuild the wall between their properties. He has the necessary skills, it’s the best way to keep his dog in his yard, and it’s no big deal. But soon he spending way too much time with Laurel, thinking about her far too often, and settling into a relationship he’s just not ready for. Tyler is not ready to make a commitment to someone else until he figures out who he is. And with his history of an unknown father, a mother who surrendered her parental rights when Tyler was ten, and an adopted family who loved him but never managed to convince Tyler he really belonged, he still has a lot of baggage to work through. But if he isn’t careful, he may lose his best chance for the life he really wants.
Karen Templeton has done it again. She has given readers a story high in believability with characters who have a high likeability quotient and layers of internal conflict, a story that quietly seduces the reader into a full engagement with these characters that lasts until the last obstacle to the HEA is removed and a blissful conclusion leaves her happily sighing. I loved the interaction between Laurel and Tyler, and I loved all the family dynamic. From the new born to the retirement home resident, I found the characters interesting and endearing.
Templeton’s stories are not filled with high adventure, kickass protagonists, or smoking hot love scenes. But if you like your contemporary romance filled with characters you care about involved in situations in which your friends and neighbors might find themselves, nobody crafts this kind of story better than Karen Templeton. I’ve been a fan for years, and More Than She Expected is just another reminder of why I never miss a Templeton book. This is the second in her Jersey Boys series, and I recommend both books.
Some romance readers can be real snobs about category romance, but that attitude prevents them from discovering some of the consistently best writers in the genre. Do you read category romance? Who are your favorite category authors?