Thursday, May 1, 2014

Home to Stay

Home to Stay
By Terri Osburn
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: May 1, 2014

Willow Parsons thought Anchor Island would be just another out-of-the-way spot that would offer a temporary refuge in her journey to outrun her past. She never expected it to feel like home. But with the Dempseys treating her more like family than like just the assistant manager of their bar and grill and Beth Chandler and Sid Navarro teaching her just how great it is to have best friends, Will is beginning to feel as if she belongs in this place. She is even wondering if she dares to stay. Only Randy Navarro makes her uneasy. At first, it was that his size made her uncomfortably aware of things she would rather forget, but she’s has slowly come around to accept that Randy is indeed the gentle giant his sister proclaims him and poses no threat to Will’s physical wellbeing. Now it’s the effect he has on her brain, her libido, and maybe even her heart that has Will reminding herself of all the reasons she can’t afford the complications that a romantic relationship would bring.

Randy Navarro, owner of Anchor Adventures, which provides watersports instruction and equipment to tourists, and Island Fitness, Anchor’s only gym, is an adrenalin junkie, a super-size knight with a protective streak to fit, a big brother who changed his life to take care of his kid sister, and an all-around good guy. He’s straight-talking, tender-hearted, patient, and tenacious, and he uses all of those qualities to persuade Will that she is safe with him, safe enough to take down her walls and open her heart.

Just when an HEA for these two who really deserve one is within their grasp, an ambitious reporter exposes Will’s identity, and Will reverts to a familiar pattern of behavior—she runs, leaving behind Anchor Island, the friends she cherishes, and Randy. Can Will learn that some things are worth taking a stand and fighting for? Can Randy forgive that she left him with only a note?

I loved Anchor Island from my first glimpse of it, and I have only become fonder of it with each book in the series. The setting has a warmth and a realness that only the best small-town series attain, and the characters are people with whom I enjoy spending my time. Home to Stay is my favorite. Will is a phenomenal heroine who demonstrates that love can heal even the deepest wounds and give the wounded warrior the strength to fight and win the necessary battles. But Randy is the reason this book is my favorite. He is true to type and yet distinctly individual—and a testament to Osburn’s talent. Only a third of the way into 2014, and I’ve read an unusual number of books with extraordinary beta heroes. Randy tops my list. In fact, I rank him right up there with Quinn Hunter (Till the Stars Fall, Kathleen Gilles Seidel), Blue Reynard (In the Midnight Rain, Ruth Wind) “Preacher” Middleton (Shelter Mountain, Robyn Carr), and Cam Early (Red’s Red Hot Honky-Tonk Bar, Pamela Morsi) as my five favorite contemporary beta heroes.

If you like contemporary romance that blends a generous serving of sweetness with just the right amount of spice and wraps it in genuineness and likeability, you will love Home to Stay. And although readers can’t stay on Anchor Island, they can return at least one more time. I just hope Randy Navarro is around when I make that return trip.

Let’s talk betas. Do you like beta heroes? If so, what contemporary heroes are on your list of favorites? If not, I’d love to introduce you to some that I bet can change your mind.