Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Red Bikini

Author:  Lauren Christopher
Genre:  Romance

Five Stars

For the last five years, Giselle McCabe's life has been about sippy cups and playdates. But when her husband suddenly leaves her, Giselle flees to her sister’s California beach house for a two-week getaway. Out of her element, she’s surprised to receive such a warm welcome—especially from gorgeous celebrity athlete Fin Hensen…

Fin is escaping his pro tour for a season, trying to lie low until all the hubbub over a huge mistake in his past blows over. And when he sets his sights on Giselle, he realizes that the beautiful good girl just might be the ticket to his success.
But Giselle never expected romance to enter the picture again—especially with a hot twentysomething from a completely different world. And even though it feels like Fin is everything she’s trying to run away from, she can't help coming back for more...

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Giselle McCabe Underwood has just been divorced from her husband of eleven years, Roy.  He walked away without a backward glance for her or their five-year-old daughter, Coco; and now Giselle needs a break from her life in Indiana and decides to visit her sister Lia in California.  But Lia is in another city for business, and has offered the use of her beach house to Giselle and Coco.  Lia has also asked her next-door neighbor, Rabbit, to keep an eye out for them.

While visiting Rabbit and his friends, Giselle turns to the door and sees the most gorgeous man she has ever seen in her life standing there.  He's Fin Henson, a pro surfer, and there is an instant attraction that neither can shake.  After they see each other on the beach and get to know each other, he asks her for a favor: will she go to a business meeting with him so he can impress his boss; and she asks one in return:  will he go to her ex-father-in-law's funeral with her so she can let her ex-relatives know she's not pathetic.  Deal struck, the two tentatively enter into a fragile friendship that gradually turns into romance.

This book surprised me.  I finished it and thought 'wow.'  Really.  You have two damaged people: he, damaged by his parents and upbringing in the fact that he felt hungry in more ways than one; and her, damaged by a doctor husband who cheated on her throughout their marriage and made her feel like less than a woman.  In a sense, they are both impoverished, scared, and alone.  And they find each other.  But it is not an easy journey.  There are misunderstandings, because they are both afraid to share with another human being:  share love, share sorrow, share pain, share joy.  Their common bond of loneliness, and the fact that Fin obviously cares as much for Coco as Giselle does, goes a long way into bringing these two hurt souls together.  It is a final revelation - one that is a surprise to both Fin and Giselle - that finally gives them their strength.

Don't let the fact that this is a romance keep anyone from reading it.  It is very well-written, and carries the emotions of the characters well; and the secondary characters buoy the relationship between the two, sometimes without knowing they are doing so.  Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Bikini-Lauren-Christopher/dp/0425274411/

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