(Real Men, #1)
By: Coleen Kwan
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published: Dec. 10, 2012
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Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy—the man whose wiles she just knows got her jilted at the altar six years ago. Add to it that her ex-fiancé Seth is showing up in her hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride…for real this time. But the kicker? Everybody’s treating Ally as though she’s still heartbroken. She’s just fine, thank you very much, but could The Jilter have the decency not to hire her sister as his florist?
Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?
As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn't count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart…
I wasn't expecting the characters to all be woven together the way that they were. You see, Ally was going to marry Seth, Nate's cousin, when she was younger. Only Seth left her at the alter and Nate was the one to deliver the message that her fiance jumped ship. Nate never hid the fact that he thought Seth shouldn't marry Ally and Ally has blamed Nate for his interference ever since. So when one day she is told that not only is her ex-fiance coming back to town to marry his new bride to be but that Nate is also back and has apparently bought the building that her shop and apartment are in, needless to say, she was having a rough day. It's not every day that the man who stood you up on your wedding day comes back to his hometown to remarry and the man who caused it all becomes your landlord.
This was a cute light romance all set in Australia. Nate did a lot of rotten things when he was younger, so when he comes back to his hometown, he decides to right some wrongs. For instance, buying property from a man who's wife was having an affair with his older brother when he was younger, or returning the horse statues tail that he lobbed off and stole years past. He also manages to weasel his way into Ally's life and what starts off as a casual thing, like all good romance novels, becomes something more.
Even though I enjoyed the story I found Ally to be in need of some throttling. Maybe because things were predictable and you saw it coming from a mile away but she just seemed to second guess not only herself around Nate but Nate's intentions as well. Like when he cooks a fancy meal for her and gives her the key to his house and asks her to move in with her. Albeit, it's only like 2 weeks in but still she runs out on him and ends the relationship because he didn't say "I love you" when handing her the key. However, he does say, "I want you in my life 24/7." Therefor, the man that she loves is using her and is still the womanizer he used to be. I didn't understand that logic.
I thought the story was good and even though it wasn't overly long, I still found myself gravitating towards the characters which tends to be one of my biggest problems with shorter stories. The author has a great way of explaining things and giving you an inside look into the characters without droning on and on about it. Even though this was my first time reading one of Coleen Kwan's books, it won't be the last.
"When it comes to bad ideas, I'm the king." -Nate