When I find an author that is as incredible as Melanie Shawn, it becomes a mission to read EVERYTHING.
I reviewed a few books individually, and then got so ridiculously caught up in the series - I looked up and had read over 10 books. When you read a series like this, where each book builds on the previous relationships, it is incredibly hard to see where one story starts and one ends... so what does a reviewer do?!? I review the hell out of the series... or try! LOL
The Sloan Boys
- Jason Sloan - We met Jason in the first book. Harper's Crossing's very own Romeo. Or so everyone thought. Alert: this man is swoon-worthy indeed. He is the boy who bends over backwards to make you happy, but takes NO credit. Does it for the smile. And this particular man did it for the smile of one girl named Katie. And this is where my obsession with Melanie Shawn began.
- Riley Sloan - The Sloan brother of few words. This guy is loyal. So much so, when he falls for Eddie's (his best friend) sister - he doesn't initially act on it. These Sloan boys are a force to be reckoned with when they set their sights on "THE ONE" And Eddie's sister, Rachelle "Chelle" Thomas doesn't stand a chance once she realizes she has been settling and that Riley is it for me. Man oh man...
- Alex Sloan - Alex. Let me start by saying OMG. Alex doesn't do relationships. Alex is clear with his expectations. Alex doesn't need to work for female companionship. A sexier than legal firefighter finds himself in the hospital after a work related accident. And this is where it gets interesting. Jamie Miller is new to HC and she happens to have been given ALEX DUTY at the hospital. Within minutes of waking up out of a coma and surrounded by his family - he asks a simple, yet loaded question of Jamie. "Will you marry me?" he asked with a sexy, tempting half-smile on his face. And Jamie's simple whispered reply of "Yes" is all he needed. I love the dynamic between these two. Nobody (Alex included) expected him to fall. But fall hard is what he did. When he finds out Jamie lives with a male by the name of Joey - he becomes insanely jealous asking her roommate and their family friend, Amber all about the situation. When the teasing stops and he is made aware that Joey is her young son - he feels a sense of relief. Amber sums up this humorous turn of events perfectly. "Oh, how the mighty have fallen..." The tough part, Jamie wasn't going to date. It seems the town has a different plan. It seems everyone is in cahoots to get them hitched. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again - the grand gesture is my FAVORITE part, and Alex doesn't slouch in this area.
- Seth Sloan - The final Sloan boy not to be snatched up. (To explain, Bobby was the first married and we will learn about him in the end. And trust me, he is worth the damn wait!) Seth is the strong, silent type. He held the brunt of the guilt and pain surrounding the passing of his mother. A one-night stand that left him frazzled for years. When returning to HC, his world is flipped upside down with the mystery woman turns out to be HC's very own Amber. Amber has told stories about her Mystery Man and the night they shared so many years ago and her world was equally rocked when it is revealed "Seth is Mystery Man!?" So what does a resourceful woman do? Send their men to hold a pancake intervention to find out info from the mystery man himself. Again, Melanie Shawn pens the perfect dynamic. Amber and Seth are too funny together. "And awkward silences don't really seem to bother you either." Her voice sounded shaky. "Is this awkward?" he asked, huskiness filling his voice. I must admit that one of my favorite things about his series is the references that bring me back to my childhood. Sometimes I find myself having to Google something to understand (which don't get me wrong I LOVE because I learn new stuff) but I felt at home reading these books.
- Bobby Sloan - Bobby. Bobby is the youngest of the Sloan boys and the first to be hitched. Bobby married Sophie after 6 months of dating and has been happily married for the last 3 years. Bobby has been working for his Dad's construction company for as long as he can remember. He hates it. Patiently waiting to find a way into his brother, Seth's security company. When the opportunity presents itself, he hands in his resignation to his other brother, Jason. Bobby, being a man of few words, shares a moment with Jason that Alex so appropriately ruins in his sexy Alex way. (Yes, nine books into the series and Alex still does it for me!) Jason nodded, and Bobby could see that his words had meant something to his brother. He pulled Bobby into a hug as Alex sniffed and teased, "I feel like such a third wheel in this Taster's Choice bromance moment." Throughout the series, I always had questions about Bobby, and was so pleased to get a glimpse... even just a novella size glimpse into the inner workings of the first marriage. Bobby may not say much with his words, but his actions always showed he meant business when it came to Sophie. Alex often joked around that Bobby should just get it over with. "Just whip it out and pee around her feet to mark your territory." I can't go into much with this novella, without giving too much away. This was a perfect way to wrap up the series. I loved the kinky texts exchanged between the two. It was sweet to see an established relationship and not one still in its infancy. I will leave Sophie to sum up their story with one line,
- Haley Sloan - Haley, the oldest of the Sloan girls is first up to bat with her longtime crush on Eddie Thomas. (Yep! You read that right. Eddie, Chelle's brother...let the drama begin!) Haley and I could be friends. She had her fair share of book boyfriends. She'd had - still had!- a serious thing for Gilbert Blythe. The summer of her sixth grade year, she'd read Anne of Green Gables at least twenty-five times. Haley and Eddie's situation made my heart ache. Eddie is such a great guy, and didn't want to date again until his daughter was in college. He didn't need another woman who could potentially walk out of Em's life. (Awww!) And Haley was Eddie's go-to gal. Not in the same way those whom he shared his monthly night's out with... but she was the one who babysat Emily. She passed out the cake at birthday parties. She painted nails and did hair. She moved across the street from him to be closer, and Eddie Thomas was none the wiser. (MEN!!!!) Haley realizes that subtle hints were not going to work with him, so she chooses BLUNT. And I love it. "Look, I don't know how you feel about me but - " ... "I love you," she said simply, her expressions still unreadable. What?! Okay, he had not seen that one coming. His face must have shown his shock because she calmly added, "I do." Eddie, who is the VP for Sloan Construction was hired for the work that is being done on the street that Tempting by Bella is going to be opening on, which leaves Eddie working hand in hand with Haley. Eddie, honoring his decision to stay away from her took it very literally. She'd step to him, and he'd step back.
- Krista Sloan - Krista grew up with the Chase Malone. Chase has been in the spotlight years as a part of a very successful band, and now as a solo artist. Chase never forgot Krista. He, without fail, acknowledged birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's day, and their anniversary. Krista never forgave. But she also never forgot him. And being the girl who was on-again off-again with Chase often lead to a LOT of questions about him. When he returns to CH to see his mother who was in the hospital, Krista is the one who takes his breathe away. When her sisters grilled her about seeing him again, her response made me giggle, "I felt like I was going to throw up and also like it was Christmas morning and I'd just opened up the toy I'd wanted all year." I adored their rekindling, and it warmed my rock star loving heart. Chase had never given up on Krista, but he never wanted to return to HC. Once he did, he knew she was home. The path might not be clear, but the answer to those questions was as clear as a bright, sunny day: whatever it took.
- Jessie Sloan - Jessie is my favorite Sloan sister. Her quiet demeanor and refusal to have useless chatter makes me giggle. Jessie liked her space, and this is why she was house hunting in the city. Enter Zach Courtland. Holy mother of pearl. By a hilarious misunderstanding, they enter an agreement to be a fake couple to acquire the amazing rental. Let the comedy begin. This lady of few words, like several of her male cousins, finds herself a bumbling mess around Zach. "What I mean before was that you can leave the house now if you want. Until I get rid of my family Usually, I am an excellent communicator. I mean, in the sense that I can clearly communicate what I want to. Not that I communicate all that often. Well, around you I do, but not well. You seem to have caused a short circuit between my brain and my mouth." Zach is NOT Jessie's type. The boxer is sweats and taped up hands while Jessie is a PR genius. They are the epitome of opposites attract. Where Jessie refused to repeat her ABC's as a child because nobody offered a valid reason for her to, Zach had her opening up about stuff she didn't dare touch with a ten foot pole. Zach took care of her in a way she didn't realize she craved.
- Becca Sloan - Becca has been denying to everyone (and their mothers) the connection that her and Brian share. Brian and Becca have been the best of friends for their entire lives. And Becca has become incredibly used to this line, "He's not my boyfriend..." He was her ninja in Pre-K, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And for him, The yin to his yang. The Scrappy Doo to his Scooby Doo. The Robin to his Batman. His partner in crime. Becca was his heart. Brian attended film school in NYC, but has been home the past year doing what he does best. Taking care of those he loves. During that time, he has been Beckles' dates to family weddings and realizing that he might have always loved her. She definitely didn't have the voice of an angel. Honestly, Brian was pretty sure that Becca couldn't stay on key if her life depended on it, but hearing her sing was one of the sweetest sounds in the world to him. (Crap a duck... Brian MIGHT give Grandpa J a run for his money in the sweet department!) This summer they both were just trying to get through the summer without ruining their friendship.
- There is always talk about the proposals, and the boys are always trying to outdo each other. Well, as Grandpa J has done their whole lives, he can teach these boys a thing or two about the most EPIC proposal. "Well, I puffed out my chest and put on a little show like i was might offended at her accusation. Then I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring I'd been saving up for all summer, and I said 'Yes ma'am, they were. I was practicing keeping a smile on your face, which I plan to do for the rest of my life, and getting my confidence up to ask you to do the honor of being my wife." (Holy double SWOON to the second power.)
- But the fact that he'd saved "our" seats made her want to do the happy dance. In fact, inside she was doing the Moonwalk, Electric Slide, Cabbage Patch, Roger Rabbit and Pony. (Eddie & Haley)
- Zach made me giggle with the inanimate objects he became jealous of: Forks, Straws and Jessie's thumb. Lordy lordy.
- Jessie's take on Christmas tree decorating: "It just drove me crazy that there were no patterns, no structure. I couldn't be a part of that, so I had to remove myself." Jessie's voice was filled with conviction. "But you stopped helping decorate the tree at three." Haley shook her head with a look of disbelief of her face. "At three years old, you went on strike because you didn't like how we put up the decorations?" "Pretty much."
- I hope for a spin-off or a novella with Billy's story. (Billy is Zach's boxing buddy) "You all right?" Billy looked up at Zach like he wasn't really sure how to answer that. "I mean...damn" "If boxing doesn't work out, you should try to get a job at Hallmark," Zach teased. "Come on. 'Damn' wants us to follow her."
- When Becca and her "prince" Colton realized they would never work out. "Then he just smiled and said that he knew it would never work out between us. I said 'Yeah, because we're both in love with other people.' He said, 'No, because you're a vegetarian and I'm a cattle rancher." (Oh geez!)
- Chelle's thoughts on Sloan men: "What is it with you Sloan men popping the question first and declaring your love second?"
- Alex being Alex. Seth took a deep breath through his nose, then instructed Alex. "Stay with her." As he walked to go check out the back lot, he heard his brother say, "Is it wrong that I want to tell him he's not the boss of me?"