Roxanne St. Claire
Barefoot in the Sand (Barefoot Bay #1)
Grand Central Publishing / April 24, 2012 / $5.99
When a hurricane roars through Lacey Armstrong’s home on the coast of Barefoot Bay, she decides all that remains in the rubble is opportunity. A new hotel is just what Mimosa Key needs, and Lacey and her teenage daughter are due for a fresh start. And nothing, especially not a hot,younger architect, is going to distract Lacey from finally making her dreams a reality.
Love has already cost Clay Walker everything. And if he’s going to have any chance of picking up the pieces of his life, he needs the job as Lacey Armstrong’s architect. What’s not in the plans is falling for the headstrong beauty. Her vision of the future is more appealing than anything he could have ever drafted for himself. Will Clay’s designs on Lacey’s heart be more than she can handle, or will she trust him to build something that will last forever?
Barefoot in the Sand is the first book in Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series. Lacey is a single mom who has lost everything in a hurricane. Seeing the devastation to her home as an opportunity to pursue her dream, she decides that instead of rebuilding her home, she’s going to build a B&B. In walks Clay Walker, architect extraordinaire—or so Lacey thinks. But instead of getting the Clayton Walker, his son shows up instead. Clay is trying to get his career off the ground and thinks that building Lacey’s B&B is the perfect opportunity.
Barefoot in the Sand is a light, romantic read about starting over and second chances. Clay and Lacey’s relationship gets off to a rocky start—with his long hair and tattoos, Lacey doesn’t see Clay as the right man for the job. Confident in his skills and his vision, Clay sets out to prove her wrong. Their work styles don’t mesh, either; even though Lacey had taken the first step towards making her dream a reality, she constantly second guessed herself. Clay, on the other hand, had the attitude of dream big and go big. I liked how Clay constantly pushed Lacey out of her comfort zone.
Once Lacey gets past the exterior and gets to know Clay, her attraction grows. There is a 7 year age difference (Clay is 29 and Lacey is 36), but it is not that much of a factor in the overall plot. As the romance blossoms, Lacey makes tiny chinks in Clay’s armor. Like many romantic heroes, Clay has his own issues—in this case, daddy issues—that he must contend with if he wants to be able to move forward in his life.
At first, the romance is supposed to be fun and flirty. Lacey’s friends convince her to have a fling. She’s neglected her own life for too long as she’s been concentrating on raising her daughter Ashley. After all, her friends argue, what can be the harm in an innocent affair with a young, hot architect? The attraction is palpable and Clay has the sexiest nickname for Lacey: Strawberry. I am a sucker for a food-related nickname and whenever Clay called her Strawberry, I swooned as if he was speaking directly to me. Mind you, I don’t have strawberry blond hair to warrant the nickname, but I could make it happen if it meant a hot guy’s start calling me that.
As Lacey is starting over with the building of her B&B, her ex, Ashley’s dad, David, suddenly appears and wants his family back. Torn between doing what is best for her daughter and what is best for her, Lacey has some tough decisions to make. She has always prided herself on putting her own needs on the back-burner, but what if by doing so, she has been doing herself and her daughter a disservice?
Although the book’s tone is light and sweet, the road to a HEA is not easy for Clay and Lacey. Obstacles are placed in their way: Their own insecurities and secrets bring about trust issues and second guessing. And not everyone is happy about the relationship or want the resort to be built. But finally, the HEA is reached through a sweet and poignant ending. Like Clay tells Lacey, “When something’s right, it’s right.”
Marquetta: Reader, Blogger, Smut Lover.