Forever / July 2, 2013 / $13.53 print, $2.99 digital
Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:
Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called “buck urine”
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy—and infuriating—Brendan King
After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn't easy—until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who's interested in much more than Paige's car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?
Undone is a thoroughly enjoyable book. Shannon Richard has done an excellent job of weaving together a story that is at times lighthearted, and then other times extremely touching. One thing that I especially enjoyed is that the heroine Paige and hero Brendan fall in love the old-fashioned way—through courtship and dates. There is just something so refreshing and authentic about first the sizzle of attraction, then the flirtation to verify that the interest is reciprocal and then the wooing and dating.
Brendan is very much interested in Paige. But she is off men at the moment since her boyfriend Dylan kicked her to the curb rather callously:
“At one point I thought I might love you but I’ve realized that I’m not in love with you,” he said, shaking his head. “I feel like you’ve though this was going to go further, but the truth is I am never going to marry you. Paige, you are not the one. I’m tired of pretending. I am tired of putting in the effort for a relationship that isn’t going anywhere else. It’s not worth it to me.”
After eleven unsuccessful interviews in the last two months, Paige is not feeling too kindly about Mirabelle, Florida. Her jeep breaking down is the last straw, so she doesn’t hold back in giving her opinion, when Brendan makes the mistake of saying it is easy to see that she is not from around here:
“Would I fit in more if I had a bumper sticker that said my other car is a tractor or one that said if you’re not conservative, you just aren’t worth it or what about who needs literacy when you can shoot things? What if I had a gun rack mounted on the back window or if I used buck piss as a perfume to attract a husband? Would those thing make me fit in?” she finished, folding her arms across her chest.
“No, I’d say you could start with not being so judgmental though,” he said with a sarcastic smirk.
“Ma’am, you just called everyone around here gun-toting illiterate rednecks who like to participate in bestiality. Insulting people really isn’t a way to fit in,” he said shaking his head. “I would also refrain from spreading your literal views to the masses, as politics is a bit of a hot-button topic around here. And if you want to attract a husband, you should stick to wearing doe urine because that attracts only males. The buck urine attracts both males and females.” He stopped and looked her up and down with a slow smile. “But maybe you’re into that sort of thing.”
But their adversarial relationship is over in about five minutes, leaving them both uncomfortable with the sexual sparks. It doesn’t take long for the people around them to pick up on the attraction, and of course everyone wants to be a matchmaker. Like Brendan’s grandfather:
“Oh, don’t tell me you aren’t a fan of hers. Son, you barely took your eyes off her.”
“I’m not denying she’s beautiful.” How could he? “I bet she’s a handful though and she’s got a temper on her along with a smart mouth.” But he sure did like that smart mouth.
Or Paige’s mother:
”No, mother.” Paige said. “Brendan hasn’t called.”
“Oh, I didn’t mention that nice young man’s name. So you were thinking about him? I knew there was a spark there.”
“Mom,” Paige said looking over her shoulder. . .
And then Brendan’s sister and grandmother get into the act:
“Brendan?” Paige asked looking up panicked. “Your brother is Brendan?” she asked, looking at Grace. ”He’s your grandson?” she asked, turning to Lula Mae.
Grace and Lula Mae looked at Paige with matching expressions of amusement and guilt.
“Did we forget to mention that?” Grace asked innocently.
But of course once family and friends butt in, they are not shy about offering advice.
Her mother gave the blouse a critical eye. “Just wear ugly underwear. If you wear stuff that you don’t want him to see, you’ll be less likely to sleep with him.”
“Mom!” Paige said shocked. “I’m not going to sleep with him on the first date.”
“I know. Just wear something to keep you grounded and then you won’t slip.”
“I have some self-control.”
“Yes, well, I’ve seen that boy. Slipping would be completely justifiable considering the circumstances.”
“What circumstances would those be?” Paige asked as she walked over to her dresser and opened her underwear drawer.
“That gleam in his eyes.” Denise said.
It is a good thing there is that gleam in both their eyes, because they have some challenges to face. But that is okay too, because from the very first meeting they showed that they had what it takes to have a strong, healthy relationship:
“I’m sorry about what I said back there.”
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her shift in her seat and he could feel her eyes on him.
“Thank you. I should have kept my mouth shut too. I just haven’t had the best day.”
This book appears to be the first in a series, and I am glad, because by the time I reached the end of the book, I definitely was invested in the secondary couples and their happy endings.
Learn more about or order a copy of Shannon Richard's Undone, out today:
Leigh Davis, Blogger