Waiting on You (Blue Heron)
Harlequin HQN / March 25, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital
Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love…just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell broke her heart…an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.
But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.
Even with our favorite authors, there are books that we enjoy more than others. Kristan Higgins's Waiting on You hits on all cylinders, making this book simply irresistible.
Colleen had always been ever practical about love. In high school, she would much rather give advice to other classmates then deal with all that messy love stuff. With her twin brother, and friends like Faith and Jeremy, her life was full.
By the time she was a senior, virtually every boy in Manningsport had asked her out and received a kindly “no.” Love—especially the sloppy, frenching-in-the-halls type—was not meant for Colleen Margaret Mary O’Rourke.
But Cupid must have taken notice because it only took one look at Lucas Campbell, the new boy in Colleen’s senior English class, for Coleen to be stupefied by lust:
Holy St. Patrick. Her face didn’t change (she hoped), but her body was . . . was doing things. Stomach tightened, mouth dried, knees (and other parts) tingled. She acknowledged the feelings from afar because her brain couldn’t quite function at the moment.
After dancing around each other, neither willing to acknowledge how they feel, Colleen and Lucas are brought together on a harrowing prom night.
“You’re with me now,” he said softly. Then he pulled back to look at her. “Okay?”
She was too smart for all this. She had an old soul. She couldn’t picture having a boyfriend. But his eyes were steady, and his lashes were thick and dark.
Okay,” she whispered. So much for her legendary comebacks.
“I wasn’t sure you liked me,” he said after a minute. “It’s the whole white-knight thing.”
But it is Lucas’s whole white-knight thing that ultimately thrusts them apart.
Now at thirty one, Colleen has moved on. Oh, she hasn’t found love again. But again, like she was before Lucas, she is happy with her lot. She and her brother are co-owners of the best (and only) bar in town. She has men in her life when she wants them. She has still has her lifelong friendships from school, and that indissoluble twin bond with Conor. And disappointment hasn’t soured her on love and marriage either. In fact, she has made herself a reputation as a relationship whisperer:
Colleen hugged the happy couple once more, then went behind the bar and accepted high fives from her regulars as she pulled beers and mixed martinis, pour wine and slid glasses down the bar. After all, Brady and Ted were her doing. That made. . . hmm . . .fourteen couples she’d set on the road to matrimony? No, fifteen!
So that is a check, check, check on characterization. Strong, competent, able to roll with the punches heroine. And who doesn’t love a white-knight hero?
Colleen’s sanguine attitude falters a bit when Lucas comes back to town to care for his Uncle Joe. Not that she ever let him know:
She’d talk. It was safer that way. “Lucas, here’s the deal. You’re back for a while, and of course we’ll see each other, and no hard feelings, okay? I mean, we were young and foolish and all that fun stuff. I’m glad you’re doing well, and it’s nice for Joe that you’re around.”
He turned to look at her, and she forced herself to return his gaze, even if her knees were trembling.
“Anything else?” he said.
Why? Why her and not me?
“Nope. Anything else for you?”
Never, ever let them see you sweat.
But Jeanette, Colleen’s mother, is not afraid to turn up the heat, because time is a wasting, and she wants grandchildren. So she hires Lucas and his cousin Bryce to do some re-modeling work. Talk about heat:
Lucas came into view.
Oh, wow. Wow. He wore carpenter shorts and work boots and a white T-shirt that made his skin seem darker. Blue-collar man and his big, strong . . . um. . .hammer. Wasn’t there a porno about this?
There should be.
Someone should make one now. . .
Of course, if that is not enough to make a girl woozy, her mother’s group of friends —known as Team Menopause — ratchet it up even more:
“Lucas! Take off your shirt! Your cousin did! You should, too.” Lucas looked down at them. His white teeth flashed among that incredibly sexy razor stubble, and Colleen gave what she hoped was a casual wave and not a boneless flop of the hand, as she suspected.
He pulled off his shirt in one smooth move. Colleen stopped feeling her legs.
“Ten,” Mrs. Johnson said.
“Ten,” Carol and Mom echoed. . .
Maybe it was his swarthy skin. The muscle in his shoulders and across his chest. His hard sweaty delicious torso, not ripped like Bryce’s gym perfect boy toy body, just...just complete, utter masculine alpha perfection.
“Colleen?” Her mother asked.
She closed her mouth. “Nine,” she said faintly.
I did mention chemistry, didn’t I? Because like the Menopause Team, you will definitely be experiencing heat flashes:
He pushed her hair to one side—she had a lot of hair. And it smelled really good. And she felt …
Perfect. His arms were around her, his back to the cabinet, his woman in his arms…
“What do I have to do to get that nine to a ten?” he whispered against her ear, and she shivered.
Waiting on You is my favorite book in Ms. Higgins’ Blue Heron series—at least until the next one.
Learn more or order a copy of Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins, available March 25, 2014:
Leigh Davis, Blogger