Home to Stay (Anchor Island)
Montlake / May 1, 2014 / $12.95 print, $4.99 digital
Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.
Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?
Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.
Can I just say, I don’t think that there is a more appealing hero than the Teddy Bear type, especially if they are “large enough to deserve his own zip code” like Randy Navarro. Terri Osburn definitely got my attention when she wrote him into the story!
In fact, I would say that Ms. Osburn got everyone attention with the tantalizing glimpses she showed us of Randy. Just to recap a little, in the very first book in the Anchor Island series, Meant to Be, the heroine from that book, Beth Chandler, even though she has her own hero waiting in the wings, is taken back at how gorgeous Randy is:
His brown eyes looked oddly gentle and his smile, a perfect row of white teeth behind full lips softened the menacing effect of overwhelming stature…
Staring at him felt like getting an extra shot of estrogen in her latte. The man belonged on the cover of a romance novel…
His size is a little daunting, though:
Not that she feared Randy Navarro, but his size and height, more than a foot taller than her five foot five were flat-out intimidating. The fleeting thought as to what kind of woman would be attracted to this kind of man brought two words to mind.
Now if Randy can inspire those type of thoughts from an engaged woman, then you would think that he sees plenty of action, especially since he has such a joie de vivre for life. In fact, Beth wonders why he is living on the small island:
Randy Navarro didn’t just live he attacked life with life with something between sheer joy and a death wish. Which begged the question: What was an adrenaline junkie doing on a tiny island known more for its history and laid-back lifestyle than heart racing attractions?
This adrenaline junkie settled in Anchor Island after he accepted responsibility of caring for his fourteen-old-sister, Sidney Ann. Their mother died right after he graduated from high school. He spent the next two years bouncing from one adventure to another. Then their father died of a fatal heart attack. Deciding that Miami was no place to raise a young girl, he and Sid moved to the quiet community off the coast of North Carolina. But don’t go feeling all sorry for the twenty-year-old Randy, because even then he had his priorities straight, as he explained to his sister Sid in her book, Up to the Challenge:
“Why do you think I settled down here?”
Sid felt an old guilt tighten her spine. Because of me. You couldn’t drag a fourteen-year-old around the globe and up every mountainside.
He smiled and leaned forward. “You were only part of it, Sidney. Aunt Roberta offered to take care of you. I could have continued to chasing the next ride, the next climb. But I chose you and this island. . .
”You’re my little sister and I love you. You were more important than the life I had at the time.“
Sigh . . . sounds pretty perfect, but wait, there is even more:
Sid appreciated Will’s loyalty and indignation on her behalf. “Randy wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Will snorted. “Are we talking about the same person? The big guy who looks like he could give the Hulk a run for his money?”
“They may be similar in size, but Randy really wouldn’t hurt a fly. I know it’s a cliché but in his case it’s true. I’ve seen him catch them in glass and let them go outside. Once he even herded one out an open window.”
Will leaned her elbows on the bar. “How do you herd a fly? And if he’s that friendly, why does he bench-press tugboats in his spare time?”Another good question. “I don’t know,” Sid said. “It’s just his thing. He’s all into being healthy. Goes with the Zen thing.”
“Zen? Like mediating?”
“Yep. He’s even a vegetarian.”
Will’s jaw fell open. “No way.”
Okay, so he is pretty yummy on the inside and the out. So what women in her right mind would shoot him down and not give him the time of day? A woman who has been burned before—a woman like Willow Parson:
For more than a year, Randy had been tiptoeing around the wiry gypsy with the long dark hair and cautious blue-eyes, trying not to be offended every time she leapt at the sight of him. He’d watched her talk with ease to all the people he knew, men, and women alike, only to recoil like a turtle into her shell whenever he crossed her path.
The only way he differed from other men was in his size, and since he knew he’d never done anything to her, another big guy must have. Or so Randy suspected. Will didn’t exactly confirm his suspicions this evening, but she hadn’t denied them either.
After too many brush-offs, Randy just decides to get it all out in the open:
“Will,” Randy said, impatience in his voice. “I know you don’t like me, but—”
“Who said I don’t like you?” Not that she did like him. At least not like him like him.
Great. Now she was thinking like a fourteen-year-old.
He settled his weight onto a bar stool, which creaked in protest. “No one had to tell me. I’m observant like that.”
But he would be surprised at how much Will does like him. In fact, she appreciates almost everything about him:
She and Randy made a good team. He never pushed to be in charge. Never threw his weight around, so to speak. There were moments when he forced her to be open minded or admit he had a point, but those encounters were over as quickly as they began, with no male ego victory dancing involved.
Randy swung around the island, taking the stool to her right, which worked out well since she was left handed and he wrote with his right. They even fit together physically.
Oh, I think a girl needs more than just sitting side by side to figure out that fitting together physically thing. But don’t worry, Will discovers a lot more:
She didn’t know about miracles, but what they’d just done could be measured on the Richter scale. . .
“This isn’t a water bed, is it?" She asked.
“If this is your way of saying you felt the Earth move, you’re welcome.”
You didn’t think I would give away all the good stuff, did you? You are going to have to read the book for yourself!
Along with a to-die-for hero, you have Miss Osburn’s great dialogue like above. Want more of an incentive?
“You ever been out on a Jet Ski?” He tapped water out of his left ear. “I could take you sometime if you want.”
“Not if you drive like that.” How she managed to keep her voice casual, Will didn’t know. “Looked dangerous from here.”
Randy shook his head, sending more drops into the air. “You’d need to hold on tight, but you’d be fine. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you.”
Will felt the heat crawl up her body at the thought of wrapping herself around the man before her and holding on tight. She bit her bottom lip, smiling into Randy’s darkening brown eyes.
Home to Stay is the third book in Ms. Osburn’s Anchor Island series. And while it can be read as a stand-alone, there are tidbits of information about Randy and Willow throughout the three books, so do yourself a favor and read all three! Randy is definitely worth it!
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Home to Stay by Terri Osburn, available May 2, 2014:
Leigh Davis, Blogger