Karina Halle / November 28, 2016 / $14.00 print, $3.99 digital
If you haven’t hopped aboard Karina Halle’s travel romances, you’re seriously missing out. Halle has almost single-handedly defined the trope because for her, the setting isn’t just a place for the story; it lends an element to the mood, the emotion, and all the romance. In Heat Wave, we’re transported to magical, mystical Kauai, Hawaii, for the second-chance, forbidden, enemies-to-lovers love story of Veronica and Logan. And not only is Kauai practically a third main character, it’s where timing, circumstances, and fate have converged for two people with quite a past and a lot of time to make up for.
Halle sets the stage beautifully with a prologue that, no matter the angst to follow, shows right away the powerful chemistry and connection between twenty-something Ronnie and thirty-something Logan. They’re two kindred spirits who see something in the other in an instant, and the complication of literal politics and a meddling family can’t get in the way. Not even when their moment is quickly and irrevocably overshadowed by Ronnie’s older, beautiful, in-the-spotlight sister, Juliet. And Ronnie and Logan don’t get the something together they want right away, but you know what they say about things that are worth waiting for…
How long have you wanted me? His voice is nearly a growl, rumbling inside my brain.
“Since the moment I met you.”
Will you stay quiet?
I nod but his hand tightens over my mouth.
He leans forward until his lips are at my ear. His teeth graze my lobe.
It should have been you, Veronica.
One thing I appreciate about Halle’s novels are the messiness. These are not straight-forward, formulaic romances; these are people you might actually know, who make real mistakes that really impact their lives, sometimes too hard and for too long, and they have to go through real change and introspection to right the course. But the love is richer for it.
So even knowing that somehow Logan ends up married to Juliet until her sudden death filled with more messy circumstances, and Ronnie heads to his hotel, Moonwater Inn in glorious Hawaii, in last-ditch need of a job—where the sparks of hurt are just as real as the fire between them—begins a journey that’s as beautifully complicated as the island where everything old becomes new. Now Logan and Ronnie are boss and assistant, and they need a verbal knock-down-drag-out, have-it-out fight as much as they need to finally do what’s seven years in the making.
It also needs to be noted for all of us who love our heroes that Halle absolutely relishes her men. Her previous books have given some incredible physical descriptions to bring them to life, and Logan is no different. The body of an Olympic swimmer, just the right fine-wine aging, bearded and dark and sexy and Australian, it’s no wonder Ronnie can only fight it so long.
“You need an Aussie to show you how things are really done on the water.”
Then he takes a step back from me and before I know what’s happening, he’s pulling his shirt over his head and throwing it on the beach behind him.
And Christ on a cracker.
Logan Shephard has his shirt off.
And Logan Shephard is absolutely ripped, a beast of epic proportions.
Halle carefully unravels their way back to each other, and the highlight is a fabulous hiking scene that not only peels away more of the Hawaiian island savage beauty, but is a game-changer for Ronnie and Logan when they’re stranded in a storm and must spend the night together. Nature conspires for them to put back on track what’s gone so horribly awry, and by the time Ronnie and Logan finally consummate everything, it’s a new leaf.
“And if I say yes,” he murmurs, his face coming closer, the top of his nose brushing against mine, “that I want it too—would that change anything?”
It would change everything.
The romance is everything that will make you swoon, and the sex scenes are as hot as the island sun. Just because Logan and Ronnie have waited years doesn’t mean smooth sailing; after all, the complications don’t just go away. And there’ll be a little more messiness before it’s all said and done. But in the end, isn’t that life and doesn’t that all just make it more?
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Heat Wave by Karina Halle, available November 28, 2016:
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Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.