Apr 8 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Tessa Bailey’s Unfixable (April 14, 2014)

Unfixable by Tessa BaileyTessa Bailey
Entangled Embrace / April 14, 2014 / $2.99 digital

Willa Peet isn’t interested in love. She’s been there, done that, and has the shattered heart to prove it. Ready to shake the breakup, she heads to Dublin, Ireland. But there’s a problem. A dark-haired, blue-eyed problem with a bad attitude that rivals her own. And he’s not doling out friendly Irish welcomes.

Shane Claymore just wants to race. The death of his father forced him off the Formula One circuit, but he’s only staying in Dublin long enough to sell the Claymore Inn and get things in order for his mother and younger sister. He never expected the sarcastic American girl staying at the inn to make him question everything.

But even as Willa and Shane’s fiery natures draw them together, their pasts threaten to rip them apart. Can Shane give up racing to be with the woman he loves, or will Willa’s quest to resurrect the tough-talking, no-shit-taking girl she used to be destroy any hope of a future together?

Unfixable is a New Adult title, but also a sequel to Tessa Bailey’s popular Line of Duty series. Our heroine Willa is the younger sister of the heroine from Protecting What’s His. Although Ginger and her HEA play a part in Willa’s book, it never felt gratuitous (although I will be forced to go back and read her story!) or unwelcome. “Love few, love hard” is the Peet family motto and Ginger and her husband are two of the few people Willa loves. Willa’s past and how she views herself because of that past play a big part in the conflict of Unfixable.

The book is in first person present, which isn’t a POV I seek out, but in this case I think it suited the immediacy of both the story and of Willa herself, who is trying so hard to resurrect her old, impulsive, don’t-give-a-damn self.

A few weeks in Dublin is supposed to help Willa get over a painful breakup with her high school sweetheart. She's come halfway around the world to rediscover who she is when she’s not trying to fit in to some idea of what the “right” kind of girlfriend ought to be. There is no shortage of the kind of angst I’m looking for in a New Adult novel here but it’s tempered with a certain realism and a bracing refusal by Willa to indulge in self-pity. She might believe in her bones that she is broken beyond repair but she is not going to sit around and feel sorry for herself over it.

Shane has his own painful secrets and isn’t afraid to snarl at the world because of them. When they first meet, he is such an ass, I had no problem believing that Willa could stay at his family’s inn and not get involved with him, no matter how blue his eyes. As the days pass, she starts to see a different side to him, in the way he cares for his mother and his sister and even Willa herself, even as he swears he wants nothing to do with any of them.

When Shane wrongly makes assumptions about Willa and her family, he condescendingly attributes her angst to her being overly spoiled by her adoring parents. She is so shocked and furious, she hits him with the truth. When he finally catches up with her to apologize, he makes one of the best apologies I’ve read in New Adult. He doesn’t grovel, he doesn’t brush aside his guilt and he doesn’t offer her pity. An alpha guy who knows how to apologize? Right then and there, Shane had me.

The ending is satisfying and romantic and filled with grand gestures that made me believe both Willa and Shane had changed enough that they’d make things work for the long haul. And while I usually don’t love epilogues, this one was a wonderful surprise.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Unfixable by Tessa Bailey, available in e-book on April 14, 2014:

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Julia Broadbooks writes contemporary romance. She lives in the wilds of suburban Florida with her ever patient husband and bakes ridiculous amounts of sugary treats for her teens' friends. Find her on Twitter @juliabroadbooks.

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