Last First Kiss
Book 1 in the Brightwater series
by Lia Riley
Narrated by Carly Robins
Published by: Tantor Media
Publication date Jan 26, 2016
Running time 8 hrs
Also in print from Harper Collins/Avon
Audiobook provided by Tantor Media for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Pinterest perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is . . . messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those Wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.
Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real? Contains mature themes.
Before anyone roasts me on a spit, I don’t mean that all mommy bloggers are frumpy. THis is how she is referred to and how she considers herself; she didn’t even see how far she had gone in not caring about herself. When she becomes fun and fab again she is still a mommy blogger.
This was a predictable, but charming story about second chances and getting over one’s past. But, it’s not so much about being stuck in the past as I thought it was on the first listen. It’s more about being stuck in place, in the present.
We all have had crap happen to us – often, horrifying, humiliating, bullying crap. Annie is the mother of a near school age child. Obviously, her skin was not thick and the crap to which she was subjected finally got to be too much. Annie left and never gave her friend a chance to explain. As she says, if she hadn’t gone through what she did she wouldn’t have her son.
And, that’s it, we are the sum of our experiences and what we learn from them. At the first page we are introduced to Annie’s flight from Portland to her family home in CA. And, like her marriage, this home is on shaky ground, getting ready to sell the family farm for more money than makes sense.
As she reclaims her family place, she reaffirms that the town as it was is still evident, although change is evident. Even with the yahoos from her youth, including the male love interest’s mean and super nasty grannie, the town looks better than it did.
When she stands up for herself and her kid, people respect her more.
Now Sawyer was with Ruby, the popular girl in high school. She was such a bitch, the kind that can’t hide her true colors, and that lead me to question his intelligence. Did he only get a brain after she ditched him? I found it hard to reconcile the guy who would want Annie with the guy who had been with Ruby. Plus, I would make sure he got tested for , you know, stuff, before he touched any part of me.
And, here’s where I found the meat of the story: Annie realizes that she is not the girl who has to take the crap anymore. She gets threatened by Granny and some of Sawyer’s dumb and dumber cousins, but both she and Sawyer stand up to them. She realizes she’s been on the frumpy mom without a break train and spruces herself up a bit.
When she comes back to herself, good things start to happen. She gets some help; so many never ask for that help. I was, of course, attracted to the character being a blogger. Can’t imagine why. She mentions making five figures blogging and I think that is probably because it is a piece of fiction and she is not a book blogger.
On second listen, I felt better about how the author developed this character’s life, and the changes she goes through. I was a little more able to see how place and circumstance has Sawyer not killing his Grandmother and burying her body out in the woods — no one would miss her, and they may even throw a parade. I still don’t get his attraction to Ruby, a pretty package of nasty contents. But, I guess the character’s “little head” did the “thinking” there.
The narration was well done. Granny’s voice could have been a little more nuanced than the harsh harpy noises I heard, but otherwise, with the other main characters and one nurse, I thought the narration brought a lot of life to the story.
This one is light and sexy without being vulgar. It is a decent contemporary romance with believable situations (do airlines still take unaccompanied minors?). I enjoyed it! By the way, although it is a contemporary romance, it has that snarky feel of chick lit too.
TANTOR MEDIA: https://tantor.com/last-first-kiss-ia-riley.html