Friday, March 25, 2016

The Do-Over by L.E. Bross

Title: The Do-Over
Author: L.E. Bross
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
L.E. Bross’s contemporary romance debut is a fun and sexy tale of unlikely lovers struggling to leave the past where it belongs—behind them—and embrace a bright future.

Melanie McAllister’s brand new copy of Home Improvement for Dummies doesn’t even begin to cover the DIY advice she really needs: how to put the pieces of her life back together. Her cheating ex-husband’s insider trading scandal destroyed her family’s multi-million dollar company and left Mel with nothing but the run-down oceanfront cottage she inherited from her parents. Biscay Beach, Maine, seems as good a place to start over as any.

Hot-as-hell carpenter Eli Stuart understands new beginnings. Once a rising star in the art world, the former sculptor has been secretly carving out a new existence in the small coastal town ever since the sheen on his old life turned to rust. He’s willing to bet the feisty brunette in need of major home repairs has never lifted a tool heavier than a nail file—until Mel is racing the clock to make her ramshackle home fit for winter and, facing a near-empty bank account, decides she can do it all herself.

So Eli offers Mel a deal: if she helps him with the renovations, he’ll cut the bill in half. Soon Mel and her damned home improvement book are driving Eli mad with an explosive urge to return to his studio and fire up his torch once more. His new work is crude and raw, and before long, he can’t keep his hands off Mel, either. But a muse from his past could ruin it all for the second time—if Eli and Mel can’t let go of who they used to be and trust their hearts with a do-over.

I discovered L.E. Bross late last year when I first came across her Second Chances NA duology. I stumbled on the first book, immediately read it, loved it and went looking for more by this author. And much like I loved her two NA stories, I had a fantastic time reading her contemporary romance debut, The Do-Over

Melanie McAllister is ready to get her life back on track after her cheating ex-husband got charged with insider trading and lost all of their money. The only thing standing between her and going back to New York to get her life back is her parents’ long forgotten cottage in Biscay Beach, Maine. To get her life back on track, Mel needs to renovate and sell the cottage. The only problem with that is she has limited funds and no clue where to even start. That’s where Eli comes in. But as Eli starts doing the work, Mel quickly realizes she won’t be able to afford everything that needs to be done. So Eli offers her a deal: she helps him with all the renovations and he’s going to but the cost in half. But in between arguing about how to best do these home improvements, Eli and Mel starts building more than just the cottage. 

Even though I’ve always loved reading love stories, until the last couple of years most of the ones I read were YA. Then I fell down the NA rabbit hole which meant I had even more options when it came to reading love stories. And then reading all that NA led to me giving contemporary romance more of a chance than I had in the past. And so far, most of the contemporary romance books I’ve read are ones written by authors who’ve also written NA books I’ve read. And that’s how I ended up reading L.E. Bross’s The Do-Over. When I read the description, I strongly suspected that this would be a fun story. I mean, a woman who knows nothing about home renovations helping her contractor do the repairs on her place? There were bound to be some amusing moments. And there were plenty. The Do-Over had me smiling so much while I was reading. But as I’m finding is often the case when I’m reading some of these contemporary romances, I was happy to see that the story went beyond just the surface of the romance. Sure, it was a fun and relatively light romance. But because of who the characters were, this story went deeper than I thought it would.

Seeing as I’m single and have never been married nor have I ever had any high-powered job, I didn’t think I would find myself relating to Mel in any way. But the more I read, the more I realized that, yes, Mel was recently-divorced and used to have a high position in the finance sector. But that’s not all she was. Mel was also trying to understand who she was outside of the way everyone else saw her. And that’s something that’s hard to do and it’s something that Mel struggled with. And I could definitely understand and relate to that, and that’s got me invested in Mel’s story. And then there was Eli. Apparently, I have a thing for guys who can do things with their hands (not *those* kinds of things, get your mind out of the gutter). But for real, I loved Eli. I loved his patience with Mel even when I knew he was getting exasperated with her. He was a genuinely good person and he was just what Mel needed, even though she wouldn’t admit it. And they just worked together. Even if they didn’t always see it. 

I really enjoyed L.E. Bross’s The Do-Over. It was a fun contemporary romance that had me smiling the whole time I was reading. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

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