Since I have been on such a historical kick lately, I decided that I needed a palate cleanser in the form of a sweet contemporary. “You’re Still the One” by Rachel Harris caught my eye for a couple of reasons:
1. The cover was sexy without being explicit.
2. It is part of a series called “Country Blues” which appeals to me (even though I am normally a paranormal/historical junkie.)
So, back in the early 2000’s when I was a church secretary and had every possible Thomas Kinkade office supply decorating my office, I got into Harlequin American Romances. These sweet books with their sexy cowboys, surprise babies, and small-town appeal were my bread and butter for over a year. It shouldn’t surprise me that I still have a soft spot for this sort of book.
Arabella has fostered a crush on country star, Charlie Tucker, since she was a kid and he was a new artist at her father’s record label. A personal challenge in the form of a sort-of summer bucket list gives her the courage to flirt with Charlie one night, leading to an unforgettable kiss between the two. When Charlie is tasked with keeping an eye on Arabella, his boss’s daughter, he doesn’t expect to develop feelings for her.
Even though the cover was somewhat tame, I didn’t expect to have the fade-to-black sex with the door closed. Normally, I don’t really mind if a story has sex or not or how hot the sex is, as long as it fits the story. With this book, there was so much sexual tension built with multiple kisses and near misses that I felt somewhat gypped out of the experience of seeing the two finally come together. That being said, the story progressed well, and the relationship between the two felt real with a more believable base than most romances. I loved that much of the book was set in New Orleans, being a Louisiana native, but felt that more could have been explored in the city, especially in bringing out the more adventurous side of Arabella.
Arabella is a great character; she feels like a young adult on the verge of finding herself, and she isn’t lacking the courage to make it happen. I really identified with her. I liked the story and found it a breezy, enjoyable read.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a sweet romance with good characters and a steady plot, this is a good pick. If you want heat beyond kisses, this is not the book for you. 4 stars