Book Review: Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

After a run of books that had a fair amount of violence and dark themes, it was really nice to just kick back with a cute, sweet novel that still had enough emotion to keep it interesting.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman trying to get a fishing resort to sell to the development company she works for finds that her assignment is a little more than she bargained for when she comes face to face with her ex-husband. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

To the Middle of Nowhere
Kate is a career woman, determined to work her way up in the development business, so her assignment to the Buoys seems like just another deal she has to try and get, while also helping to clean the place up so it’s ready for her boss. Not a big deal since she has no attachment to the current owners, right? But things take a turn when she comes face to face with the man she was married to for five days in Vegas ten years before.

Surprise Guest
Liam never thought he’d see Kate again after he ran out on her and then sent her divorce papers. Despite the connection they’d had, Liam’s main goal was to play baseball, and there was no way he could let a woman get in the way of that. But over the years, he’s tried to find more information about her, a difficult feat considering she has a low internet profile. When she shows up to his family’s lodge, working for the enemy, the situation is a little more than he bargained or was prepared for.

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Getting to Know You…Again
I was a little unsure of how I was going to like this one at first. Second chance romances are hit and miss for me, and the premise of a quick marriage gone wrong in Vegas a decade ago seemed like a stretch. But the story unfolded slowly and sweetly, and I bought easily into the fact that Kate and Liam could still have a connection after so much time had passed. It helped that they didn’t just fall into bed and love right away. Don’t get me wrong, I love the swoony stuff. But the fact that their feelings re-emerged naturally and over a period of time made the whole thing more realistic.

Brothers Will Be Brothers
There’s also the close-knit family dynamic that seems to be a staple of small town romances. Liam and his two brothers are carrying on their father’s legacy by running the Buoys with their friend Jessie, a woman their father had hired before he’d passed away. Seems fairly cliched, so it came as a surprise when it’s revealed that their father wasn’t actually a good person. This dynamic is what brings the brothers together, and though they obviously love each other, they still clash. I kind of loved the fact that they didn’t hesitate to beat the crap out of each other as a way to work out arguments.

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There were still cliches, of course, but they make the story work. Kate gets to know the brothers and Jessie, and she finds herself having a harder time doing her job when her feelings for Liam and her new friends surface.

The Romance Factor
The conflict comes in the hurt that Kate still feels over being abandoned and the reasons Kate and Liam have for not wanting to get involved again. Those reasons eventually dissolve, but not before some real heartache when sacrifices are made. I won’t give it away, but I felt that the romance was only enhanced by the fact that Kate and Liam had changed and grown as people during the time they were apart. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The sex rode a line between R and PG-13, so not super steamy, but sweet and slightly titillating. In the context of the book, it was perfect. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Though I’m not sure in which direction the author is going to take this series, I’m thinking we’re going to get the other two brothers’ stories, and I already have guesses who they’re going to end up with. This first book laid a good foundation and got me hooked on this family. It also makes me want to go spend a weekend at a fishing lodge in the middle of nowhere.

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