Series: Ocean Breeze (Book 1)
In a trade-off she's lived to regret, Emily Castle left home years ago to become an interior designer. The youngest of three sisters, Emily desperately wanted to prove herself. Success, though, came at the cost of leaving behind the man she loved.
For Boone Dorsett, losing Emily left his heart shattered, but another woman was waiting in the wings. Now a widower with a young son, Boone has a second chance with Emily when a storm brings her home. But with his former in-laws threatening a custody suit, the stakes of loving her are higher than ever.
Will fate once again separate them -- or is the time finally right for these two star-crossed lovers?
This is one of those stories that Sherryl Woods does so well, with small towns and loving but meddlesome families. When Emily and Boone were teenagers, they were in love as only teens could be. By the time they were twenty-one, Boone was ready for them to get married and settle down, but Emily had dreams she wanted to pursue first. She left home to do so, hoping that Boone would wait, but he didn't. Emily's departure left him heartbroken, but within a year he was married to another woman. Ten years later, he's a widower with a little boy, living his life as a successful restaurateur. When a hurricane brings Emily and her sisters home to help their grandmother, can they have a second chance?
There was a lot for Emily and Boone to overcome. First they had to get past the feelings of hurt and betrayal just to be friends again. Each of them had their own view of their breakup. Emily had hoped that Boone would give her the chance to chase her dream, and wait for her. She was devastated when he married someone else. Meanwhile, Boone had felt that their love wasn't important enough for her to want to stay. He saw her departure as a rejection of all that they had dreamed of. Seeing each other again made them realize that the feelings were still there, but the obstacles hadn't really changed. Emily's job is still important to her and located in California, and Boone is still tied to North Carolina.
They also have some serious trust issues because of their past. Boone isn't sure that Emily won't just walk away again if the going gets rough. He also has to protect his son from being hurt if he gets attached to Emily and things don't work out. Added to it all is that his former in-laws, mainly his mother-in-law, have been threatening to sue for custody. He suffers from a lot of guilt because she blames him for her daughter's death, and thinks that he never really loved Jenny because of Emily. Meanwhile, Emily has trouble believing that Boone will give them a fair chance, especially since he seems to be reluctant to be with her in public.
I got frustrated with both of them at times because they were both overly sensitive. Boone seemed to be constantly expecting Emily to walk away, and didn't cut her any slack when her business had problems crop up. He tried to keep her and his son apart, then blamed her when something else would keep them apart. At the same time, Emily would feel put out because Boone was trying to keep the peace with his in-laws. She didn't understand just how big a threat it was to him. She also felt like she was making all the compromises as they tried to build a new relationship. There was one point at the end where Boone made a decision that made Emily question where they were really going and if they really had any chance at all.
I liked the way that they had real issues that they needed to deal with in order to come to their happy ending. Neither one was always in the right or always in the wrong. I was a little worried that Emily was going to be the one to make all the sacrifices, and was very pleasantly surprised by the solution that Boone came up with.
The family dynamics throughout the book were fantastic. It was their love and concern for their grandmother that brought the three girls back to Sand Castle Bay, but it wasn't without drama. Each of the girls had problems that had kept them away, but family come first. All three have their own quirks and personalities that created realistic sibling relationships. They can make each other angry, but they are still there for support when it's needed. I also loved their grandmother. She is meddlesome, feeling that anything goes when it comes to doing what she thinks is best for them. I loved seeing her have her own love interest who also tried to keep her from being too interfering. Boone's love for his son BJ was obvious, even if he sometimes was overprotective. His mother-in-law was a real pain, and there were several times when I really wanted him to blast her, but he was too nice of a guy. BJ was really adorable and I loved seeing how quickly he bonded with Emily. He wasn't too good of a kid to be believable.