All I Want Is You - Toni Blake

Series: Coral Cove (Book 1)

Sometimes you have to create your own destiny . . .

 

Christy Knight grew up in Destiny, Ohio, but lately she feels that her future lies elsewhere. Her parents are gone and the beautiful jewelry she creates doesn't pay the bills. Maybe it's time for Christy to grow up and find a guy who's smart, sexy, and solvent. Her rugged handyman neighbor fits the first two categories, but he's all wrong for her. If only he didn't have such captivating blue eyes.

 

Wary of trusting others, Jack DuVall hasn't been entirely honest with Christy. He's not really a handyman. He's not really broke. And sharing the long drive to visit her beloved grandpa isn't just about gallantry -- he finds gorgeous, feisty Christy completely irresistible.

 

When secrets are exposed, Jack and Christy struggle to find their way back to one another, but the quirky seaside town of Coral Cove could prove the perfect place to find a red-hot destiny of their own.

 

Good start to the new series. Christy is a sweet young woman, but things have not gone well for her lately. Her parents were killed in a house fire, leaving Christy alone except for her grandfather, who lives in an assisted living center in Florida. There had also been no insurance money, so Christy had to leave college and find a way to make a living. Not easy back home in Destiny, so she moves to the city where she is barely making ends meet. When she finds out her grandfather faces having to leave the center because of money issues, she knows she has to do something. Her roommate convinces her that it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one, and that's what she needs to do.

 

It's a solution that doesn't sit well with Christy, but she's out of ideas and she's desperate. The lead up to her first "rich guy" date is a comedy of errors, involving running late, locked doors, and clothing issues. Her inability to get into her apartment sends her to her neighbor, Jack, whom she begs to kick down her door so she can get in. While the date fizzles, her meeting with her neighbor sizzles. He's hot, he's nice, and parts of her really sit up and take notice. But he's a handyman, and therefore can't be part of her plan.

 

Jack is rather amused by his neighbor, who at first seems to be a bit of a mess. He can't believe what she wants him to do, but goes along with it. Then he offers his help to repair the damage, and witnesses the non-start of her special date. He hears all about her problem with her grandfather and what her solution is. Jack is really attracted to her, but he has some issues that tell him to keep his distance. He has a bit of a white knight complex and that tends to get him involved with people that end up using him. The worst of it was when he fell in love and married, only to find out that his wife was more interested in what he could give her than in who he was. Because Jack is more than just a handyman. By day he owns his own online investment counseling company, and in his spare time he renovates and sells houses. He is quite wealthy. But he has discovered that it is hard to tell these days if a woman he is dating is really interested in him. So he doesn't tell Christy everything about himself, leaving her to believe he's just a poor as she is.

 

It's at this point that a friendship starts to build between Christy and Jack. He offers to make some repairs to her place and they spend time together just talking. He witnesses the disasters of some of her later dates. He knows he should stay away from her because of his issues and her needs, but he just can't help himself. And when she decides to make a trip to Florida to see her grandfather, Jack's protective instincts kick in and he offers to go along for the ride. Christy is hesitant at first because of the way he makes her feel, but gives in with little persuasion. It doesn't take too long for Christy to realize that her original plan was a terrible idea. It had never felt right and the more she's around Jack the more she realizes money is the wrong thing to base a relationship on. But having told Jack her plans, she can't figure out how to tell him she's changed her mind.

 

I loved seeing them together in Coral Cove. Christy's past has made her a bit low on the self confidence side. She makes beautiful jewelry, but is afraid to try selling it for fear it won't do well. Jack gives her the encouragement she needs to try, and his confidence in her gives her the courage to really look at the possibilities. Because he wasn't always rich, he remembers what it's like to be nervous about going after your dreams. Jack also introduces her to the fun of simple things, like beach shows, quirky hotels and unusual restaurants. The time she spends with him has her falling in love with him a little more each day.

 

As Jack gets to know Christy, he realizes that she isn't really a gold-digger, she's just trying to take care of her grandfather. The attraction he feels for her gets stronger, but he also begins to like the person she is. I loved the way he called her Alice. He starts to fall for her sweetness. He had logical reasons for hiding the truth from her at the beginning, but now it's starting to eat at him. The guilt has a tendency to have him pull back just as they start to get closer, frustrating both of them. He knows he has to tell her the truth but isn't sure how she's going to react.

 

I understood his reasons for not telling her at first, but not really any excuse for not coming clean sooner. He held onto his secrets a little too long, and when he confessed Christy was hurt and angry. She felt he had betrayed her trust in him. At this point I felt that both of them needed to let go a little. I felt that Jack was a bit arrogant in thinking she should get over her anger quickly. The depth of her hurt and anger seemed to surprise him. But I also felt that Christy shouldn't have held on to her anger quite so long. After all, it was her actions that had made him reluctant to tell the truth to start with. I did like the way that it made Christy determined to solve her problems herself and the solution she came up with. I also loved how, with her grandfather's help, Jack was finally able to make amends with Christy and they got the future they wanted. The epilogue was great.

 

I loved the setting of Coral Cove. The previous series of Destiny, Ohio, was terrific and this looks to be just as good. The secondary characters are all great. I loved Christy's grandfather, and his own look into his past loves and mistakes made a great parallel to Christy and Jack. It had a nice twist at the end also. I really enjoyed meeting some of the other people, too. Reece and his iguana pet were interesting, and I'd love to see more of him. I'm also intrigued by Fletcher, the tightrope walker, and his story. I'd love to know more about him.