I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.So Right by Darcy Burke
Series: Love on the Vine #2
Published by Darcy Burke on February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: the author
Barnes & Noble
Kelsey McDade realizes that her love life is one and done. Her last—and only—relationship left her broken and afraid and more than ready to be alone for the long haul. But sexy-charming vineyard manager Luke Westcott pushes all of her buttons in the right way and makes her wonder if she ought to try again.
In nearly twenty-eight years, Luke’s most successful romance has been with the outdoors. Currently single, he’s happy to pour all of his energy into his new winery until Kelsey provokes feelings he didn’t know he was capable of. He can envision their future together—if she’ll let down her guard.
When the ghost of Kelsey’s past causes her to slam on the brakes, Luke is ready to fight for her, even if it means sacrificing himself in the process. Convinced she’s only made wrong choices in the past, Kelsey must decide if Luke—and their love—is worth the greatest risk of all.
Some fairly minor spoilers ahead.
So Right is the second book in the Love on the Vine series, which, I believe, is a spin-off, or continuation of Darcy Burke’s Ribbon Ridge series. I’ve read some of the Ribbon Ridge books, not all of them, but that didn’t have an impact on my reading of this book. It was easily read as a standalone.
Kelsey has been in Ribbon Ridge for a few years, but it’s a small town, and she’s still considered a newbie. She’s really settled in and made a home for herself, though she keeps herself on the periphery of everything, not letting anyone get too close. She started a library for the town, which it had been lacking, and she works there full-time, while also working part time at the local bar, the Arch and Vine, waiting tables. There are people she’s friendly with, people she knows, but no really close friends, and definitely no boyfriend.
Luke Westcott was born and raised in Ribbon Ridge. He’s had a few long-term relationships, but none of them really stuck. He’s been doing some soul-searching and realizing he does want to settle down, but he also has some commitment and intimacy issues. He’s been interested in Kelsey since they met, but he gets some pretty strong stay-away vibes from her, so he hasn’t seriously pursued her yet. Until now.
This story was sweet and charming, and the sex, while on the page, was pretty standard; there wasn’t anything here I’d consider boundary-pushing in that respect. I’ve come to expect really great characters from Darcy Burke, and So Right was no different. Kelsey and Luke were both fully developed characters, as were the supporting cast. There just wasn’t anything new or revolutionary here. And, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of the abusive boyfriend/husband as back story. So many authors and stories are relying on this to inform their characters current actions, and to give the main character a reason to be wary and to not want to get involved with the hero, and it’s a guaranteed way to add some dramatic tension to the story – Will the ex show up? What will happen?? But unless the ex is dead, it’s a given that he’ll show up, even if he’s currently sitting in jail, and it’s not nearly as dramatically tense as authors seem to think. And for the most part, these books aren’t doing any deep dives into the issue, they’re using it as a crutch without really saying anything about it.
So Right did a slightly better job with that than most. There’s a scene when the ex has shown up and Luke hauls off and hits him just on general principle. Instead of swooning with gratitude at his testosterone-fueled chivalry, Kelsey is appalled and runs off. In her eyes, violence is violence and she wants no part of it. She takes some time, and when she and Luke meet up again, she talks to him about it, explains her feelings. This is a pretty big component that a lot of romances miss. Real people in adult relationships talk to each other and explain why they’re upset by something. They explain their reasoning, and the other person listens. They may or may not agree, but they at least listen, and that’s an aspect to Kelsey and Luke’s relationship I appreciated. They may initially go off for their own space, but they come back and talk things out.
Every time I read a book by Darcy Burke, I say I need to read more of them, and this time is no exception. I missed the first book in this Love on the Vine series, and now I really want to read it. And I’m really excited for the third book, too. I dearly love a romance with an age difference, particularly when it’s the woman who’s older. It lends and interesting dynamic, and I can’t wait to see what Darcy Burke does with it.