Waylaid by Sarina Bowen

Title: Waylaid
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: The True North Series

 

It’s a tale as old as time: the bad boy meets the good girl. He makes a daring proposition. Then the boy gets a mysterious head injury and loses a year of his life…

The first time I meet Rickie, I don’t know what to make of him. The second time we meet, he doesn’t remember the six hours we spent together. Or standing me up afterward.

I’m not the same, either. I’ve got secrets. I’ve told lies. Bad boys aren’t my type, anyway. Even the ones with troubled gray eyes.

But now we’re roommates. Cue the awkward moments in the hallway when he’s wearing only a towel and a smile. He’s determined to win me over, and his talented hands weaken my resolve.

It’s all fun and games until my past rears its ugly head and his secrets come to light, shaking our fragile connection, maybe even breaking it…

Note: this is Daphne Shipley’s story. Contents include Vermonty ice cream flavors, nerdy awkwardness, tattoos, and a playboy grandpa.

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I read all the way to the highway exit, but I only get halfway through the first article. It’s dense and full of statistical analysis that’s over my head.

By the time Rickie rolls down the exit ramp, I feel the onset of a full-blown case of imposter syndrome. Dr. Drummond is expecting me to be sharp. What if they ask me to work on this type of analysis, and I can’t do it?

“I see the ice cream place,” Rickie says. “But there’s no entrance back onto the highway. What the hell?”

“Doesn’t matter,” I mumble. “It’s three miles down a side road to exit 6.” I close the journal with a sigh. I feel so panicky right now. I’ve always tried to be the smartest girl in the room. But it’s all an act. I’m obviously the worst kind of dunce—the kind that can’t see her own mistakes until it’s way too late. (See: the last twelve months of my life.)

Is it normal to have a midlife crisis right before your twenty-first birthday?

Rickie rolls into the gravel parking lot of the Dreamy Creemee and puts the truck in a shady spot. He rolls down the windows before killing the engine. It’s getting toward dinner hour, so there aren’t many people here. Just a couple of moms pushing toddlers on the swing set.

And I’m quietly having a panic attack in the passenger seat.

I take a slow but shaky breath. Do I even want ice cream? Is there a flavor on that signboard that could take me out of my own head? I reach for the door handle, but Rickie stops me.

“Look,” he says. “About that time we shared a ride home from Connecticut…”

No,” I say forcefully. If he makes me relive that embarrassing experience, I might lose my cool. “Just forget it, okay? So what if you ghosted me?”

His eyes widen. But my rant is only picking up steam.

“None of that matters. I didn’t even blame you. And the only way I’m going to make it through this year is if I put Connecticut behind me, okay? Just leave it alone.”

My voice cracks on that last word, and I realize that I might actually cry. Which is a thing I never do. But Harkness College was my dream, and I blew it. My damn eyes get hot and my throat constricts.

“S-so just forget it,” I squeak. “It’s already in the past. It can just stay there.”

Rickie’s gray eyes are soft now. And they’re moving closer. To my utter surprise, he leans forward and presses a kiss to my lips.

So soft, my brain sputters.

“Shh,” he says against my lips. His kiss is warm and unhurried. Like a ray of sunshine when you’re shivering.

For once, my squirrel brain forgets to scurry. And I just let it happen. He kisses me again. It’s still gentle. His bright eyes measure me. I don’t know what he sees. But whatever it is, he decides he likes it.

Those soft lips brush and press. Again. And I’m only human. Rickie’s surprisingly tender kiss has caught me at a vulnerable moment. I lean in, experimenting with the slide and pressure of his mouth against mine. A sizzle of heat flashes across my skin. It’s the strangest sensation—as if he’s transferred an ounce of that devil-may-care attitude across the steering column and right into my soul. I drink him in, lips parted. Ready for him to take it further.

But then it ends. Rickie sits back, his head cocked to the side, as if in deep contemplation.

I’m bereft. “Wh-what was that for?” I stammer.

I expect a smirk. But his expression remains soft. “You seemed a little freaked. So I brought you to an ice cream place on a hot summer’s day. But that wasn’t enough, apparently. You needed even more distraction. So I gave it to you. And I’m good at that. A real specialist.”

Replying is impossible. All I can do is sit here and try to process that kiss. That lovely kiss.

He really has some nerve.

 

 

Waylaid takes us back to Sarina Bowen’s world of True North, and I couldn’t be any happier to visit everyone in this Vermont town. While Waylaid is part of a series, it can easily be read as a complete standalone novel, but trust me, once you get started, you will want to come back to this world as often as possible.

Rickie Ralls is spending the summer on the Shipley’s farm. This puts him up close and personal to Daphne Shipley — a woman he is drawn to but has no memory of. Daphne wants nothing to do with Rickie. After all, he doesn’t even remember that he knows her! But will they be able to ignore the chemistry between them?

I freaking LOVED this book (not a surprise!) The storyline was excellent. At first, it may seem like a typical playboy and the girl he never called but then… then… BAM! You realize there is so much more to this. Layers upon layers that are pulled back as we watch these two fall for each other. As they learn to trust each other. As they fight for each other.

And the characters… man, it is like going back home to visit the family! Whenever you get all the Shipley’s together, you know that you are in for a treat! And seriously, Grandpa! I adore that man!!!
Not to mention that I fell for Rickie and Daphne fast. My heart broke for them. I wanted to jump in the pages and just give them a big hug (and I am NOT a hugger! lol). I wanted to be able to fix all their problems. But… they didn’t need me. They had each other, and that’s all that they needed.

Waylaid is a sexy, small-town, heartwarming novel that will stay with me for a long time.

Sarina Bowen is the award-winning author of more than thirty contemporary novels. She has hit the USA Today bestseller’s list thirteen times and counting. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina’s books are published in a dozen languages on four continents.

Connect with Sarina

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