The quiet town of Hartwell is the perfect place to get away from it all – and find what you never knew you needed . . .
Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content – her successful business, a close circle of friends and her steady boyfriend . . . even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.
Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.
Once Vaughn begins to realise he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime . . .
Before starting my review, I’m going to be completely honest. Although I did enjoy The One Real Thing, I was in two minds on whether to continue with the series. It wasn’t that Young’s writing wasn’t as good as it had always been, but I hadn’t felt the instant connection as I did with her previous On Dublin Street Series. The major factor in me continuing with the series was down to the fact that this book was about Bailey and Vaughn, the two supporting characters in the first book who just seemed so right for each other. Boy, am I glad I did because this book just grabbed me from the get go. Seriously, this book is not one of the best, if not best books Young has written. (And I LOVED the On Dublin Street Series)
Every Little Thing has one of my favourite tropes in the romance genre. There is just something about two people who seem to rub each other up the wrong way, that it is clear to see that they have an attraction to each other. Bailey and Vaughn are two such characters. Every interaction between them is a battle of wits. You see that they both enjoy these little quips, even though a few times the retorts edge into that area where they deeply hurt rather than the harmless quips. Neither character comes across as innocent, with Vaughn and Bailey dishing out some stinging blows. It is during these clashes, you see beneath the mask they have in place.
As with the first book, the threat that hangs over the community is the threat of the property moguls, The Devlins. Again, it is their attempt to gain a footing on the Boardwalk that unites our couple. This isn’t the main plot of the book and since the Devlin’s nefarious plot doesn’t really come to fruition till the end of the book, I’m fearful that this could become repetitive in the series.
Hopefully, this may come to a close if the next book is about Jack Devlin, the youngest son in the Devlin Clan, and the reclusive bookstore owner Emery. We may get the answers to why Jack slept with Cooper’s first wife and why it seems he is intent on helping the Boardwalk fight off his father’s ambitions. Only with this instalment, I hope we see a move away from the Devlin’s trying to take over the Boardwalk.
With regards to the two main characters, my fondness for them only grew with this book. Both Vaughn and Bailey were the main reason I liked The One Real Thing so much. To get to know them better in this book was such a joy.
From the get go, I knew that Bailey’s relationship with her current beau, Tom, was doomed from the start of the series. There was no spark or life to them and she seemed to be going through the motions. I didn’t get why she was with Tom and why is seemed she was running scared from her attraction to Vaughn. When this mystery is finally solved, it made much more sense. I also saw the deep vulnerability to Bailey that she kept so well hidden. It showed that even the most outgoing person can have issues about their self-confidence. When she finally let go and trusted Vaughn, I couldn’t help but hope that this would turn out for the best.
What was nice was the fact that even though Vaughn does help Bailey heal, he isn’t the only person in her life to help and support her. Vaughn complements, rather than saves Bailey, which is nice to read.
As for Vaughn, this book shines light into the mysterious business man. In the first book, we didn’t really find out much about him, except for the fact that he was a successful businessman. This book gives us a lot and when you find out his backstory, you get to see how Vaughn became the man he is. The most surprising thing was his family background. Most of the time, the leading men in these type of books have either father or mother issues, but apart from a family tragedy, Vaughn and his father had a pretty stable and healthy relationship. In fact, when we meet his father, I fell for the silver fox. (Ok, I don’t know if he had grey hair, but he does in my mind). Vaughns issues go deeper and as I said previously, Bailey is the person who breaks down his emotional walls.
Apart from the mysterious Jack, Vaughn was and still is one of my favourite characters in the book. I couldn’t help but get an image of Vaughn crossing paths with Brandon from the On Dublin Street series. These two could either be adversaries or partners and it would be something I would love to see.
Since this is Vaughn and Bailey’s book, the ending is a pretty slam dunk for these two, but as always, Young plants the seeds for the next books in the series. This series has quickly become a living, breathing community that you become invested in the inhabitants lives.
Young stated at the beginning of the book that she suffered writers block during the process of writing this book. Yet, for me this is one if not the best book that Young has written. Vaughn and Bailey are one of my favourite couples, from both series. They have a chemistry and likeability that is difficult to create in a realistic way.
Young is growing as writer and she is the queen of steamy scenes. She weaves the story and the sex scenes in such a natural way, which adds to the characters journey. Take a trip to Hartwell. You will not regret it.
HARTS BOARDWALK SERIES IN ORDER
1 The One Real Thing
2 Every Little Thing