I received this book for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan
Series: Puffin Island #1
Published by Harlequin on 2015-02-24
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Source: the Publisher via NetGalley
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Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…
It's been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of "just breathe" pep talks she's given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…
Ryan knows all about secrets. And it's clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won't let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he's going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else's hands?
I can’t help but fall for Sarah Morgan’s romances. I seriously adore her storytelling and fun romances. And this new series does not disappoint. Besides the steamy romance in this book, I really love the friendship element that shows up. Family was a strong theme in her O’Neil brothers books and I saw that in this as well but with the idea that sometimes family isn’t made by blood but by choice. I can’t wait for more books in this series!
Like I mentioned above, one of my favorite things about this book is the friendship theme. While we only meet one of the two friends that Emily talks about, we get a very good picture of their friendship and how it has developed over the years. The three met in college and bonded one night over their emotional pasts and were best friends from then on. They went on to make a pact to be there for each other whenever they needed it. That’s how Emily ended up on Puffin Island. Brittany had a place where she could hide away from the media and paparazzi and let her keep it as long as she needed. And we see Skylar several times throughout the book because she comes to help Emily with Lizzie. Emily is not prepared to be a parent. She never wanted to be a mother, because of a tragedy in her past, and Skylar knew how difficult this new situation was for her. Both of her friends come through for Emily when she needed it and I loved that she never doubted that they would. I can’t wait to get to know her friends better with each of their own books!
Of course, like all of her other books, the other reason to read this one is for the romance. The male lead, Ryan, is independent, outdoorsy, and upfront about his desires to have no responsibilities towards other people. Because of his past, he’s ready to be on his own, enjoying life the way he wants, and having to answer to no one. Except that he owes Brittany, Emily’s friend, a favor. So when she asks him to look in on Emily while she’s gone, he doesn’t hesitate. As soon as they meet, there’s chemistry. Except both Emily and Ryan have reasons for wanting to keep their distance. Of course, this being a romance and everything, feelings and wants get in the way of staying apart and their lives become complicated. They spend some time trying to figure out what it is they want and trying to respect the wishes of the other one. There’s some back and forth, some indecision, and some I like him but can’t be with him drama. But in the end, they figure out what they want and work it all out. It’s a great romance with two characters who learn about love and forgiveness and friendship and family.
There are so many great things about this book but it all really just comes down to the fact that it’s everything you’d want in a romance. There’s chemistry between the two main characters, there’s strong female friendships, there’s a sense of community and family and strength and working together, the characters grow and change throughout the book, and there’s plenty of steamy scenes. I liked the friendship theme throughout the book and I loved the addition of Lizzie and the role she played in changing Emily and Ryan and bringing them together. I loved how much the characters learned about themselves and how they learned to forgive themselves for their pasts. They helped each other see what was real and what love really was. I was not disappointed with Sarah Morgan’s new romance and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about Puffin Island and Emily’s closest friends!