Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra (Dare Island #2)

Carolina Girl by Virginia KantraAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Pam

Meg Fletcher spent her childhood dreaming of escaping Dare Island-her family’s home for generations. So after she landed a high-powered job in New York City, she left and never looked back. But when she loses both her job and the support of her long-term, live-in boyfriend, she returns home to lick her wounds and reevaluate her life.

Helping out her parents at the family inn, she can’t avoid the reminders of the past she’d rather forget-especially charming and successful Sam Grady, her brother’s best friend.Their one, disastrous night of teenage passion should have forever killed their childhood attraction, but Sam seems determined to reignite those long-buried embers. As Meg discovers the man he’s become, she’s tempted to open her vulnerable heart to him. But she has no intention of staying on Dare Island-no matter how seductive Sam’s embrace might be.

This is the second in the Dare Island series, an intriguing romance wrapped up with family drama that tugs at your heart strings until the end.

Megan Fletcher is coming home for the second time in several weeks. When her mom had a car accident she came home to help around the Inn and be with the family. This time she is coming home because she lost her job (her absence was noticed) and her boyfriend suggests she take time to reflect. She has worked at Franklin Insurance since her graduation from Harvard and her life revolves around her work, she even lives with the CFO, Derek, who she is now wondering about, he pushes her away without any compassion about what she is going through.

Sam Grady grew up on Dare Island and since he was fifteen he has spent more time at the Fletcher’s home than his own. His father was more interested in building his business and getting married than having a son around. Sam and Megan have a bit of history together other than her family, one they both thought it was best to forget, yet it seems to be on both of their minds as he picks her up at the airport. They have not seen much of each other in eighteen years and he feels guilty about how he treated her after that night. Now he is determined to get to know her again, ready to make her feel about him how he feels about her.

Between their mother Tess coming home, Megan explaining to the family about her job, the granddaughter Taylor’s custody hearing, the family worrying about Luke at war – this family drama is over the top, yet the story flows well and you just want to read on to find out what happens.

I liked Megan; she is an intelligent woman who felt she needed to prove to the world she was more than a military brat, so she worked her way to Harvard and the heart of New York City, never realizing that the last six years of her life have not made her happy. Her boyfriend Derek just proves she is right when she goes to visit him – what a jerk. Ugh, I just wanted to beat him, I hated that she continued to defend him when she first came back home. Sam on the other hand is such a sweetie; he is smart, sexy and after eighteen years knows what he wants, he wants Megan. His devotion to the Fletcher family is endearing and heartfelt, he truly treats them as part of his family and the feeling is mutual. I like Sam and Megan together, they have an attraction that steams up the pages and even though he moves forward and she keeps stepping back, it is fun to watch. They agree to take it slow, one day at a time, but we all know when the attraction is strong, that goes out the window quickly.

This story is so much about the family and what they are feeling, we watch as Matt and Allison plan to get married, the family worrying about Luke in Afghanistan and the two teens who have their own angst to get through. I feel so much for Taylor, the ten year old that was dropped at the Fletcher home several months ago, she just cries out for attention and as much as the family tries to tell her they want her and love her, she still has trouble believing. To add to the problems is the custody battle that pulls her in different directions and pulls at my heart, I felt like crying several times with her POV.

I have read the first book in this series and this second installment definitely does a great job at continuing the story arc. I love the Fletcher’s and how they treat each other “back to back to back”. Ms. Kantra’s telling of family life is realistic and full of tears and laughter and I recommend this wonderful contemporary romance. Although many of the same characters from the first book are in this story, it can easily be read as a standalone. The transition between books works well and I am looking forward to reading Luke’s story next, I am sure it will tie up several of the continuing story lines.

I give Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra 4.0 stars!

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