Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Sent
When running is all you’ve ever known . . .
Caught between fight and flight, Zoe Tamarin has always picked flight. Since she was rescued from a nightmare childhood by her great-aunt Pasha, they’ve been on the move, never staying in one place long enough to risk exposing their precarious past. But now that they’ve reached the sun-baked shores of Barefoot Bay, Zoe may have to stay and fight–for her aunt’s life . . . and for a love she ran from years before.
Sometimes the bravest act of all is to stand still.
Oliver Bradbury came to Florida to start over, as both a doctor and a father to his eight-year-old son. He never expected life to hand him a second chance with the woman he lost years ago–but one look at Zoe Tamarin and he knows he’ll do whatever it takes to prove that this time, he can be the man she needs. But when demands of family and friendship threaten to shatter their rekindled passion, Oliver must heal Zoe’s lifelong wounds with more than hot kisses . . . but will that be enough to keep her from flying off with his heart?
Zoe Tamarin was an unusual heroine. For most of her life she has been a drifter with no real connection to anywhere. To say her childhood was less than ideal would be an understatement, and she was basically kidnapped by her great-aunt Pasha in order to escape it. Together they have lived their lives on the run, staying under the radar for over two decades. Moving around is nothing new to Zoe – home for her is wherever Pasha is. She’s never allowed herself to put down roots or form attachments with anyone, with one exception. Dr. Oliver Bradbury was the one man capable of breaking down some of her defenses. She fell in love with him and thought he’d be someone she could finally trust with her secret.
The moment Zoe confided about her past, or lack thereof, with Oliver was a disaster. Not only did he disagree with her need to live on the run, he received some staggering news of his own at the exact same time. Learning he fathered a child left him reeling, and focused on that, he unwittingly allowed Zoe to slip away. When Zoe realized Oliver wanted her to confront her past and get her life straightened out, she panicked and once again she & Pasha ran. Unable to track her down, and despite Oliver’s love for Zoe, he chose to marry the woman carrying his child.
Fast forward nine years. Oliver is divorced with custody of his son for the summer. He has moved to a new town and opened a practice specializing in experimental medicine. It is there that Zoe tracks him down. Life has thrown her another curve – Pasha has cancer. A woman living on the run without identification, let alone health insurance, has no way to receive treatment. Zoe is desperate to get help for the only family she’s ever known. Having tracked Oliver down, she pretty much offers him whatever he wants in return for helping her aunt. Seeing him again brings all of her old feelings for him right back to the surface, but she is determined to put all that aside and focus on Pasha.
Oliver is stunned when Zoe reappears in his life. He has lived without her for nine years, but he’s never stopped thinking about her and wished things could have been different for them. Their old attraction flares back to life immediately, although he is reluctant to give in to Zoe’s demands. Helping a patient get well is part of his life’s work. Helping them get well completely off the books goes against everything he believes to be right. Despite the complication that Pasha’s treatment brings to their romance, their feelings for each other can’t be ignored.
I liked Oliver a lot as a hero. He was strong and smart and his failure to really come to terms with the decisions he made in the past, as well as his fledgling relationship with his son, both give him a vulnerability that was so endearing. He can’t help but feel that he let Zoe down all those years ago, and he is determined to prove himself to her this time. The heat between Zoe and Oliver was scorching, and it was obvious that neither could resist the other. Unfortunately, I had a hard time with Zoe. I didn’t like her, I didn’t dislike her. I felt a little sorry for her, but couldn’t really relate to her at all. I did like Zoe’s interactions with her friends, who each have a story in this series, but thought the romance was just lacking something.
The writing in this book was good, and most of the time that, plus a great hero, is enough to redeem a book. The lack of any real intensity, though, coupled with my ambivalence for Zoe, made this just a so-so read for me. It wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t care very much about them or their story.
I give Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Clare 3 stars