Friday, November 30, 2012

A Perfect 10:

BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN – Roxanne St. Claire
Barefoot Bay , Book 2
A Perfect 10
ISBN: 978-1-455-50827-3
November 2012
Contemporary Romance

Barefoot Bay, Florida – Present Day

Jocelyn Bloom is known as the “Life Coach to the Stars” but never expected she'd become entangled in a scandal as the “other woman.” The press is hot on her tail, so she heads to the last place she hopes they don't expect her to be, Barefoot Bay, where she spent her childhood but has barely set foot on since. Jocelyn's friend, Lacey, is building a new resort there and invites her to stay in one of the villas. However, Jocelyn isn't aware that her childhood friend (and former pro baseball player) Will Palmer is working at the resort. It doesn't take long for them to run into each other, and for Jocelyn to learn that Will is watching over her father, Guy, who now has Alzheimer's. The two people from her past that she'd rather forget about are now a big part of each other's lives.

Will's life is on hold while he hopes a team will call him with a coaching job, so he's working at the resort. He lives next door to Guy and has watched the man slowly deteriorate from the belligerent cop who threatened him when he discovered Will and Jocelyn in a compromising position. While he somewhat understands Jocelyn's reluctance to come back to Barefoot Bay after all these years, he can't understand why she won't take pity on her father now. But when Guy mistakes Jocelyn for a television hostess of a show he watches, she's suddenly pulled into Guy's life once more, as well as being around Will. Will is aware of the scandal involving Jocelyn and doesn't believe the stories, yet he can't understand why she won't face the press to deny the charges. Both Will and Jocelyn have to deal with their demons, but how can they if they won't open up to each other?

A return to Mimosa Key Island and Barefoot Bay wasn't in the plans for Jocelyn in BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN. She's successful in her career and pushed her abusive father into the past, as well as her blissful memories of Will that turned into a nightmare the night they got caught about to do the “act” by her father. But she's now being pursued by the tabloids as Hollywood's Golden Couple is facing a marriage crisis—with Jocelyn named as the mistress. An SOS call has Jocelyn's friends, Lacey, Zoe and Tessa, banding together to help her. Jocelyn had hoped to stay away from Guy, but running into Will puts her on the spot. Is the father she once loved and then hated really ill with Alzheimer's? Then there is Will…she loved him and wanted him, but on that fateful day years ago, everything changed. She doesn't want to relive the past, even as it becomes clear she needs to open up and tell Will the whole truth.

Will should hate Guy, but when he returned to Mimosa Key after his pro career fizzled, the old man was already fading fast. In his confused state, Guy thinks Will is his son, and oddly, Will lets him. Guy can't remember Jocelyn and mistakes her for a member of the Clean House television series, thinking she is there to organize his house. Jocelyn and Will don't have the heart to tell him the truth, because it allows her a chance to see her father up close. How can a man who terrorized her late mother turn into a pussycat who now does needlecraft? Will wants Jocelyn to face her past and deal with the fact that Guy is ill. She just wants to dump the old man in a retirement home. Then there is the scandal that brought Jocelyn back…why won't she discuss the truth with Will even though she denies she's a home wrecker? What—or whom—is she protecting?

Roxanne St. Claire has penned a stunning tale with BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN, and one that I found hard to put down. There are childhood best friends Jocelyn and Will, both shaped by the past with a lot of unfinished business between them. Guy may have been an ogre years ago, but the disease has reduced his memory to that of a child. Jocelyn's friends, Lacey, Zoe and Tessa, will do anything for her, yet even they don't know of her past, except that Will apparently is the one she can't forget. The Barefoot Bay series is about the four ladies, and Lacey's book, BAREFOOT IN THE SAND, is already out and ties in with this tale.

Jocelyn's secrets are held tight inside her even though readers will likely figure out the truth. Her steadfast vow to not betray her friends, and how she eventually reconnects with Will is a big part of BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN. A page turner from the start, there is rarely a dull moment to be found and is the reason why BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN well deserves a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today. Get to know Jocelyn, Will, and everyone else by picking this up and discovering why BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN is a book not to be missed this month.

Patti Fischer

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