Kowalski Family/Book 1
Carina Press/June 7, 2010
From Goodreads ~
When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.
Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town — and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.
He proposes an outrageous plan — for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.
But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri
Joe 2gether 4ever.
This one hasn't been on my tbr pile for long but I will confess that I got caught up in the mass of positive reviews for book 3 in this series, Yours to Keep, so I had to start this series! And it is a contemporary so I could justify bumping it up the list since it fits in with this month's category. See how that works? We readers can justify nearly anything when it comes to books. :)
A book that starts with the mention sex in the backseat of my first car* not only brings back memories, it makes me glad I didn't have that car for long. Lord, that car was ugly! Although, Joe's car is brown and my was blue, still... ugly car.
Keri and Joe were high school sweethearts who thought they had everything planned out, then Keri went and changed the plans. It's almost 20 years later and Keri is put in a position where she must go back home to and see Joe again. Her job is on the line and since her job is the Most Important Thing In Her Life, she's willing to do anything to get the story.
I felt sorry for Keri, for putting so much into her career that she had so little left to give to any other part of her life. Sure, she had friends and other interests but they held such a small part of her time. The vast majority was given to her job. And she was okay with that. I think she had become use to her life centered around her job. Then, when she goes to interview Joe she begins to see what has been missing from her life - family.
Joe *deep sigh* I adored, lusted and just plain wanted Joe. Yeah, I know, he's fictional. So what? Isn't that kinda the point? LOL Joe is this immensely popular author whose career has brought him fame and fortune but not much happiness in the romance department. He is very close with his family and Stacey does a fantastic job not only showing but explaining that bond that the Kowalski siblings have. They argue, fight, tease and torment like pros but their loyalty and love always comes through. Even with all his fame, Joe is very down to earth. He doesn't embrace his celebrity but rather hides from it. He just wants to be left alone to write and enjoy time with his family. He's easy to like and easy to get to know, kind of an open book. :) With Keri, we see his vulnerable side. We see how much her leaving hurt him. I liked seeing that in the hero. Who says they have to be strong and stoic all the time? Let them show us how they're feeling and how deep they feel. Stacey does that and does it well with Joe.
There are certainly lighter and very humorous scenes throughout Exclusively Yours brought to you by the Krazy Kowalski family. The whole camping/ATV vacation that Keri is forced to go on is an adventure in endurance, patience and fortitude with a healthy dash of irritation thrown in. She also experiences that close bond the family has and can't help getting caught up in the their wild antics. I loved how she surprised herself by actually enjoying the trip
Joe's instructions to Keri as to what to bring on the camping trip ~
BRING: Bug spray; jeans; T-shirts; several sweatshirts, at least one with a hood; one flannel shirt (mandatory); pajamas (optional); underwear (also optional); bathing suit (preferably skimpy); more bug spray; sneakers; waterproof boots; good socks; sunscreen; two rolls of quarters.
DO NOT BRING: cell phone; Blackberry; laptop; camera, either still or video; alarm clock; voice recorder; any other kind of electronic anything.
She had no clue what it meant, other than Joe wanting her half-naked and unable to text for help.
Love Shannon Stacey's humor that's splashed throughout the story. I found myself laughing out loud so much and sometimes thankful that I wasn't in Keri's shoes, which were often dirty, wet, muddy and/or stinky. :)
Keri and Joe do have a history and that history also includes Joe's twin sister Terry. There is a boatload of tension between these former BFFs and while Joe tries to keep from getting stuck in the middle, he doesn't always succeed. I thought having that secondary relationship between Keri and Terry explored, it made the overall story more realistic to have Keri tied to this family not only by Joe but by Terry.
If there was one thing that bothered me just a little it was the time spent on Terry's problems with her marriage. While I felt it was important to show how she was feeling and what she was going through, if only to explain her reaction to Keri and Joe, I did feel it took a little too much of the story away from Keri and Joe's story. And there is also some drama with Joe's other brother and his wife. So lots of drama in the Kowalski camp.
After reading Exclusively Yours I went and bought Undeniably Yours and saw Netgalley had Yours to Keep for request and was lucky enough to get that too. Knowing I have more hours of reading pleasure from the Kowalski brothers makes me one happy camper!
Books in this series ~
Yours to Keep
*1978 Ford Granada. Mine was dark blue.