The Last Goodbye
Harlequin Super/February 8, 2011
From Goodreads ~
Ally Bishop knows the settling kind when she sees one. And Tyler Adamson is definitely one. Ordinarily this never-in-one-place-long girl would stay far, far away. Maybe it's the way he looks in jeans, or the way he looks at her, but suddenly Ally is breaking her own rules with dizzying speed. All that Australian temptation right next door…well, there's only so much resistance one girl can have.
As she dives into a fling with Tyler, Ally assures herself she can maintain perspective. After all, he's only here long enough to care for his ailing father. That gives them a time limit, right? With each passing day, however, she falls for Tyler more. And soon she has the strongest urge to unpack her suitcase and stay a while.
This has been in the TBR pile for a few months and while I love Sarah Mayberry, I didn't pick it up until I requested One Good Reason from NetGalley and realized the hero was the brother of the hero in The Last Goodbye. So of course I had to read this before I read that. Makes sense, no?
This story had a lot of emotional baggage. It was a boatload full for both the hero and heroine. Different, but similar. He's from an abusive home, she's never really had a permanent home. Both are still working through it in their own way. For Ally, it means not putting down roots but staying mobile by house sitting. A few months here, a few months there. Her job as a advice columnist allows her to work from anywhere, so she does. She meets Tyler when she searchers him out to let him know that his father, her neighbor, is ill. Ally is a very positive person - upbeat and kind. She's one of those people that's easy to like. The only thing that really bugged me about her was her insistence in her "gypsy" heritage. Not that her family were gypsies but that her mom traveled/roamed a lot. Never staying in one place. Ally uses that as an excuse to continuing moving. It's an excuse to not form ties with anyone, keeping her chances of pain and disappointment at a minimum. She's a smart woman, so why doesn't she realize she's not her mother?
Tyler is a successful designer of custom furniture. He has a thriving business. The one thing he doesn't have is a family. He was never really close to his older brother who lives in Canada and hasn't talked to his father in ten years. All that changes when Ally shows up and brings Tyler's past to the present. He doesn't make a very good first impression on Ally, telling her that he doesn't want anything to do with his father. Wow. But she leaves an impression on him. Tyler is a hero that doesn't like the spotlight and has is conflicted when it comes to helping his father. Mayberry does a good job showing how Tyler wants to just walk away from his father, who would try the patience of a saint, but Tyler is a decent person and can't walk away. Tyler puts up with a lot while taking care of his father and it helps that Ally's there to ease the way.
Ally and Tyler's relationship gets off to a rocky start. There is something there but Mayberry doesn't make it easy for them. Both have issues to work through before they can have a healthy relationship. Tyler's issues made more sense than Ally's. Her's didn't seem so hard to overcome and I felt like she used them more as an excuse than any great fear of commitment. I did like how she helped Tyler break down that wall of silence. He really didn't like talking about his feelings and his past.
The Last Goodbye isn't one of my favorites from Mayberry. It's a little too dark with not enough lighter moments to balance it out. The romance wasn't the main focus, instead, Tyler's messed up relationship and unresolved issues with his father took center stage.