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Everyone needs to be rescued sometimes.
Everyone but Hannah Montgomery, that is. She just needs a vacation. Three weeks in New Zealand to sort out her life, figure out what she wants, seems just right. Oh, and to relax. She should definitely put that on the agenda. She certainly isn’t looking for a fling with a professional rugby player, no matter how attractive he is. Hannah doesn’t do casual. But maybe just this once. . .
Drew Callahan is happy to help Hannah find all the fun she’s been missing. But as much as he’s shared with her, he’s kept one very big secret. And learning the truth, now that she’s back home again, has made Hannah warier than ever. Drew knows that she’s right for him. But how can he convince her to let down her guard enough to explore what they could have together?
“I have a commitment in Auckland tomorrow,” Drew told her when he had docked at the marina and they were back in the ute again. “But I’ll be here the next day. Can I take you to dinner?”
“Sure. I’ll be here four more days, and I’d like that.”
He frowned. “Where are you off to next?”
“Rotorua. Not sure I’m pronouncing it right. That seems to be someplace I need to visit. Where they have the geothermal area. But I wanted a week here first. My beach vacation.”
“Yeh,” he smiled. “I know Rotorua, a bit. I’ll pick you up at seven-thirty, then, day after tomorrow.”
“What should I wear?”
“No place too posh on the Coromandel. What you had on yesterday was good.”
“Good to know. I’ll look forward to it. And thank you for today. I loved it. That was one of the best adventures I’ve ever had.”
“Led an exciting life, have you?” he asked drily.
“Not so much,” she admitted. “Making up for it a bit now, I guess. Almost drowning yesterday, and going for my first snorkel today.”
“Glad to help with your adventures,” he assured her as he pulled up to her motel.
By the time he came around to help her out of the tall vehicle, she had already opened the door and hopped down.
“You’re disappointing my mum again,” he sighed. “Here I was, ready to show you my manners, and you didn’t give me the chance.”
“Tell your mother I’m very impressed, so far. And thanks again,” she said as she turned at her motel door.
And that’s as far as you’re getting today, boy, he told himself. Never mind, he had a fair bit of determination. And every intention of using it.
“I’ll see you day after tomorrow, then.” He took her by the shoulders and kissed her gently, his mouth moving over hers, keeping it soft. And felt the zing of the contact straight down to his groin. Oh, yes. There was chemistry there, no worries.
He stepped back and saw her smiling up at him, pulled her closer, and kissed her again with a bit more heat, giving into temptation and letting his tongue briefly touch the deep bow of her upper lip. He’d been staring at that bow all day, and he was only human, after all. He let her go at last, and watched as she unlocked her door and stepped inside.
Four more days. Good as gold.
Ms. James had me at New Zealand. I don’t know what it is about New Zealand or Australia. Both countries are on my bucket list but I think New Zealand would wins hands down in the contest of what country to see first. Maybe I’ve watched too many House Hunters International. The scenery is breathtaking and the way of life is slower. Ms. James vivid descriptions of the country, culture and national sport just make me that much earnest in getting down there to visit. I want to go to the beach, watch a rugby match and see the countryside. She paints a picture of New Zealand that is not hard to imagine. The story is realistic, poignant and heartwarming. The setting is a character in the book.
Hannah, oh Hannah. How I wanted to throttle you at times, hug you at times and cry with you at times. I understood her feeling of inadequacy in herself. Dealing with family issues, an ungrateful boss and a social life that just isn’t there, how was she supposed to truly open up to Drew. She didn’t know how; closed herself off for so long. When she decided to take the trip, she never imagined that she would meet someone, let alone fall for him? It was only three weeks for a well deserved vacation; not a lifetime. For this reader, Hannah was a well thought out character. Yes, she could be stubborn but that was one of her coping skills. In the end, Hannah realized what she wanted and went for it. Good girl! 🙂
Drew was perfect. Yes, perfect. He played rugby, fished, loved his family and his country. And he loved Hannah. What more could a girl want, right? Well, in a romance novel the hero usually has a flaw or two and they are big. Obstacles to overcome, right? What’s his truest black moment in the book? I know what it is, but you will need to read the book to find out. In this book, Drew is the rare hero that you instantly care about from the beginning. He’s simple (in a good way) man, motivated in his actions toward Hannah and lord, he could probably benchpress a small car. Ooooo, how I love rugby players for that alone. I know that most readers want their hero flawed in some way, will I don’t. Yes, I admit it. Sometimes, I want the hero to be perfect and Drew was perfect. Not ever hero in a book needs to be an a**hole for half the book before we really get to know him.
The introducation of the secondary characters are rich, understated and move the story. They are not just window dressing; sounding boards or lackeys. Hannah’s sister and brother deserve their own happiness one day and I hope I get to read about it. *wink* The scenes at the family farm with Drew’s parents are poignant and heartwarming. It was also nice to see a “normal” family with a great relationship with their superstar son. No airs, no upgrades to their lifestyle; it was home, Drew’s refuge from the world of rugby.
Just This Once in a nutshell, is a story of one scared American woman that decides for once to something for herself. Take the bull by the horns and live; drink too much; buy shoes she can’t afford; and have a fling. When she meets the perfect man for her, she throws up road block, after road block, after road block. Our hero is determined though and manages to break down the walls that she has built. Its sexy, funny, dialogue driven and I swear I could feel the breeze off the beach. By the way, how did this sand get in my shoes?
Rosalind James is the author of three romance/women’s fiction novels in the “Escape to New Zealand” series, and is hard at work now on the fourth book. A marketing professional and publishing industry veteran, she has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.
Rosalind self-published the first three books in the “Escape to New Zealand” on August 31, 2012, and offered the first book, “Just This Once,” as a free download through Amazon’s Kindle Select program on September 7. The book was downloaded over 14,500 times in three days, reaching #2 in Women’s Contemporary Fiction, #7 in all Romance, and #23 among all free Kindle books. Within four days of the promotion, James had sold over 800 books, and “Just This Once” had reached #82 in Women’s Contemporary Fiction in the Amazon store. James credits the book’s overnight success to the fact that “everyone would like to escape to New Zealand! I know I did!”