Giveaway: Katie will be awarding an eCopy of Stepping Up To Love to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Make sure you leave a comment and email. Good luck!
Stepping Up to Love
by Katie O’Boyle
When her boss Joel Cushman catches her using the spa shower at The Manse, junior accountant and graduating college senior Manda Doughty comes clean about the alcoholic drinking that has led her into a disastrous relationship with a predatory professor. Joel, who is also a trustee of the college, is faced with more problems than a beautiful, naked woman in his shower. While he’d rather make love all night with funny, brainy Manda, Joel knows his desire for her has no future if Manda cannot stay sober, grow up, and face her problems. While Manda immerses herself in AA, Joel uncovers harassment and embezzlement that threaten the existence of the college his ancestors founded. Can he fix the problems at the college without exposing Manda to public humiliation? Can Manda clean up her mess and trust the love she feels for Joel? The odds may not be in their favor, but miracles happen for those who are willing to change their lives and open their hearts.
“I got the plea from Remy to go easy on you, but I’m not inclined to do that.” He perched on the corner of his desk and glared down at her. “What were you thinking, living with this lothario professor? Aren’t you supposed to be a student? A top-of-your-class business major, the kind we’re proud to employ at an upscale inn and spa? Do you get that’s not consistent with shacking up with some divorced sot that doesn’t know how to keep it in his pants?” He bet that was language she never expected to hear from Joel Cushman.
“I so don’t deserve that!” Manda glared at him.
He glared right back. He wanted to wring her neck, her beautiful bruised neck.
“And quit yelling at me. I’ve had enough explosions.” She choked on the last word. She pressed the back of her hand to her nose to stop it running.
Joel crossed the room, grabbed a box of tissues, and tossed it at her. “Use these.”
“Thank you.” She pulled two out of the box and dried her eyes and nose.
“Nice clothes. You need a scarf. Ask Remy for one. You’ve got three minutes to save your job.”
You know that Harlie likes it sweet and inspirational and this book has it in spades. Don’t worry, its not preachy but after reading Manda’s story and everything that she had and is living through, it is inspirational.
I have to give Ms. O’Boyle a standing ovation for her knowledge of AA and every aspect that you will encounter. I was a member of Al-Anon for years because of my grandmother’s drinking. Sometimes it was the only way to cope. My mom and I went to meetings and learned so much from them. Then my brother went through his own troubles with drugs and alcohol, so the 12 step program is familiar.
While the 12 step program is in the fore front, the crux of the story is how Manda and Joel come together as a couple. Their love is a slow build and is tested not only by Manda needing to change her life/habits but also by Joel and his need to finally get over his own problems that were rooted deep within himself. Their dynamic at times was teacher/student but then it went to friend, boss/employee and then back to love interest. I liked that in their story. While there is a romance between them, it wasn’t the most important thing about the book.
This book is listed as a contemporary romance by the publisher and while it is, its also a coming of age story with NA elements. No there isn’t any angst or the “I hate myself” themes in the book but considering that Manda is only 21 when the book opens, I found it refreshing that she did have her head on straight but the bottle was also her friend when she needed to cope.
I would remiss to discuss the college situation that Manda unfortunately finds herself in and the major secret that Joel kept from her in the beginning. I was worried because it didn’t totally resolve itself in the book but the next book out in the summer, hopefully will resolve it. I can’t wait for Joel’s uncle’s book. BTW, his name is Justin and I think he has more secrets than any government. Plus, Joel and Justin have more money than they know what to do with so I figured that there were going to be more secrets to come out in Justin’s book and I can’t wait.
Also, the secondary characters whether they are at the college, meetings, or work…they are top notch. Very well drawn out and add extra layers to Manda’s and Joel’s story. Plus, what’s up with Lyssa, Manda’s sister? I found out that she will have her story written too and I can’t wait.
This book is not a downer by any means. Its filled with hope, love, redemption but more importantly letting the reader know that you can change your live for the good and start living again. I read this book in one night and when it ended I was sad. I wanted more and I will this summer.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle passionately loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter and inspiration.
Some years ago, Katie was a stellar student and closet substance abuser at a picture-perfect small college. She credits loving friends, 12-step spirituality, and plenty of hard work for her transformation into her grown-up self: tech-savvy college professor and passionate author of warm-hearted romance.
While Katie is hard at work on book three of the Lakeside Porches romance books (Finding the Way Back To Love), she invites you to imagine yourself reading on the lakeside porch of an inn on one of the beautiful Finger Lakes. Fall in love with the characters of Lakeside Porches:
Book One: Stepping Up To Love (Joel and Manda’s story, available from Amazon)
Book Two: Coming Home to Love (Justin and Gianessa’s story, coming in June 2014 from Soul Mate Publishing)
Links for Katie O’Boyle: