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cover22097-mediumChristie Ridgway always puts me in the romance mood.  Her stories have just that perfect blend of emotion and sizzle, heart and heat, that make you feel good.  Army Medic Vance Smith made a promise to a dying officer – he would spend a month with the man’s young daughter and do all the things the man hoped to do with her when he returned.  Only the young daughter turns out to be a very sexy woman.  There are all sorts of reasons the two should not get involved, but will their hearts listen?

Vance views himself as the screw-up in his family.  He’s the one that was a little more wild and a little more daring than the rest of them.  But the army turned him into a fantastic medic, someone who is caring, compassionate, and cool under pressure.  He’s changed since his wilder days but he still has a lot to discover about himself, and some stubbornness to get rid of, before he can feel like he can be a part of his family again.

Layla has always been the “good little soldier.”  The stoic kid who had to share her dad with the U.S. Army.  Having her mom leave her when she was young and then living the army brat lifestyle with its constant moving, she learned early that to not get too attached to anything or anyone.  She also learned to live with the idea that her dad my not come home one day.  Now that idea is a reality and she has to accept that fact.  And decide whether she can let go of those past lessons and give her heart to someone with the idea that they may actually stick around.

One of my favorite parts of Ridgway’s series is the secondary romance.  In this one Vance’s cousin had a one night stand six years ago with a family friend, only to leave town the next day for college.  With Addy also at Beach House No. 9, this is his perfect opportunity to make amends.  But she doesn’t make things easy for him.  Even if Baxter didn’t have his life all mapped out and it isn’t time yet, now or then, for a serious relationship, Addy doesn’t believe that a guy like him could ever be with a guy like her.  I love the way these two take a second look at each other and themselves, evaluating their lives to decide if they might need to make changes to be happy.

For Layla and Vance, Addy and Baxter, their month at Beach House No. 9 is a time of love and learning, of forgiveness and letting go, trust and faith.   If you are looking for that perfect book (series actually) to kick off your summer, run out and get Bungalow Nights (and its predecessors – Beach House Beginnings and Beach House No 9).  You’ll quickly be drawn into a world of sun, sea, surf and love.