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New review and check out the review for the first book in the series here.

*****

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When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad.

Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist.

After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love.

But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win.

I read the first “Anchor Island” novel, Meant To Be, earlier this year and liked it a lot more than I expected to.  I couldn’t figure out how Osburn was going to make it ok that a woman fell in love with her fiance’s brother, but she did …. And now we get the fiancé’s story.

Both Lucas and Sid appeared, and played a big part, in Meant To Be.  Sid works with Joe (Lucas’s brother) and reluctantly became good friends with Beth (Lucas’s fiancé), a very stressful thing for her since she’s loved Lucas for a decade.  Now thrown into close proximity to Lucas and his very bruised ego, Sid finds it hard to ignore the attraction.  Lucas, though, in typical male fashion is completely clueless to her long-standing feelings but he isn’t so clueless to his own attraction to Sid.  She may not be the type of woman that he usually goes for, but he quickly finds himself drawn to her high energy and can-do spirit.  And even though she may be rough around the edges, her soft curves are hard to miss.

Although a story about both Sid and Lucas, for Sid the book is mostly about her deciding if she can do casual with Lucas since he’s been very vocal about his stay being short-term.  Instead the focus is really on Lucas as he looks at himself, his life and his goals after being dumped by Beth.  All those years ago, he couldn’t wait to get off Anchor Island and has worked very hard to become partner in his law firm.  We’re along for the ride as he tries to decide if what’s he’s always thought he wanted is really what he needs … and as he falls head over heels for a woman who doesn’t fit into that life.

I definitely think that Sid and Lucas are one of my favorite couples of all time.  He hides a fun-loving guy underneath a starched shirt and she’s unknowingly got The Sexy under grease stained denim.  Together they discover a happiness they didn’t imagine they could have, but it quickly gets smothered as they are led by their heads and not their hearts.  You know that Lucas is going to end up staying and becoming the island’s lawyer, but it is still fun to sit back and watch him fight it as long as he does.

With Up To The Challenge, once again Osburn brings readers a touching story and engaging characters in a funny, sassy, touch-your-heart romance that will have you cuddling up and reading long into the night.

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