Today I’d like to showcase two of the other novellas in Splash! These stories have some similarities. Both are “long time secret crush” stories. Both take place in exotic locations, at least to most North Americans! Both are set along a body of water — oh, wait. That was a requirement for all nine novellas!
His Perfect Catch by Narelle Atkins
Sydney girl Mia Radcliffe borrows her cousin’s beach house in Sapphire Bay, Australia, to escape the scandal surrounding her ex-fiancé. Her new neighbor is her secret crush from years ago… and she’s still captivated by the handsome builder who was a youth group leader at her church.
Living next door to Mia wasn’t part of Pete McCall’s plan when he started renovating his beach house. The blonde beauty inspires thoughts of settling down, despite her high maintenance ways and big-city dreams.
Love kindles during their time together and Mia’s heart is set on returning to Sydney with Pete. When new opportunities arise, Pete and Mia must decide if their love is for keeps.
I loved watching an all-dolled-up city girl learn to relax and cope in a small tourist town! Even better, she starts to really enjoy the pace even while seeking her next big break in Sydney. As a small-town girl myself, I sometimes chafe at big-city heroines who think ruralists are lesser life forms.
It was fun sitting on the dock with Mia and Pete. Fun to go deep-sea fishing and decorating Pete’s beach house with them. Watching them wrestle with the big issues in life. Not only whom to marry and where to live, but how to live.
Getting immersed in the Australian setting was great. Other than the flip of seasons, it’s not that dissimilar from Canada or the USA, but tidbits through the story reminded me of a slightly different life Down Under.
Now that I’ve read Narelle’s His Perfect Catch, I need to pick up the rest of her Sydney series, especially the third book, Seaside Proposal. It’s about Mia’s cousin Billie and her fiancé Zach, whose house in Sapphire Bay Mia is borrowing. Narelle has six books out in the Heartsong line, which is closing as recently announced by Harlequin. Three of these books are in the Sydney series, and three in the Snowgum Creek series.
A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.
More Than Friends by Autumn Macarthur
Catriona Maclean is determined to give the special needs children in her Scottish church a seaside day out. She’s a nurse, her older brother is disabled, and she knows just how tough that can be for a family. But when a last minute hitch means she must call on the man she’s been secretly in love with since her teens for help, only her promise to God will carry her through.
Alistair Murray has seen Catriona almost every day for the last twenty years. She’s a work colleague, his best friend’s little sister, one of the guys. They even went to Sunday School together. The last thing he wants is to spend his day off working on her project, but for Cat, he’ll do it.
Will a summer’s day at the beach, together with a dog and a busload of very special kids, be the miracle it takes to show them they can be more than friends?
I met both Cat and Alistair as tertiary characters in Autumn’s second Love in Store novel, A Model Bride, so I was delighted to pick up their romance in More Than Friends. You certainly don’t need to have read any of the previous stories for this one to make sense, though I’m guessing it will whet your appetite and make you want to read more!
The interesting thing about this story is that almost all of it takes place in one long, busy day. This is not something I’d generally recommend, but it really works in this case because Alistair and Catriona have a long history that includes a childhood friendship, working together on the job, and a brief long-ago courtship that ended without them clearing the air. All of those bits of backstory are woven in just when the reader needs them, but it isn’t a spoiler to tell you in advance.
I also enjoyed meeting the disabled children Cat is treating to this day at the beach. Autumn did a lovely job giving each their own characteristics and all the respect they deserve.
I think you’ll be just as charmed by this Scottish romance as I was.
Autumn Macarthur lives in London with her very English husband, three spoiled cats, and a guinea pig with a dandelion addiction. She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be.
She tends to talk a little too much and laugh a little too loud, her sleep schedule is all over the place so you’ll often find her on the internet at 5am, and she’s grateful to be blessed with some good friends and a very patient husband. She’s also eternally thankful for God’s great love and mercy.
Splash! 9 Refreshing Romance Novellas Filled with Faith released on Tuesday. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you going to read on the beach this summer????