California Man by EC Sheedy

California Man by EC Sheedy
Salt Spring Island Friends Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Relationships don’t come easy when you’re too shy to love.

Bookstore owner Emily Welland is timid and deeply insecure—and she has her reasons. She’s read about Quinn Ramsay, the brilliantly successful celebrity entrepreneur, and she’s seen pictures of him in the tabloids— always with a stunning model or actress on his arm.

Quinn’s glittering California life is the polar opposite to her quiet and reclusive days on Salt Spring Island in the Pacific Northwest. So when Quinn comes to her island and shows an interest in her, her initial reactions are disbelief, fear—and panic attacks. None of which she can control.

All of which makes Quinn more interested than ever.

This is a cute trope that is used to good effect in California Man. Emily is the super shy book seller that freezes up when she meets people, more specifically, men outside the safety and security of her store. Quinn is the quintessential self-made, successful and rich bachelor who is tired of the rat race but not sure what else to do since it’s all he knows. The characters seem like they are diametrically opposed, yet that is what fun and entertaining romance stories are all about. Love happens when you least expect it and certainly Emily wasn’t ready for the intensity that is Quinn. Quinn didn’t expect the meteoric impact from a glance of gorgeous gray eyes. What comes next is the pursuit and chase, ultimately leading to what readers will expect to read, only to find out that the author threw in a plot conflict. A conflict I at first didn’t feel worked, but it’s what the author decided to have her secondary characters do that made it work, made me happy and I acknowledge the cleverness of it.

Most of the conflict is internal and it’s from Emily’s point of view. It is effective, although a little drawn out at times, but the emotions and feelings of sympathy for the heroine more than make up for it. Quinn’s life choice isn’t as impactful as the heroine’s, but it does play off her insecurities rather well. What I liked about Quinn was his realization that Emily is worth fighting for, and that means restraining his libido and putting her first, even when she makes it hard.

Because of Quinn’s initial restraint, I was hoping that this book was going to fall into the sensual category. Nope – it definitely earned a spicy rating. Of course, Emily rationalized it; total trope reasoning, but it’s the end result that more than makes up for it.

Another strong point in this story’s favor is how Quinn and Emily end up bringing out the best in each other, while helping each other with some of their tough life decisions. They made a great team. In fact, California Man is a pretty good read. I enjoyed it, the pace was consistent and always moved forward and I really appreciated Quinn’s depth of character, which was showcased in his interactions with James, a secondary character. The happy ever after was wrapped up with a delightful bow of love and happiness.

All in all, California Man is a romantic little gem and well worth reading.

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