Any Fin For Love by Petie McCarty

Any Fin For Love by Petie McCarty
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

She could almost hear the fish laughing at her . . .

Cody Ryan’s father never missed fishing the annual Loon Lake tournament until his unexpected passing. This year, Cody packs up her how-to fishing videos and her dad’s old johnboat and gives him one final entry.

Gage Connor needs some R&R away from his coast guard deployment catching drug smugglers along the Louisiana coast, so he borrows a bass boat from his buddy and heads to Loon, Alabama to do some fishing.

When Gage and Cody meet at Loon Lake, their attraction is immediate and intense—until the two discover there is only one boat slip left on the lake and they both need it, and there’s only one vacant hotel room left in Loon and they both want it. And so, their competition begins. Both vow to keep their distance from the other for their own peace of mind, but fate has other plans. The tournament pairing party picks the two-man teams and chooses Gage as Cody’s partner.

For two days.
Alone on a boat.
Working as a team.

Good things come to those who bait . . .

Don’t let the synopsis fool you. This novel has a lot more going for it than a simple romance with humor and a fishing competition. I was expecting a light-hearted fluffy tale and instead found a story that closer resembles the television series, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, back in the early 80s. It was fun, adventurous, had bad guys with the good guys winning in the end, and a burgeoning romance between two unlikely people. That is what Any Fin for Love reminds me of and perhaps that’s why I had so much fun reading this novel.

Cody Ryan, the heroine, is doing something she never did before – fish in a tournament. Fish by herself. Fish in her dad’s favorite spots, doing his favorite thing, in his memory. That right there made me adore Cody. She is sentimental, committed, stubborn, brave, fun and, did I say stubborn? The competition has never, ever had a female contestant. The good ol’ boys have no idea who is headed their way. Cody is bound and determined to do her best and no handsome guy is going to turn her head enough to distract her…much. But first, the heroine has to get her boat in the water. Yeah, that was an interesting sequence of events. Grin-worthy.

Gage, the hero, is a well-rounded character with a depth to him I don’t get to figure out until later. In the beginning, he’s just a guy on vacation, getting some fishing in and looking forward to some much-needed downtime and release from stress. His best friend, Dougah, is quite the character and is a wonderful influence on Gage. However, he is also very protective of the hero and that comes into play in a very dramatic fashion later on. On and off, when Gage calls him, his friend gives him sage advice – some are adorably teasing, and some are spot on serious. There’s some intrigue brewing in the beginning but none had the slightest inkling what was coming their way. And, it ends up not being what I and everyone else in the story expected it to be. The author has a nice way of slipping in clever twists and red herrings.

Another strong element in the book is the people in the community that Gage and Cody find themselves engaging with during the course of the novel. Velma and Delma are good-hearted matchmakers and romantics at heart. One of the good parts is the little trick they play with an innocent coin. I giggled at that scene. Red-haired Sadie was a treat to meet and Doc Taylor, too. Now there’s a bit of a story within a story. Doc Taylor enjoys some pivotal scenes that really blew me out of the water. What gets revealed and how everything comes together is a masterpiece of clever writing. Talk about tying up loose ends where I had no idea there was anything loose in the first place! It’s almost like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but without actors. I will say that there are clues from the past, but I didn’t put two and two together.

Not everyone in town is nice to Cody though. When I met Zeke and Alvin, I was convinced they were the exact type of guys the author made them out to be for most of the early to mid-parts of the book. I guess, even in the end, they still kind of were like that type. But they aren’t as shallow as I thought them to be, so I guess I could say they were a work in progress. In any event, that was a nice bit of writing as well. Some readers might get put off by Lila. She’s not a likeable character at all and I’m going to presume that is exactly how the author wanted me to feel about her. If that’s true, she nailed it. However, like Zeke and Alvin, there’s a twist I never expected.

The antagonists of the main serious conflict are plum loco-crazy and nasty to boot. The action scenes with the hero and heroine on the water were intense, full of action, quick-thinking and included spontaneous teamwork to make it out alive. Okay, there was a trope-slip blip with Zeke, but otherwise, it was a stellar performance.

Like I said, this is not a fluffy read. There were a lot of goings on that kept me turning the pages. My emotions for good or ill were definitely engaged, enough that I talked to the book like it could hear me. There might have been a bit of cheering, a couple of growls, some ‘awww’s’ and a few Wow!s thrown in.

Any Fin For Love is more of a romantic suspense with humor to keep the mood optimistic and upbeat. It has a wonderful story, great secondary characters, and Cody and Gage were a fun couple to watch as they fell in love despite all the stinky and wet situations they got into. I had fun reading this novel.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Bea LaRocca says

    I love the premise for this story, Any Fin For Love is a must read for me and I am looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing your bio and book details and for offering a giveaway

  3. Great excerpt and giveaway. 🙂

  4. Thank you very much for your kind words. I greatly appreciate your time spent reading and reviewing my story.

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