Mr. Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman

Mr. Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman
Romcom Collection, Book 4
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sights of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

For pure escapism, this spicy-lite feel-good romance story fit my mood to a T. Mr. Right Across the Street is more like ‘across the complex’ since it takes place between facing apartments. Still, it was a unique way to pursue a romance.

Some readers might think it’s creepy to have messages taped to windows to be seen by someone else, but the author had her main character, Mia, discuss it with her sister, then Ms. Freeman had Luke, the hero, address the issue so as far am I’m concerned, with everything out in the open, I was free to enjoy the quirkiness of the story.

I enjoyed Mia’s growing relationship with her neighbor, the grumpy Stan. The initial description was a turn off but, that’s one of the strong points in this story. Mia attempted to get to know her neighbor and in doing so, went beyond the superficial and discovered the person her neighbor actually was. That reaching out, that overlooking initial appearances is something people forget to do. They get so hung up on the looks that the depths of a person are never revealed, and possible friendships never materialize. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. Where there were many opportunities for angst, anger, spite, back-stabbing and over the top emotional drama, Ms. Freeman avoided all that by giving Mia a sunny personality that tried not to be quick to judge, and when she did, and it was found out not to be what she thought, she stepped up to the plate and apologized; she owned her mistake and moved on. Now, that’s not saying the heroine was perfect. Nope, not by a long shot. She has hang-ups that were a bit repetitive, but then again, people who are self-conscious or feel vulnerable about themselves tend to do that – overthink, fret and repeat. Still, it would have been nice to have had a bit less of it.

Luke is a bar owner who has his own demons to deal with. He has secrets that tend to be the ones that stir the plot the most, and could possibly annoy readers the most. Communication is lacking at times on his part. Once a reader gets the entire picture, I guess I can see where he was coming from. His secrets were a little out of the ordinary but it’s the way poor Mia discovers them that I had a hard time with. Luke is fallible, all too human, and has put himself in a very bad situation by the life decisions he’s made so far. Again, Mia has the right to not be so trusting because Luke, who wants to be trusted, just didn’t understand for the longest time that he needed to get over himself and lay it all out there. So, instead, readers are treated to what feels like a dentist appointment – getting those secrets out was like pulling teeth.

I mentioned that this book is spicy-lite. I think this story could have done very well at a sensual level, but there’s the eventual capitulation to the slow burn Mia and Luke have been fanning all through the story and they end up taking it to the bedroom, and the door is left open. I’m glad it was a short visit. I liked the whole premise of the romance, the secondary characters, the plot, the floppy-eared bunny, the brusque neighbor and the loving but interfering family members enough to not need the bedroom details. But, for readers who need to have those scenes in a story, they should be pleased at the delivery.

Another strong aspect that comes through deals with Mia and Freya. That could have been a whole kettle of toxic fish but again, the author gave Mia an inner strength, and a caring and forgiving nature. Forgiveness is a wonderful, healing attribute that not many people remember to practice these days. The author applied it quite effectively and is another reason why I liked this novel.

All in all, Mr. Right Across the Street was a delightful, engaging, and happy romance story that made me smile many times. I’m really glad I read it and think it would be a good book for romance readers to spend time with on a lazy afternoon.

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