Darby Malone has trouble saying no. Hosting a children’s Valentine party at her recently renovated gallery is the last straw, and the last time she intends to say yes to anything. That is, until she meets Ben, a well-known Cape Cod artist with eyes as deep and blue as the ocean. He stirs feelings in her that have been dormant for too long. Can she afford to say yes to him?
Ben Phillips needs this gallery show. His life has been empty since his wife died four years ago, his paintings the only thing giving him solace. But his style has changed, his art completely different than the breezy shore paintings he staked his reputation on. Can he convince Darby to give him a chance – and to consider him for more than just a place on her gallery walls? Will she give him a place in her heart as well?
Darby has a problem with saying no. Cleaning up smeared blue gummy bears out of the wooden floors of her gallery, Darby is surprised when Ben comes by. While Darby is proud of her gallery and work, she’s small time – and Ben is a semi-famous painter. Ben, however, since the loss of his wife has been creating pieces the complete polar opposite of his old, soft and gentle beach-scapes. Dark, edgy and bleak, he knows his new work likely won’t appeal to his old clientele. So he wants someone fresh to say yes and give his work a chance. Is Darby the one to help him?
I found this to be a fun romance and great quick read. While Ben has experienced a great loss, enough time has passed that the worst of his grief has passed. Fun with the candy Valentine’s day hearts helped lend a sweet, happy atmosphere to the story to my mind. While Ben’s work – and the anger and grief he’d worked through – was in contrast to the happy tone of the story, I felt this actually made the plot stronger and better. There’s plenty of moments where I giggled – the fun contagious. I feel readers who enjoy a bit of lightheartedness with their romance won’t be disappointed. Having said that, there’s definitely strong emotions – not all of them happy – in Ben’s work. This contrast was shown throughout the story and really intrigued me and kept me eagerly turning the pages.
A great story, I really enjoyed this. The slow progression from strangers, to friends, to more was wonderfully paced to my mind. Ben and Darby came together in what felt like a natural progression and while there’s only one short sex scene the story ends on a clear high note – loving enough to satisfy most romance readers I would think.
A lovely tale about love, loss, grief and hope, with plenty of romance and a delicious slow burn to the main romance this is a wonderful story I know I’ll enjoy many times in the future.