Today’s review is Falling for the P.I., by Victoria James, part of the Tasty Book Tour Virtual Tour. I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley, in exchange for this honest review. Victoria also wrote a few words about single parents, special needs kids, and how they came to be a part of this book. Oh, and there’s a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!
Teacher Kate Abbott’s fresh start in Still Harbor was the beginning of the life that she and her two best friends always imagined for themselves. Still, being a working single parent of a special needs daughter hasn’t exactly improved Kate’s love life. But Kate’s preference for nachos over men quickly disappears when she meets the oh-so-sexy Matt Lane.
Until she finds out he’s a cop.
Matt is a former cop-turned-private investigator, and he knows fear when he sees it. A cop clearly spooked Kate…or hurt her. Still, something about the gorgeous professor catches his attention, and despite his “no settling down” policy, he can’t resist her. But all of the attraction in the world won’t be enough to overcome Kate’s past…
Matt’s mind was spinning. What the hell had he gotten himself into? Kate was a mother. Well, one date wasn’t going to hurt him. He could sign up for the donation and then never see her again. He paused before getting into the SUV and pretended to glance down at his phone. He hadn’t made any commitments. It was a working date, nothing more.
He opened the door for her and he could read the surprise on her face when he did. “Uh, thanks,” she said, but then paused, not stepping into his SUV. Instead, she turned to look at him, crossing her arms in front of her.
“I just want to be clear,” she began softly. “I’m not looking for anything other than a donation. I can tell you’re surprised that I have a daughter.” Her head was tilted back so that she could look at him squarely in the eye.
He cleared his throat. “So only one is yours?”
Kate surprised him by smiling, and he found himself smiling in return, then looking at her mouth. She was not what he’d expected, and his attraction to her was only increasing instead of diminishing. That should have sent off some warning bells.
“Yes. The little girl with glasses, Janie, is my daughter. She has Down’s syndrome. I adopted her. There is no father, no husband, no anyone,” she said softly, but in a voice that was filled with conviction, slightly defensive.
He stared at her, speechless, impressed. She made him think of all the good women in his life, the ones who had sacrificed and loved him. She made him think all the naïve thoughts he’d once had about people when he was little, before he learned how horrible they could really be. Her expression reminded him of himself when he’d defiantly look up to his father, hoping for acceptance, but bracing himself for the worst.
He swallowed, hard. “Why didn’t you introduce me to your daughter?”
Her eyes narrowed. “I read the expression on your face. I saw the shock and I have no intention of introducing my daughter to someone who won’t be around tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’ve gotten used to it. I also know that I’ve had to choose my…friends wisely. I don’t put up with crap from people, so if you want to donate, it will be greatly appreciated. If you were after something else and now want out, that’s fine too. Just don’t waste my time and don’t bother acting all charming if you’re after a quick screw. I don’t work that way,” she said, backing up abruptly.
Matt grabbed her hand, finding his voice. “Don’t do that, don’t assume I’m like everyone else.” He didn’t know what the hell he was doing, or what he was promising, but he didn’t want to be that guy she was describing, and he didn’t want to say good-bye to Kate.
Victoria’s guest post
Falling for the P.I. was a really sweet contemporary romance.
Kate Abbott is starting over in Still Harbor, with her young daughter, two sisters and their daughters. After a traumatic childhood, she’s looking forward not only to a fresh start, but to starting a foundation to help women and children in need – to get away from abusive relationships.
Matt Lane is a former cop turned P.I. after he was injured in the line of duty and couldn’t safely work as a cop anymore. He knows there’s something troubling in Kate’s past, and he knows that she doesn’t like cops, but the mystery gets deeper when a man he works with – a man he looks to almost as a father – warns him away from her.
This book hooked me from the start. From the moment Kate was sitting with her sisters in the bar, ordering tons of junk food and noticing Matt, to the very end, I was caught up in all of it.
Kate’s history was both heartwrenching and sweet – learning what she’d been through as a child herself, what she was going through as a mother to a child with Down’s Syndrome, and even why she’d adopted her daughter was all stuff that not only made her more real to me but also gave her a backstory that made it much easier to understand her trust issues.
Matt’s own history was just as tumultuous, and made him just as sympathetic and real.
It was also really striking to see the differences in how they dealt with their pasts – how they’d both come from similar situations, and what they did with that past, whether to use it as a shield or a foundation.
The suspense and intrigue, the mystery, was thrilling and interesting enough to keep me guessing and make me want to keep reading, without detracting from the growing romance between Kate and Matt.
I did feel like the growth of the relationship was a bit spotty. I saw a review from a previous reader on Goodreads who mentioned that the book was supposed to be part of a line that doesn’t include graphic sex but it did, and that when they mentioned it, the publisher noted that changes would be made to make it more inline with that line. The sex I saw didn’t come across as graphic to me, so perhaps I have a copy after those changes were made, and in the changes, something was lost for me. Sometimes it seemed as though more time was passing than I really expected, so maybe it was that, too – maybe if there was something to indicate a passage of time (“3 weeks later” at the beginning of a chapter, for example), I wouldn’t feel quite so off about that. But the way it is now, I felt like I was missing something here and there that would have made the jump in their closeness or connection make more sense.
I loved the way that Matt accepted Kate’s daughter wholeheartedly, and also how he stood up for her on more than one occasion. It was also nice to see how his willingness to fight for her made Kate realize that she needed to step up more and stop letting people walk all over her and her daughter. I also enjoyed reading about his family, and Kate’s sisters, too.
There was a clear set up at the end of the book for the next in the series, and I can’t wait to read that one as well!
Find Falling for the P.I. and the entire Still Harbor series on Goodreads.
Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.
In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction.
Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.
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You can follow the rest of the tour here, to read more reviews, guests posts and interviews with Victoria James.