Formats available: ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance
Length: 204 pages
Publisher: Red Sage
Date Released: November 30, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Jody Carter, recently divorced single mom lives in the quaint seaside town with her twelve year old son, and her recently widowed father. After Jody’s divorce from her college sweetheart, Ryan, she and her three best girl friends decide she needs to lighten up. Along with her friends, Lauren, the glamorous ex model divorcee, Cricket the worry wart, and Doreen, who is more comfortable in gumboots than high heels, Jody books a girl’s holiday aboard the Pearl of the Sea for a week of fun in the sun on a Caribbean cruise.
But before the four friends ever set foot aboard the cruise ship, Jody’s shoe gets stuck in the ship’s gangway and a hunky celebrity saves it from falling to the depths of the sea. Jody can feel the sparks between them but she has sworn off men after her divorce from Ryan.
The hunky man and shoe rescuer is Taggart Keith, a celebrity and best selling author of self help books. He falls for Jody the moment he meets her. He’s a man used to getting what he wants and pursues Jody. Despite her undeniable attraction to Taggart, the last thing Jody needs is to complicate her life in just seven short days, but that’s exactly what happens when she falls for the dashing Taggart Keith. She worries that his jet set lifestyle won’t mix with her small town single mom life once the cruise is over and the fact she has no room in her life for a man and especially a man who dreams big like Taggart. She’s had enough of dreamers with her ex husband Ryan.
The cruise becomes more than they both bargained for when their attraction sizzles. Is it full steam ahead for Taggart and Jody?
When rich, successful and sinfully handsome author Taggart Keith rescues Jody Carter from an epic shoe disaster in the opening scene of Sail Away With Me, it sets both the reader and Jody, up for a delicious (not to mention absolutely blistering hot) shipboard romance with Taggart cast as the Prince Charming and Jody playing Cinderella.
Except that soccer-mom Jody isn’t just a soccer-mom, and Taggart is both more and less than a Prince, no matter how charming he might be.
Jody may have only managed to afford the Caribbean cruise because one of her friends won the trip-for-four as a prize package, but she’s not poor, and she’s certainly not downtrodden. Also she’s not waiting for a man to rescue her. Jody is divorced and the mother of a pre-teen son. She is also a well-known artist in her native northern California. While she’s not wealthy in material goods, she has great friends and the love of her family. Her life is good.
Her ex-husband wasn’t a bad guy. He just wasn’t the right guy. He’s a dreamer who kept over-investing in terrible business ideas, and bailing him out repeatedly caused Jody to put off her dreams of being an artist too many times. Financial incompatibility eventually crushed their marriage. There’s no villain here, just two people who didn’t work out.
But Jody has responsibilities at home. Her son. Her artistic career. Her widowed father who lives in the cottage on her property. She has a real life, and one that doesn’t include a lot of free time, a lot of luxuries, or a lot of time to indulge herself.
It doesn’t help that the sexual side of her marriage ended way before the marriage did. So when Taggart Keith pours on the charm, Jody wakes up to being a desirable woman again for the first time in a long time.
But Taggart is attracted to more than just Jody’s looks. Because the self-help guru, and that’s what Taggart is, finds Jody to be someone genuine and honest in a life that has felt increasing fake. He may have started by chasing another pretty face and body, but he sticks around because of the things that make Jody tick. Her strengths combined with her vulnerability.
They both start out believing that what they have is a shipboard romance, but by the end of the cruise, realize that they have laid their hearts on the line. That’s where the fairytale ends and the truth begins.
Because of course this isn’t a Cinderella tale after all. Not because the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella has to go back home, but because it turns out that Taggart is not Prince Charming.
It’s a good thing that Jody doesn’t need rescuing, because Taggart Keith isn’t capable of rescuing anyone. He can’t even figure out how to rescue himself.
Escape Rating B: It almost feels like there are two separate stories packed into this one romance, even though they are both about the same couple. One story is the sparkling and witty erotic shipboard romance between charming Taggart and temporarily footloose Jody. This is a temporary fling between two people who are mostly living a fantasy away from their everyday lives for the length of the cruise.
We think that Jody is the only one who is getting the chance to spend a few days away from her regular life and routine, but we find out after the ship returns to dock that Taggart had as many, possibly more reasons than Jody to want a few days respite from the real world.
Jody has a life worth returning to. She may not be wealthy like Taggart, but her world is filled with family and friends who love and respect her. She is living her dream of painting, and her work is selling. Even though there are a few bumps in her road, she likes her life.
Taggart’s real life is the one with the problems. Money definitely does not buy happiness. So even though Jody misses him every bit as much as he misses her, part of what he misses about her is her genuineness. Too many of the people in his world are fakes. Including himself.
Unlike many romances, the misunderstanding that brings the crises in this relationship is definitely not fake or exaggerated for effect. It is major and extremely important. Readers will wonder if they would have forgiven someone they loved for an omission of this magnitude.
Instead of a Cinderella story, with Jody in the title role, the fairy tale this romance most closely resembles is a reverse Sleeping Beauty, with Taggart as the sleeper. Jody forces him to finally wake up to what’s really important, and just to what’s real.
But it all starts with a shoe.
Kate is giving away an ebook copy of Sail Away With Me! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.