5 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Melting Into You by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my review.*
Ben Harland is Oban’s eternal bachelor, preferring one night stands with tourists to any form of commitment. When Marci, a tourist who visited nine years ago, shows up on Ben’s doorstep with their eight-year-old daughter Jade in tow, Ben’s life gets flipped upside down. He’s always been emotionally unavailable, preferring to provide physical assistance to show he cares, but now he has to learn how to be a father and provide emotional comfort for his confused daughter. His physical interest in Kezia Murphy, a widow with a daughter Jade’s age and best friend to Ben’s sisters, turns emotional without his realization when the two bond through their daughters.
Kezia Murphy turns down any male who shows an interest in her, putting her daughter first in every choice she makes. But when she can no longer resist Ben, their one night of passion turns into so much more. Kezia tries to resist the growing attachment to a man she knows isn’t emotionally available, having vowed she’d never depend on another male again. When Ben is forced to make a difficult choice in order to stay in his daughter’s life, Kezia shuts down completely. Ben will have to find a way to prove his love to Kezia before it’s too late and she leaves his life for good.
Melting Into You is a standalone novel that is part of the Due South series. Even though it can be read without reading any of the other books, you’ll want to read them all. Tracey Alvarez has a way of drawing the reader in to the lives of all of her characters, including the secondary characters in each story. The stories fit seamlessly together, but enough background information is provided in each book so you won’t be left behind if you haven’t read the others.
As usual, the main characters in this story show amazing growth throughout the tale. Ben is completely clueless about what to do with his daughter at the beginning of the story, to the point where he’s literally counting down the hours until she’s supposed to leave. With a little push from Kezia in the right direction, he falls in love with Jade without meaning to. The scene where he begs Marci not to take Jade away before he gets back to Oban will tear your heart to pieces.
Kezia, while sweet, loving, and a wonderful mother, is set on doing things on her own and not depending on another man after her relationship with her deceased husband fell apart. Even when Ben finally proves that he wants to be there for her—changing his commitment-phobia ways—she’s unwilling to accept his help. It takes a good talking-to from one of Ben’s sisters for her to see how pig-headed she’s been, but once her eyes are opened you’ll be cheering right along with their daughters for them to become a family.
There’s even character growth in Ben’s daughter Jade, who goes from shy and thinking poorly of herself to a happy, outgoing, strong girl. It’s wonderful to see her open up to Ben, call him Dad for the first time, and even stand up for herself.
The romance in Melting Into You is perfectly intertwined with Ben’s family growth, giving the reader more to focus on than just the growing attraction between Ben and Kezia. Tracey Alvarez has knocked another one out of the park with this five star must read. She has quickly moved to one of the top spots on my favorite contemporary romance authors list, and I look forward to reading more of her work. Melting Into You can also be purchased as part of the Love Down Under Box Set.
My five star review of In Too Deep, Due South Book One, can be found here.
My five star review of Hide Your Heart, Far North Book One, can be found here.