|Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own. |
As the daughter of the lodge's longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she's always been "one of the guys", her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it's clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.
Katie's been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she's afraid it's too late. Giving her heart to a man who can't wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he's ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?
Josh has been the Kowalski stuck at their family’s lodge for years, the one left to run the business while his siblings all went out and explored the world. Josh is bitter and he wants out. The Kowalski’s have all pitched in to get the lodge spruced up and back on its feet and now they’re ready to put the lodge on the market so Josh can have the freedom he’s always longed for. It’s mixed emotions though because the lodge and home have been in their family for generations and no one wants to let it go, but they also don’t want to come back and take over for Josh. Josh just wants a choice. He wants to be able to choose what he does with his life, whether it’s to travel the world or be at the lodge, he wants that choice and for too many years he’s felt trapped in the life he’s currently in. He’s ready to figure things out. Complicating matters is his best friend Katie, the daughter of Rose, a woman who’s like a mom to the Kowalski siblings. Josh and Katie have been best friends for years but that relationship is now changing and for Katie, it’s about damn time.
Katie has loved Josh for years, but never knowing how he really felt, she kept her outward feelings toward him strictly in the friends-zone. I loved that relationship between them, they truly are best friends. They grew up together, they have tons of memories to look back on, both good and bad and it’s a relationship that’s important to them both. What the whole town, Rose and Josh’s siblings all see is that there is so much more between them than just friendship and it takes Katie moving into the lodge to help out when her mom gets sick for Josh to finally open his eyes to see what’s right in front of him.
I simply loved this couple’s relationship. I loved their history together, their easiness on page and I especially loved how their romance developed. Everything about this couple worked for me. They’re both so likable, whether it’s seeing Josh help out the people staying at the lodge, greeting customers he’s had for years, or Katie trying to keep her own customers happy while not thinking twice about stepping up to help out her mom and Josh when Rose is sick. There’s nothing about these two people that I didn’t like, they both had me wrapped around their little fingers!
“I have to find out what Max does for work before Josh does or I’ll have to wash his stupid truck for a year.” (…)
Hailey laughed. “…Why don’t you go on a date with him? Find out what he does and make Josh jealous at the same time.”
“I’m not allowed to use feminine wiles, as Josh called it.”
“It’s so cute he thinks you even know how to do that.”
There has to be some heartbreak and that comes in the form of Josh, finally getting his dream of having a choice and wanting to see the places he’s always heard about but never had time or the chance to see them for himself. It kills him to leave Katie, but he does and it’s so bittersweet, I may have even teared up a few times when Katie was trying so hard to go back to being Josh’s best friend, knowing he needed to go away but hoping desperately that he comes back. Oh the angst! Josh and Katie’s journey was so well done, yes, Josh makes his choice and it’s the perfect one when he finally realizes what he wants for his future.
All the Kowalski siblings show up at some point during the story and I always like seeing what they’re all up to. We don’t get much more about the, now single, sister Liz, other than hearing her ask about one newly divorced sheriff in town. I can’t wait to see how things play out for her.
This was, simply, a wonderful read. I was hooked from the start and fell hard for Josh and Katie. The Kowalski series is one that I look forward to getting back to with each new release and this book is a stand out in a series of solid reads.
Release Date: January 21, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*