After some bad news, Ella jets off to sunny Bermuda for a bit of solo R&R…
By day six, surrounded by honeymooners and smug-marrieds, she has to admit the solo bit is getting a teeny bit boring! Why say no to a casual date at the bar with ripped, tanned and enigmatic Cooper Delaney?
It’s really not Coop’s style to flirt with tourists, let alone hook up with one again. But he can’t get the sweet London girl out of his head.
A business trip to Europe is the perfect chance to see her. Only he finds Ella curvier, prettier…and keeping a secret he was so not expecting…!
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Beach Bar Baby, or Why "I Love You" Isn't Always Necessary
Ella was first introduced in one of Heidi Rice's very first ModernTempted novels, Cupcakes and Killer Heels, back when it was still in its RIVA incarnation. In fact, it was the book that introduced me to RIVA and started a long and happy love for MT novels... So I was pretty delighted.
And for good reason. Ella is adorable. She's sweet and funny and the perfect match for enigmatic Cooper. You do really feel for her, especially when she's just been told that she is, in all probability, going to have serious issues in conceiving. But one night with Cooper and the unexpected happens...
There are a couple of things about Beach Bar Baby that makes it stand out. Firstly, the ages of our hero and heroine. Ella is older than Cooper by about six years. I like this - it's nice to see a balanced relationship develop where the heroine doesn't have to be younger than the man. And Rice doesn't shy away from highlighting Ella's concerns about this either, which just adds to the depth of her character.
In addition to this, and possibly my favourite aspect of this book, comes with its climax. Warning: Spoilers!! Cooper doesn't say "I love you". This may seem like the most outrageous thing for a romance novel to do, but actually it makes a hell of a lot of sense. As readers we are left in doubt of his love for Ella - as is Ella herself - but Rice realises that it would be out of character for Cooper to say those particular words at the moment and so she doesn't force the issue.
There's a hell of a lot of pressure on men to be hyper romantic - particularly at pivotal moments in a relationship - but I genuinely don't think they're necessarily needed. After all, they're just words. Recently I got engaged myself (still dancing inside) and my proposal story isn't particularly fancy but it was perfect. So yeah. Kudos to Heidi Rice from giving us a Happy Ending without the "I love you."
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