Barefoot by the Sea by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Barefoot Bay, Book 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Tessa Galloway has a job she loves and a family-by-choice anyone would envy, but her life isn’t complete. Though she can make flowers bloom in the most difficult of circumstances, Tess can’t seem to grow the one thing she wants most in the world: a baby. Her friends are convinced she’ll find the right guy to make her dreams come true, but Tess believes they’re wrong. Until John Brown is hired as the new chef for the resort Tess and her friends run. John’s utterly irresistible and seems to be falling as hard for Tess as she is for him, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that something about the man is too good to be true.
Ian Browning is a man with many secrets. Over three years ago, his life was shattered and he was forced into a witness protection program. Now living in the US and going by the name of John Brown, Ian is determined to do anything to be reunited with his children, who are in a different program in Canada. Thanks to a heavy amount of red tape, Ian’s window of opportunity for getting his kids back is closing fast. He needs to prove that he’s a model citizen, complete with a steady job and a wife. The first is easy, but the second leaves him conflicted. He knows Tessa’s deepest desire and he also knows he can’t possibly fulfill it. Nevertheless, he pursues her, all-too-aware that she’ll hate him forever when she learns of his deception. The more time he spends around Tessa, the more in love with her Ian is. But how can he be the man she needs without sacrificing his children?
Barefoot by the Sea is the beach read you’ll want to have with you all year long! The final installment of the Barefoot Bay quartet features secrets and heartbreak that can only be overcome by determination, love, and hope.
I loved this book, plain and simple. Tess is a heroine who spoke to me. She’s hardworking, loyal, and caring, but not perfect. She tends to be too focused when she sets her mind on something, and not seeing the bigger picture hampers her in some ways. She almost defines herself by her inability to have a child, and what made Barefoot by the Sea special was watching her come into her own over the course of the story.
Ian is definitely Tess’s catalyst for change, and man, oh man, does Roxanne St. Claire deliver when it comes to Ian. Much like Tess, I hate secrets and they’re normally a big red flag for me in books. However, Ian’s the exception that proves the rule. How can you hold his actions against him when the entire reason for his deception is rooted in a tragedy he had no part in creating? Ian’s a father willing to sacrifice everything to be reunited with his kids and his love and devotion to his children would alone be enough to make him a great hero in my eyes. Add in his culinary skills, innate sexiness, and obvious love for Tess and I’m a goner.
Neither Ian nor Tess live the lives they’d originally mapped out for themselves, but watching them find love and happiness in the lives they do lead was absolutely wonderful. Their romance was by turns sensual and touching and I was so drawn to them as a pair that I couldn’t put Barefoot by the Sea down.
Barefoot by the Sea is the fourth book in the Barefoot Bay quartet but it can be read as a standalone. Tess’s best friends, Lacey, Jocelyn, and Zoe (the heroines of Barefoot in the Sand, Barefoot in the Rain, and Barefoot in the Sun) all play strong supporting roles, as does Lacey’s daughter, Ashley. Tess’s relationships with these women is every bit as important to the story as her burgeoning romance with Ian is. And speaking of developing romances, fans of the series will undoubtedly be pleased to learn that Barefoot by the Sea provides a lead-in to Ms. St. Claire’s next series, the Barefoot Brides. Here’s hoping that Tess, Lacey, Jocelyn, Zoe, and their loved ones show up in the Barefoot Brides books.
Barefoot by the Sea is a compelling, emotional read that will grab you by the heart and not let go. I absolutely loved Ian and Tess, and their story is a shining example of Roxanne St. Claire’s talent as an author. I can’t wait to re-read Barefoot by the Sea over and over and over again.