Secondhand Romance by RoseAnn DeFranco
Series: Brothers of Audubon Springs (# 2)
Release Date: December 28, 2013
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Source: book provided by Book Monster Tour Promotion for review
Annie O’Malley’s dream of owning a secondhand bookstore in tight-knit Audubon Springs is coming true. Still reeling from her parents’ sudden deaths, she believes that signs or messages can be found within the pages of books. She loves her job and has made plenty of friends but longs for the acceptance only love and a family can provide.
Tony Iuliano is there to fix the wiring in her shop. He doesn’t believe in fate, magic, or the power of a good book. All this combined with his sexy-as-sin presence and all-knowing attitude infuriates Annie. The quirky bookworm intrigues him enough to accept her bet to read a book from her shop. When he discovers a stack of fifty-year-old love letters in the book, he wants to leave the past alone, but seeing it as a sign, Annie challenges him to read the letters and search for the long-lost lovers or lose the bet.
While shaking the dust off several ill-fated romances and fighting their attraction at every turn, the pair soon become the town gossip daily special. If they can stop arguing long enough, they may just discover this particular sign was meant for them all along.
Review: While trying to find the couple who wrote love letters to each other fifty years ago so she can help them get a second chance at love, Annie O’Malley finds herself irresistibly drawn to her sworn enemy, Tony Iuliano, the hunky, hot carpenter hired to fix the wiring in her bookstore. Tony finds her a flakey train wreck, and he thinks she’s on a fool’s errand. But before long, he’s drawn no only to her quest, but to the woman herself. She’s nothing like the women he normally dates, and he suddenly finds that refreshing.
When Tony loses a bet, she forces him to read a romantic book, but inside they find love letters written fifty years before. Tony tries to dismiss them, but Annie is bound and determined to find the authors of those letters and reunite them. She’s a newcomer in town and needs Tony’s help to find the couple. He knows that nothing will come of this quest but heartache for the lost lovers, and for Annie herself. He finally realizes she’s so determined because it’s her way of keeping her parents alive, at least in memory. She’s still reeling from their deaths, and now she has something that gets her up in the morning.
Tony and Annie hiss and spit at each other, but soon he’s asking her to dinner and accompanying her on visits to long-time residents as she searches for the owners of those letters. The town gossips are rife with speculation about Tony and Annie, and his whole family practically has them married. Annie starts to see Tony as so much more than she thought, and he sees a depth in her and realizes she’s not flakey, just embracing life finally.
I love this book! I love the way the author writes – I was drawn into the story immediately. The story alternates between Annie’s and Tony’s points of view, so we can get in-depth as they begin to fall in love. I admit Annie did seem a bit flakey when she’s adamant that they find the people who wrote the letters, but once I realized it was her way of trying to keep her parent’s memory alive, it made more sense.
And as for Tony…wow, or should I say WOW. He’s a man’s man, and I can see how women would flock to him. He’s had his own share of heartbreak, though – he struggled in school due to a reading disability, and his high school sweetheart broke his heart when she left for college and said he’d never be enough for her (that beeyotch!) But that’s a good thing, because it eventually led him to Annie.
When Annie challenges him to read the book, he thinks she’s making fun of him because he did have that learning disability. But Annie feels about books the way I do – they can take you to worlds I’ve never been to, from the great city of Paris to tiny Audubon Springs.
I love this small town of Audubon Springs – the way the author describes it put me there, making me want to visit it. There are small town characters, and they’re such fun that I want to be friends with them. I hope the author continues to write the stories for other people in the town.
I’ve not read the first book in the series, but I certainly want to – it’s about one of Tony’s two other brothers. Book three will be the third brother’s story….and it’s already on my TBR list for 2014. The books don’t have to be read in order, but there’s enough hints dropped about brother Rafe that I want his story as well!
Here’s a short excerpt for you to enjoy:
“Are we going to shake on this?” He extended his hand and grinned.
Annie hesitated for a split second. Had she ever touched Tony? Shaking his hand with that sexy, superior glint in his eyes unnerved her, but she needed to seal the deal.
His warm hand engulfed hers, shooting a jolt of electricity through her veins. He had a solid, firm grip, the kind to hold a shaky person steady. Lifting her gaze to his, she smiled when his eyes widened in a flash of surprise. It had been a long time since she’d really touched another person. When the warmth from his hand made its way dangerously close to parts of her that had lain dormant for years, she abruptly let go.
“There, deal.” Flushed, she returned her focus to the book in his hand. “Open it, but first, look at how worn it is, you can tell it’s been read a few thousand times.”
Tony flipped the big, hardcover book open. Instead of the expected well-worn pages, a small stack of what looked like letters bound by a string sat nestled inside. The pages were yellowed, the string frayed. The owner cut a neat and deep square into the center of the pages, nearly removing the entire contents of the book. Tony pulled them out, squinted, and weighed them in his hand.
Equally stunned, a burst of adrenaline hit Annie. Of all the treasures she’d uncovered in the two years since dealing in secondhand books, she never came across anything quite like this. This was a sign – from her parents, or other forces at work in the universe – but this book, and all its possibilities, was important to someone, somewhere.
“Now do you believe me when I say every book has a story to tell?”
About the author:
RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing funny, steamy romance with heart. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family and would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at radefranco.com.