Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Barefoot in the Sand

Barefoot in the Sand (Barefoot Bay #1)

by Roxanne St. Claire


When all you hold dear is taken away . . .
When a hurricane roars through Lacey Armstrong's home on the coast of Barefoot Bay, she decides all that remains in the rubble is opportunity. A new hotel is just what Mimosa Key needs, and Lacey and her teenage daughter are due for a fresh start. And nothing, especially not a hot, younger architect, is going to distract Lacey from finally making her dreams a reality.
A second chance is the only thing you have left.
Love has already cost Clay Walker everything. And if he's going to have any chance of picking up the pieces of his life, he needs the job as Lacey Armstrong's architect. What's not in the plans is falling for the headstrong beauty. Her vision of the future is more appealing than anything he could have ever drafted for himself. Will Clay's designs on Lacey's heart be more than she can handle, or will she trust him to build something that will last forever?


Barefoot in the Sand is the beginning to a beautiful new contemporary romance series by a favorite author of mine, Roxanne St Claire.  As a first story there is a lot of introducing of characters of course, along with intros to the new setting of the fictional Mimosa Key, a small island in the Gulf of Mexico that has just survived a surprisingly strong hurricane which wiped out the homes on one end of the island, commonly known as Barefoot Bay. This is a great novel for sure and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.
Lacy and her daughter, Ashley, survived the storm by the capricious hand of fate, riding the storm out in a mattress topped tub while the world around them went to hell.  Once all the rubble settles, Lacey is left with only a foundation for a new life and a dream to build on it.  She decides that the best use of her land is to fulfill her and her grandmother’s lifelong dream of opening a small bed and breakfast. With a vision for her future already in her mind, she contacts the prestigious architecture firm of Clayton Walker.  But sometimes a small mistake can bring your fate to you in an unexpected way.
Clay Walker the younger son of the Clayton Walker appears instead.  Determined to land this new project, Clay has traveled to Barefoot Bay, ready to show Lacey that taking a chance on him as her architect is just what she needs.  Dealing with both professional and personal disaster has left Clay a bit cynical.  He wants in on this project and will put himself out there, even offering to work pro-bono just to make sure that Lacey doesn't pass him over.
Working together becomes a bit of a problem though as Lacey is insanely attracted to Clay and scared of that attraction.  She hasn't felt such an intense desire for a man for fourteen years, ever since her boyfriend, Ashley’s father, broke her heart.  Clay isn't looking for a relationship, just some fun and no-strings sex while he works to rebuild his reputation and convince Lacey that her modest B&B could be something so much more.  But the town gossips decide to throw a wrench into all their planning, challenging the building of their new resort and requiring some quick thinking and planning. Working together and sharing their bodies turns out to not be as simple as they planned and soon both Lacey and Clay are in deeper than either of them planned. When tragedy strikes, Clay pulls away and runs from his growing feelings, deciding that maybe it’s time for him to cut out for good, no matter how much he has come to love Lacey and enjoy the time they are sharing.
The passion between Lacey and Clay is there from the very beginning and just burns brighter and brighter until the inferno leaps right off the pages to singe the reader.  Clay is a sexy beast to be sure, even if he is a bit of a coward when it comes to his feelings and Lacey’s.  He’s been badly hurt and doesn't want to risk his heart again, but Lacey pulls out the emotions he most fears with very little effort.  Lacey similarly has fears and issues with trusting men.  After her ex David burned her so badly, she’s never really been able to trust a man.  With low self-esteem and uncertainty keeping her from embracing her dreams, Clay’s love and belief in Lacey shows her that she can do anything if she just gives it her all.
I enjoyed reading Clay and Lacey’s story very much.  The love between them was easy to see, even if both of them were hiding their feelings and trying to keep everything on a superficial level.  Working and playing together the two of them realize that they make great partners and they maybe a lifelong partnership is just what they both need to complete their lives.  The addition of David’s return to their lives gives a little extra boost to the story, making Clay’s challenges and Lacey’s insecurity more pronounced.  Ashley was a bit of a brat through most of the story, scheming to get Clay out of the picture and reunite her parents, even though its obvious Clay is the one Lacey wants. It was also fun to meet Lacey’s college friends, who will be the heroine’s in the novels for the rest of the series.
Seriously looking forward to the rest of the series and learning more about Barefoot Bay’s new resort.  Lacey and Clay were great characters and I’m hoping that the men Lacey’s friends hook up with are deserving of the greatness of these women.   Another great series from a wonderful writer seems to be unfolding and I can’t wait for more.  Roxanne creates beautiful characters for certain and can take even the most mundane of circumstances and turn them into wonderful and conspiracy-filled plots to keep any reader's interest, turning tragedy into opportunity and making the daily disasters of life into perfect foils for the lasting love story.

Rating:  4 stars

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