Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance just released by Jennifer Probst. ANY TIME, ANY PLACE features an enemies-to-lovers romance between two adults who lost their parents in a horrifying crash. Expect cameos from Isabella of SEARCHING FOR DISASTER, too!
About the book:
HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this second volume in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new heart-wrenching and sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
When she was a teen, Raven Bella Stratton’s father was killed in a horrible car crash. The bigger shock was the discovery of a woman with him—Diana Pierce—and their two fully packed suitcases with airline tickets to Paris. Devastated by her father’s betrayal, Raven went to live with her aunt, never truly overcoming the traumatic event. When she discovers that the mysterious woman had a family with a husband and three boys, Raven vows to leave the memory of her father behind.
Until Dalton Pierce visits one night and suddenly her past challenges her future…
Leaving his life in California behind to run Pierce Construction with his two older brothers, Dalton Pierce has enjoyed returning home and studying his passion of woodworking. But when he visits the local bar with his brothers one evening, he’s immediately drawn to the smart-mouthed, badass, sexy bartender who sets his body on fire. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem as intrigued by him, and his multiple advances are met with rejection. When he offers to restore the bar back to its original glory, he begins to work with her on a daily basis, and falls harder. His plan of seduction slowly weaves a web around them both, until they are caught up in the spell. But Dalton doesn’t know the secret that can either destroy them both…or finally mend two broken hearts.
Raven has long believed her beloved father was killed because he was duped into running off with a bored, wealthy housewife: Diana Pierce. As a grieving 19 year old, she vowed to ruin the Pierce brothers, Diana’s children, who–it seemed–were “painting” her artist father as a gold-digging homewrecker. They were surely the reason her father’s paintings were returned unsold from galleries and few attended his funeral.
Fast forward nine years, or so. Raven’s back in her hometown making a decent living owning and running My Place, a homey bar and grill that serves upscale fare with specialty cocktails. The bane of her existence is blonde and bold Dalton Pierce, who can’t understand why Raven doesn’t fall for his immense charm. Dalton’s not a man to settle down–marriage only ruins good people, is his experience. Example One: his mother, who got conned into running off and abandoning her children–only to die in the attempt.
Looking back now, Dalton can see the lack of love between his parents, and how his mother pulled farther and farther away, but still! He loved her dearly and can’t imagine her leaving of her own choice. Regardless, Dalton never wants to marry, and refuses to date the same woman for more than a few weeks at a time. And he’s surely interested in sexy Raven, and her bar. The woodworking artist in him craves the chance to really get his tools on the antique bar which has been haphazardly restored and pressed into active service. Raven won’t budge on the dating–despite their undeniable chemistry. She assures him she only wants to date men who are interested in getting married, using his kryptonite to keep his advances at bay, but she does need his woodworking expertise to get My Place camera-ready for a feature in a regional food and wine magazine.
Their bargain, to work together to get My Place ready, is complicated by their mutual attraction, and Dalton’s persistence in pursuit. It’s a heady time, and Raven knows she needs to reveal her murky connection to Dalton’s mother’s death–but it’s not easy to do so. Dalton’s brothers, and work partners, are no help. They seem to want Dalton to settle down, and he continues to fight the tide, there. When they finally get physical, it’s Dalton who’s looking for more, until Raven confesses her history–and that’s a deal breaker if Dalton ever heard one.
The love story here is tentative and considerate. It’s been more than a year that Raven and Dalton have known one another. Dalton’s pursuit has extended for several months, and Raven’s defenses wear down after they build a solid rapport as friends. Raven’s conflicted about being friends with Dalton, considering her vow to take revenge on the Pierce brothers. Thing is, should she continue to harbor ill will over a childhood vendetta that no one even knew about? Raven’s grown up a LOT in those nine years and she’s a more confident and mature woman than she’d expected to be. Her life is very full–friends, work, mixology–but it lacks love, and she’s romantically lonely. I liked her changes and her response to Dalton.
Dalton’s the baby of his family, and tired of feeling as if his elder brothers consider him a flake. He never got over his mother’s abandonment–even though he was a grown adult when she made her move. But, being with Raven soothes that aching place inside that really wants to be totally loved. He’s not cool, at all, when he learns about Raven’s dad, and I wasn’t shocked that she wanted little to do with him following his shenanigans. I did love how he won her back, however, because commitment was what he lacked as a human, and that was the only way to turn her head a second time. The end is a sweet and tender reconciliation that leaves us knowing that a second Pierce brother has been overtaken by the love bug.
This one’s an HEA. As the second book in the series, it read well as a standalone. Lots of moments where characters from other books popped their heads in for a look-see, but this book is really all about Raven and Dalton. Well, setting aside that it seems as if we’ve gotten to meet the house-flipper who’ll soon win Tristen Pierce’s heart in the next book, that is…
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers.