Read my reviews of the previous books in the Heather Bay series:

Like I Pictured (#0.5) | Like I Promised (#1) | Like I Wished (#2)

I couldn’t figure out why I had mixed feelings about this book until I slept on it after finishing. No uncertainty about the quality of the book—as usual, Novak delivers with her well-developed characters and strong writing. However, I gleaned a different sort of satisfaction from this story, which didn’t immediately resolve until I figured out that the satisfaction stemmed from the character development separate from the romance aspect of the story.

There is a love story here, and a wonderfully unexpected one. We’re already familiar with stalwart Will from previous books in this series, and he more than deserves his happily ever after. For a bit, I had a hard time envisioning that long-term happiness with Jamie, who comes off as nothing more than the quintessential “poor little rich boy.” Together, Will and Jamie don’t even evoke all the usual “opposites attract” vibes, and I was waiting for more of a connection beyond pure sexual chemistry (that they certainly have in spades).

Then, I didn’t make any other notes to myself for the remaining two-thirds of this book, of which I easily binge-read the entire thing in a single evening. I had no complaints, certainly, and went to bed with the final impression that the story turned out to be way sweeter than I expected. At first, I blamed the cold medicine, but everything solidified the next morning. If anything, the romance is almost the external plot of this book, because the character development that Will and Jamie undergo is the true story here.

This is a story about finding a passion alongside your purpose, which Will finds with Jamie. But it’s also about finding a purpose within your passion. Honestly, I’m not one hundred percent certain whether Jamie falls in love with Will first, or with Will’s life. Then, it is a credit to Novak’s excellent storytelling ability that I know these characters would remain true to each other even if circumstances forced them away from Heather Bay.

Not every book in a series can be a stand-out. Like I Needed might not be, but don’t take that as a criticism. However, this is the type of book that every series still needs (pun not intended), because it firmly establishes the solid base of place, connection, and heart that supports the rest of the lovely Heather Bay stories.

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars
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