I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre ( web | tweet )
Part of The Sullivans series.
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 (paperback)
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Target audience: Adult / romance fans
Keywords: childhood crushes, weddings, family
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Summary: Sophie has had her eye on Jake since she was 5 years old, and he was always hanging around with her brothers. Twenty years later, they team up to work on a wedding together for her brother and she thinks this is her big chance to finally show Jake what he’s been missing. She’s not just the “nice” girl he thinks she is.
After months of being curious about Bella Andre’s work due to the wonderful reviews coming from Jess at Gone with the Words, I can finally say I am a convert. I picked up I Only Have Eyes for You as a repreive from a pretty heavy young adult book I was reading and a hefty biography. (Three books at once! This never happens.) And it hit the spot so perfectly that I read the entire novel over the course of a few hours.
Truth is I already had a hunch I would really enjoy this story. I am such a sucker for childhood crushes that continue through adulthood and don’t disappear. When the object of your affection is still a big part of your life, that is total romance. Sophie has loved Jake from afar for years; as the total bookworm, she’s always felt like the invisible one among her siblings and is pretty sure Jake has never noticed her as more of a sister-type. Try telling her heart that, though.
Years later, Sophie is a librarian and Jake is the owner of several pubs in town. They team up to work on Sophie’s brother’s wedding together (Jake’s also a groomsmen) and Sophie finally decides to be a little bit daring, show she’s not always the “nice” one (they call her twin sister, Lori, “naughty”) and catch Jake’s attention. Little does she know that he has noticed, he’s been noticing for years. He just thinks he’s no good for her. She deserves better, and he tries to stay as far away from her as possible.
You know what happens when you stay far away from a person, right? C’mon, you do. How about the steamiest encounter I have ever experienced in my romance novel reading? Picture this. I’m at the gym already sweating…er, glowing and Sophie and Jake are literally leaving me breathless. (In fact, I texted Jess to take a breath and tell her I was definitely dehydrated.) After a kiss that rocked my world, there’s this scene that reminds me of Baby going to Johnny’s room post-performance in Dirty Dancing. (“I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”)
Cue the sexy. But then the heartbreak when Jake knows he can’t stay with her and he leaves. Two months later, Sophie realizes that one night stand got her pregnant and when she confronts Jake about it, after complete radio silence, he demands they get married and THIS is where the fun begins. He wants a week to prove to Sophie they should be together forever.
Deadlines in romance novels always intrigue me. I’m wondering what will be the breaking point that makes them realize they are meant to be? Jake has to prove himself to Sophie despite his own self-consciousness and she’s not so sure he actually wants to be with her because of her. Is it only about her pregnancy? I really liked watching them finally get to know each other, and let their guards down. They challenged one another (in life and in the bedroom) and I could not get enough. Plus Andre’s family dynamics are awesome. How would Jake come clean to Sophie’s protective brothers who were also his best friends?
Romance enthusiasts, check out Bella Andre! And for those of you looking to get into some romanctical reading, I’d definitely give this series a shot.