Shal Hoffner’s back in Dunedin after eight years of self-imposed exile. Setting up a new fashion boutique, and celebrating her best friend’s wedding, she’s determined to forget her ripped-up past, soulless love-life, and the guy who broke her heart.
She should’ve known it wouldn’t be that simple.
Assuming the proximity of Cameron Dante—builder, guitarist, surf-buddy, and ex-flatmate—the least of her worries? Big mistake. Humongous. Because there’s more to the past than Shal knows, on a collision course with right now, and if she can’t stick to friends-with-benefits there’s a chance she could snap. Just like before.
Shal’s mantra: ‘No promises, no commitment, and no exclusive rights’ is fast losing traction, and it’s all Cam’s fault.
Cam’s not the shy surfer-down-the-hall he once was, and despite fears history’s about to repeat, he’s out to prove something. No matter the cost. He’s been in love with Shal forever, so what’s he got to lose?
His newfound roots, his music career, his very heart and soul…
So, pretty much everything, actually.
I recieved a copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
So I love how the author has acknowledged the soundtrack to the story highlighting the song and artist at the beginning of each chapter.
We meet Shal. She is returning to her university town to start her own business and her life. So far, speaking another language and then no interpretation for the reader was a bit confusing. I’m intrigued to see where this will go. Words do get interpreted eventually from the character’s perspective, or at least some of them.
Shal seems to have had some trouble in the past. There is a reference in conversations between her and Cam. As the book gets further, we get some understanding of her unique name and some past. I have to stay as a history/ natural disasters geek; the book references the New Zealand earthquake in Christ Church intrigues me greatly. The relationship and pasts are complicated between Shal and Cam. This is a very slow-burn romance. It does start to get steamy but then kinda blows up with an argument. Then they go from hot to cold as they both try to navigate their feelings, fears, and friendship. Some moments will bring you to tears as the characters take cheap shots at each other.
However, with the new relationship and boundaries, we learn a lot more about Shal’s issues. They finally get their heads on straight and have some very steamy moments. Cam is very sweet and a gentleman. He is swoon-worthy in the descriptions, and she is one fortunate girl.
Life is complicated, especially when you are in denial. Goodbye are tough when you are in love, as this couple found out. I love that he was willing to uproot on a whim for her. I love it even more than the end of this book was spellbinding as she finally made a decent decision. The author did a great job of twisting your emotions into the romance of the story. The up and downs and even the uncertainty.
I loved the author’s descriptions of the beach and even the use of a foreign language that I was beginning to understand by the end of the book. It mainly was terms of endearment. The characters had many issues and lots of baggage, especially Shal, but I loved Cam’s supportive but not stifling nature. This was indeed a sweet story, friend to lovers with a lot of history on both characters. The setting caused me to research as I’m unfamiliar with New Zealand, but what a perfect island romance. I could imagine some of the places the author described then looked them up to find an even more beautiful place. The characters are witty, honest, and troubled, and romantic. I love the moral in this story and the fear they both overcome. I was so involved with the characters I would love it if I got to see more of their relationship in another book.
The author has let me know that there is a glossary of the native language and translations in the book to help with the understanding in the book.
This is book one in the Otago Waters Series by Stephanie Ruth each books expands on a different couple you can check out the other books on Amazon.
If you would like to read Mako Bay by Stephanie Ruth you can find it on Amazon, As an Amazon associte I earn on qualifying purchases,