Also by this author: Sanctuary Island, Heartbreak Cove, Close to Home (Sanctuary Island, #5)
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Dr. Ben Faulkner is a veterinarian on warm, welcoming Sanctuary Island, a refuge for wild horses. Though he's dedicated his life to healing animals and rescuing the ones no one wants, Ben is nursing deep wounds of his own. After tragedy tore his family apart, he gave up his dreams of finding happiness long ago...until Merry Preston arrives on the island. Vivacious, friendly, and instantly loveable, Merry is everything Ben is not. She's also nine months pregnant and attempting to carve out a new life for herself and her unborn child.
Though Ben tries to keep his distance, when a raging storm cuts them off from the mainland, he's forced to help bring her new baby into the world. It's a harrowing experience that leaves him with one great certainty: I want these two to be my family. Seeing his opportunity, he makes a dramatic proposal to the young mother: a marriage of convenience. If Merry marries him, he'll draw up a contract naming her son as his heir and promising to provide for them both. But as they'll learn, love is more than a business proposition...and it'll take all the magic hidden in Sanctuary Island to turn Ben's proposal into something real and lasting.
Shoreline Drive is the second book in the Sanctuary Island series by Lily Everett. In this edition, readers are treated the growing romance between single-mother Meredith “Merry” Preston and veterinarian Dr. Ben Faulkner. The two characters met previously when Merry came to Sanctuary Island to get to know her estranged mother Jo Ellen. In fact, Ben was the one who helped deliver Merry’s son during a raging thunder storm who was aptly named after Ben’s middle name, Alexander. Now a new mother, Merry begins to realize that quality time with her estranged mother is dampening her own experiences as a mother, and she is beginning to feel cramped. So, when Ben offers when appears to be the perfect solution – a marriage of convenience – she is admittedly intrigued. Except how is she supposed to guard to heart from the man who has invaded her very dreams when he is so close?
I was intrigued by the premise of Merry and Ben’s relationship from the very beginning. A marriage of convenience may seem a little old school but it really is the perfect set up for the two of them. Both characters are stubborn, and have scars from their past which they have tried to overcome, and in the process have become afraid of letting another person in too closely. Plus, Merry has her son to think of. She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to Alexander especially because of a poor decision that she has made herself. Of course, plans don’t always go the way they are intended too — even the well-intended ones.
Ben and Merry lay out the course of their relationship right from the beginning. They will have a marriage in name only, and after a year if all goes well, Ben will adopt Alex as his own son so that he will inherit all that comes from him. Sounds practical right? Well, it was … except for the fact that both of these characters want each other badly. Trust me, denial is high for the two of them, and everyone else can see it except for them. As they are planning their perfect little plan out, they are not realizing what is right in front of them, and honestly it’s kind of hilarious, and made for reading this story even more fun. Of course, there are tons of misunderstandings between the two of them which is to be expected as they are thinking that the other one does not want them in the same way that they do.
I liked both of these characters before from getting to know them in the first Sanctuary Island book but, I must say after reading their own story, I love them even more. Merry is such a good hearted person even though she has been damaged in the past, and she really wants what is best for her son. Likewise, Ben is hilariously snarky at times but it is understandable why he has put up the walls that he has. Believe me, when you learn his backstory, it’ll break your heart but make you fall in love with him even more. He’s really a good guy even if he doesn’t think that he is. The two of them just work so well together, and they make the perfect little family unit with little Alex …. even if they don’t think so at first.
Another bonus which Lily Everett does with her stories is introducing us to other minor characters who I have a feeling will play a more important role in later stories in the Sanctuary Island setting. This time around we are introduced to Sheriff Andie Shepard and Sam Brennan. These two first butt heads when Andie arrests Sam’s younger cousin Matt for drinking and trespassing with a young girl named Taylor. Sam has no use for the law and thinks that Andie is just throwing her weight around in the super small town of Sanctuary Island. However, when he finds out that Andie uses her ability as sheriff to get Matt and Taylor a light sentence of community service, he starts to see her in a different light. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the two of them in the next companion book in the series Heartbreak Cove.