Title: Meant to Be Mine by Lisa Marie Perry
Guilty Pleasures Series Book One
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Loving him was hard. Wanting him was so damn easy . . .
Sofia Mercer may have been sick as a teen, but she’s no delicate flower. And she’s proven it by making it on her own and starting a new life away from the town that turned against her, away from the boy who broke her already fragile heart. But when her aunt Luz dies unexpectedly, leaving Sofia with a mountain of regrets and the keys to a quirky boutique, Sofia has no choice but to return to Cape Cod. Only, this new life in her old town comes with complications.
Burke Wolf was Sofia’s first love-a relationship that burned bright and went up in flames. Seeing him again, Sofia can’t help but get caught up in that all-too-familiar tornado of passion and pain. He’s battled his own demons-that much is clear. But Sofia can’t afford to be careless with her heart . . . and loving Burke again might just break it completely.
The first installment in Lisa Marie Perry’s Guilty Pleasures series, Meant to Be Mine is a second chance at love romance between former friends who have not seen one another for fourteen years.
Sophia Mercer has not been back to Eaves, MA since she and father left years earlier after a scandal. Following her beloved great aunt’s death, Sophia returns for the funeral but after the service, she is more than ready to return to the anonymity of New York. However, Sophia decides to move back to the small town after inheriting her aunt’s specialty store and apartment. Running into her old friend Burke Wolf stirs up long forgotten feelings but will their complicated pasts prevent them acting on their scorching hot attraction?
A sickly child with a life threatening heart condition, Sophia has been fairly healthy since receiving a much needed heart transplant. She has a successful career but after returning from her aunt’s funeral, her life does not seem to quite fit her any more. Realizing she would rather be in Eaves, she moves back home although she knows she will have to make peace with some of the ghosts of her past. Sophia is a smart and savvy business woman who has an uphill battle ahead of her as she makes some pretty gutsy changes to her aunt’s business. One of the improvements she would like to make involves spending time with Burke, but their interactions are rather acrimonious due to their somewhat convoluted history with one another.
Several years ago, Burke finally managed to kick his drug addiction and he continues to work hard to maintain his sobriety. Running into Sophia brings back painful childhood memories he has tried very hard to forget. Despite their unlikely friendship, they were once thick as thieves and Sophia saved him more than once during his turbulent teen years. While he and Sophia supported on another during very tough times, he kept much of his life a secret from her and he still keeps a tight lid on the reasons for his substance abuse problems. Despite his unhappy history, Burke cannot quite leave Eaves for good although his career keeps him away from town for long stretches of time.
Burke and Sophia’s relationship seems to be following the same frustrating pattern as when they were teenagers. They get along on a superficial level but the peace between them is tenuous which leads to an irritating pattern of them getting along, fighting and making up then turn around and repeat the cycle time and again. Neither of them has dealt with the lingering issues from their respective childhoods and they both have a tendency to shut down or run away instead of discussing their problems. Burke and Sophia spend so much time apart that it is difficult to connect with them as a couple and while there is plenty of passion between them, something always stops them before they consummate their desire.
While the plot is interesting, it does not seem to have much focus. There are multiple story arcs involving numerous secondary characters so the storyline often feels chaotic and disjointed. Every character seems to be keeping secrets and while this helps keep readers invested in the unfolding story, it is also irritating since there is little context for their actions or decisions. With so much going on with Burke and Sophia, the plot feels a little overly complicated and busy because there is plenty of drama going on with the secondary cast of characters as well.
Despite a few flaws, Meant to Be Mine is a nice introduction to the Guilty Pleasures series. Sophia is a strong female lead and her medical condition adds another layer to the storyline. Burke is a well-rounded hero and his struggle with recovery is realistically portrayed. The conflict between them is believable although it takes a little too long for begin working through their emotional baggage. Lisa Marie Perry’s tantalizing glimpses of the secondary characters will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series.