Title: Sweet Southern Bad Boy by Michele Summers
Harmony Homecomings Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
HE’S GOT SOMETHING SHE WANTS
When Katie McKnight gets lost location-scouting for her father’s TV studio, she stumbles upon the perfect setting for their angsty new teen vampire series-a remote barn house unfortunately occupied by a grouchy, disheveled, and incredibly sexy man who instantly mistakes her for the new nanny. Should Katie tell him the truth, or get her foot in the door?
SHE’S GOT EVERYTHING HE NEEDS
Bestselling author Vance Kerner doesn’t just have writer’s block-he’s been run ragged ever since he was saddled with taking care of his brother’s three kids, an adopted kitten, and a runaway mutt. The last thing he needs is a teen drama defiling his property, but with fascinating and unconventional Katie underfoot charming the entire Kerner household, Vance is finding it harder and harder to say no.
The newest installment in Michele Summers’ Harmony Homecomings series, Sweet Southern Bad Boy is a charming romance between a California cutie and a grouchy Southern author. This latest release can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend the previous novels as well.
Twenty-eight year old Katie McKnight is hoping that finding the perfect location for an upcoming miniseries will finally impress her impossible to satisfy father. The youngest of three siblings, she has never quite measured up to her parents’ unrealistic expectations and as a result, she gave up her teaching job in order to work in the family business. With extremely low self-esteem due to her mother’s disparaging comments about Katie’s appearance and her loathsome (sort of ex) boyfriend Tad’s equally withering observations, Katie is a bit of a doormat who finds it impossible to stand up for herself. Absolutely convinced she has found the right place for her father’s next project, Katie has her work cut out for persuading the owner to sign the contract.
Novelist Vance Kerner is under deadline but temporarily caring for his brother’s rambunctious children leaves him little time or energy to work on his novel. Initially mistaking Katie for his newly hired nanny, he agrees to listen to her proposition in exchange for her taking care of the kids. Vance has no intention of allowing her father film on his property but Katie hopes that over time, she’ll convince him change his mind so she agrees to work for him temporarily while he writes his novel. Vance has a serious case of lust for Katie, but this bad boy is really a Southern gentleman in disguise so he tries to keep his distance from his curvaceous nanny.
On paper, Vance and Katie are perfect for each other but their relationship follows a formulaic pattern with very predictable external conflicts and betrayals. Katie’s self-doubts quickly become repetitive and since she loved her career as a teacher, it is impossible to understand why she allowed her father to manipulate her into giving up her job to work for him. It is also a little incomprehensible that Katie allows her self-absorbed and shallow mother’s comments to have such a negative effect on her self-image. Katie’s relationship with Tad is also a little hard to believe since she clearly sees that he is using her as a stepping stone in his career. Why she does not cut him loose is a complete mystery and it is incredibly frustrating that she continues to let him get to her. Her father’s sneaky behind the scenes maneuvering is also a source of irritation and it is extremely maddening that Vance allows himself to get sucked into his scheme. It is very easy to guess how Katie is going to react once she learns the truth about what has been happening behind her back but thankfully, this is just the impetus she needs to finally discover her backbone, confront her parents and make decisions about her future that are based on what is best for her.
Despite some frustration with overused plot devices, Sweet Southern Bad Boy is a cute romance between two very likable characters. Insta-lust quickly turns to insta-love which results in a very fast progression of Vance and Katie’s relationship. With plenty of witty banter, cutsey nicknames and a cast of quirky characters, this latest outing in Michele Summers’ Harmony Homecomings series will appeal to readers who enjoy small-town romances.