by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #1
Publisher: Carina Press
on June 7, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
When Keri Daniels' editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job. Joe's never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he's intrigued to hear Keri's back in town--and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he'll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school. He proposes an outrageous plan--for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she's worked too hard to walk away from her career. But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe's sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn't ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.
As you know I am not a huge fan of contemporary romance, but there are a few exceptions; small town romance series, cowboys (I am a sucker for a man in cowboy boots) and families. Over the summer I read Slow Summer Kisses and picked up this series. Exclusively Yours is the first novel in the Kowalski Family series. It had all the elements I love in a contemporary romance and I quickly consumed this. If you are looking for a feel good, clean romance surrounding a fun, quirky, tight-knit family Shannon Stacey has just the series for you.
Keri Daniels and Joe Kowalski were highschool sweethearts and Joe thought they would be together forever. After graduations they parted ways as Keri went off to Los Angeles to pursue a career in journalism. When Keri’s boss discovers she dated the reclusive author she gives Keri an ultimatum. Get an exclusive interview or find another job. It took Joe a long time to get over Keri. When he discovers she is home and looking for him he’s determined to send her packing. When they meet he discovers the chemistry between them is still there. So he blackmails her instead. She has to go on the annual Kowalski camping trip, participate in all activities and in exchange she will get to ask one question a day. The tale that unfolds was positively delightful as we watch their romance develop and other relationships in the Kowalski family.
I adore the complex, fleshed out characters Stacey brings to us. The camping trip was the perfect venue for introducing the Kowalski’s and their significant others. Keri is strong, competent, and she thinks she has it all; that is until she sees exactly what has been missing. Joe is adorable, takes care of his family and still head over heels for Keri. The chemistry between them was delightful, full of sexual tension. Terry, Joe’s twin was a hoot, a bitch and I ended up liking her. She and Keri use to be best friends and it was interesting and funny watching them interact. Her marriage of thirteen years to Evan is on the rocks, and this was an enjoyable side story. Kevin is the only single brother in the mix, he is recently divorced and has changed careers. I cannot wait to learn more about him. Mike Kowalski and wife Lisa are struggling as their youngest son approaches the first grade. All of the romances were bittersweet, believable and heartwarming. I love how Stacey blended humor. Joe’s’ mom had her spoon in everything!
The family and history Stacey created in the Kowalski’s was wonderful. The characters were believable and I connected with them. Their interactions, humor and problems were portrayed in a realistic way, complete with sibling bickering. The author weaves a light, humorous, heartwarming tale around this family and I cannot wait to read more about them. While there is sexual tension and some hanky-panky, it was clean and mostly implied. I could easily talk to my daughters about this one without turning fifty shades of red. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this family series.
I recommend Exclusively Yours to fan of small town, family romance series. This is a funny, romantic, contemporary that will leave you feeling good. Undeniably Yours the next book brings us Kevin’s story and I cannot wait to read it.
I gave this novel 4 hazelnut cups of coffee out of 5