They're gorgeous, they're rich, they're single, and they're determined to stay that way…until they take a trip to Sanctuary Island. Don't miss this unforgettable new novella trilogy about three billionaire bachelors who are about to discover that sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned in order to embrace the life of your dreams.
In the first novella, The Fireside Inn, Lord Leo Stratham seems to have it all. But when he meets Sanctuary Island's quirky young librarian, he's intrigued. Serena is unlike anyone he's ever met before, and he's determined to get to know her a whole lot better. Yet despite the simmering attraction between them, she isn't interested in putting up with a pampered playboy...unless he can convince her to take a chance on him.
About the Author
Lily Everett grew up in a small town in central Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although she's lived many other places since, from college in Philadelphia to her first job in New York City and her current home in Austin, Texas, she never forgot the beauty and warmth of her little hometown. She is thrilled to be writing the Sanctuary Island series full time because it allows her to combine.
Lily Everett grew up in a small town in Virginia reading Misty of Chincoteague and Black Beauty, taking riding lessons, and longing for a horse of her own. Sadly, her parents gave her a college education instead—but she never forgot what the world looked like from the back of a horse. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time.
Read an Excerpt
The Fireside Inn
By Lily Everett
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Lily Everett
All rights reserved.
Serena Lightfoot took a last, deep gulp of her coffee before regretfully tossing the rest in the big metal trash can by the front door. No food or drink in the library was a good rule. She'd implemented it herself when she took over as Head Librarian of the tiny Sanctuary Island Public Library two years ago.
But while she didn't miss the days of wiping down sticky reading tables or dabbing potato chip crumbs out of the spines of her precious books, Serena did occasionally regret the loss of the steady caffeine intake that had gotten her through grad school.
Better for your blood pressure anyway, she told herself firmly as she scuffed the bottoms of her high-heeled, lace-up Oxfords on the horsehair mat before unlocking the door and slipping into her domain, locking the door behind her. Inhaling the familiar comfort of paper, leather bindings, and book dust, Serena flicked on the overhead lights and dumped her crocheted bag on the reference desk.
This was one of her favorite parts of the day — the silence and solitude before the library was officially open. She could catch up on her cataloguing, work on the management system for the special collection of playwrights she was considering, check in the overnight returns. ... Serena sighed happily, her fingers itching to get to work organizing things.
Although. She paused, biting her lip as her ancient PC booted up. If she were smart, she'd haul out the library budget and try, once again, to make the figures come out in the black instead of the red.
Agitatedly scraping her unruly blond curls into a loose topknot, Serena knew she now probably looked like the prototypical spinster librarian. But she couldn't be bothered to care about that with the incomplete budget hanging over her. She shrugged out of her navy blue cardigan and wiggled in her rolling desk chair to get comfy. Might as well settle in for an hour of wrestling with finances, she decided glumly. That sick feeling in her stomach wasn't going to disappear until she knew the Sanctuary Island Public Library would continue for another year.
But just as she clicked open her spreadsheet program, a loud knock banged on the locked library door.
Heart thudding quickly at the surprise, Serena stood up and walked slowly around the reference desk. She spared a fleeting thought for the fact that she was all alone in the library — but this was Sanctuary Island, the sleepiest little town full of the nicest people she'd ever met. There wasn't even a bridge or a causeway connecting it to the mainland; the Virginia coastline was barely a gray smudge on the horizon, visible only from Honeysuckle Ridge, Wanderer's Point, and the lighthouse.
Another knock made her jump and roll her eyes at herself. She didn't have time for nonsense today. "The library is closed," she called firmly.
"I see." Even muffled, the voice through the door sent a strangely electric shiver down her spine. Brisk and British, but with a masculine, velvety warmth that made her want to wrap it around herself like a hand-knit blanket and rub her cheek all over it. The voice continued, "And what time will you be opening?"
Serena frowned. "The hours are clearly posted right beside the door," she replied. "Come back at nine."
There was an odd, awkward silence that lasted long enough for her to wonder if he'd gone away without another word. But then she heard a quiet, "Damn" before he raised his voice again. "Look, I'm sorry about this, but I'm not sure where else to go. I need your help. Won't you let me in, please?"
Catching her fingers twisting in the hem of her messily untucked button-down, Serena stilled her nervous fidgeting. "I don't think that's such a good idea."
The voice went low and silky with amusement. "I promise, I'm perfectly harmless."
Serena shivered again. That voice! He sure didn't sound harmless. He sounded like he'd be a danger to any woman's sanity — especially a woman who'd never had very good luck with men.
That was a decent point. After all, considering Serena's luck, Mr. Hot Voice would no doubt turn out to be a hundred and five, stooped and balding, and with typically terrible British teeth. Deciding she was probably safe, Serena laughed softly at herself and unlocked the door.
Standing on the library doorstep was an impeccably dressed, broad-shouldered man about seventy years younger than her projection. He stood straight and tall, easily topping six feet, and the amber glow of the early morning sun turned his dark hair into a thick halo of fiery auburn waves.
The man smiled urbanely, showing a mouth full of perfect white teeth, and Serena bit back a sigh.
Her first impression had been completely correct. Despite the perfectly tailored James-Bond-style trench coat, the glossy leather shoes, and the lazy way he leaned on the handle of his sturdy umbrella, there was absolutely nothing harmless about this man.
"Thank you so much," the man said, "I'm utterly in your debt. Miss —?"
"Serena," she said dumbly, then flushed. This man wasn't one of her pre-K storytime kids, who all called her Miss Serena in their little, piping voices. "Sorry, I mean, Lightfoot. Serena Lightfoot. Head Librarian of the Sanctuary Island Public Library."
He had the good manners to raise his brows as if impressed by the title she'd insisted on when the town council voted to hire her. Maybe it was meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it meant something to Serena. That title was an achievement — it meant all her hard work, all the loneliness, betrayal and personal sacrifice, had been worth it.
A smile twitched at the corner of the British stranger's well-shaped lips, and Serena lifted her chin. Okay, so the Sanctuary Island Public Library was tiny, a brick shoebox of a building that obviously didn't have room to house enough books to call for a fleet of librarians. But even if it was just Serena and her gaggle of part-time volunteers, she was still the Head Librarian!
"Miss Lightfoot," he said, tone full of grave respect even if his light gray eyes were dancing with laughter, "May I be so bold as to introduce myself?"
This wealthy-looking, extremely cultured stranger reminded Serena of how she used to feel in school when the popular kids would approach her solitary cafeteria lunch table and ask for help with their homework. Shrugging grumpily, Serena jammed her hands into the pockets of her faded corduroy slacks. "Knock yourself out."
Another slight, suave, glittering smile. "I'm Leo Strathairn, a visitor to your fair island, and I'm ever so pleased to meet you."
He held out his hand and, reluctantly, Serena took it. The touch of his smooth, strong fingers sent a jolt of heat up her arm, even in the chilly winter air.
A flicker of awareness glowed in the depths of Leo Strathairn's silvery blue eyes, and he held onto her hand as he said, "Thank you for opening your doors early — I understand what an imposition this is, but I simply didn't know where else to turn. I need a favor."
Unwilling to be charmed — in her experience, charming people always wanted something from her — Serena worked her fingers free of Leo's light grasp and stepped back over the threshold and onto her home turf. "Come on in and tell me what you need, then we'll see if I can help you."
Leo sauntered past her, idly swinging his umbrella, and the moment the library door closed behind them, Serena knew she'd made a huge tactical blunder.
Enclosed within the musty silence of the old library, surrounded by the row upon row of books, the sheer, solid presence of Leo Strathairn was overwhelming. He seemed to suck all the air out of the room, simply by standing there and breathing as he glanced around the stacks with an odd, indecipherable expression tightening his chiseled features.
For the space of a heartbeat, Serena simply watched him take it all in, from the high, arched casement windows that were such a pain to clean, to the colorful crayon art lining the wall behind her desk. If he made fun of this place she'd poured her heart and soul into, Serena knew she wouldn't be granting him any favors.
But for the first time since she opened the door and laid eyes on him, all trace of a smile melted away from Leo's face. The sardonic glint in his eyes was overshadowed by something darker yet softer — something like yearning. Serena caught her breath at the man's odd wistfulness as he stared at her cherished books, but when he met her gaze again, it was gone.
"Lovely building," he said, neutral and polite enough to make Serena blink. Had she imagined that fleeting ache of emotion in his eyes? Maybe. Those light eyes were flat silver now, completely shuttered in the glare of the buzzing overhead fluorescents.
"Thanks," Serena said slowly. "It's on the historic register, but then, so is most of the island. Sanctuary is chockablock with old stuff."
"Americans have such a charming concept of age," Leo drawled, a little mocking but also fond. "Anything more than fifty years old gets slapped onto the historic registry, doesn't it? But I suppose it's all relative."
Serena stiffened. "So what brings you to our upstart little nation? I'm sure there are plenty of bigger, fancier libraries in your neck of the woods."
"I wouldn't know. I'm not much for libraries." He flicked an invisible speck of dust from the belted cuff of his immaculate trench coat.
Scowling, Serena crossed her arms over her chest. No matter how gorgeous he was, and how much that accent made her knees wobble, she couldn't be attracted to a man who didn't care about libraries, reading, and books. "And yet, here you are."
Leo smiled engagingly at her, and even the fact that Serena could tell he was exerting himself to be deliberately charming didn't completely negate the effect. "Because I'm in dire need of your expertise, Miss Lightfoot. I've been given an assignment, you see, and I haven't the foggiest idea how to go about it."
An assignment. Okay, that sounded like they were heading toward solid ground. Smoothing down her messy hair into something a little more businesslike, Serena stepped quickly around her desk and perched on her high chair. More comfortable with the width of the wooden research desk — and the metaphorical professional distance it provided — between them, she was able to return his engaging grin with a tight, cool smile of her own. "I'm glad to help. Is this an assignment for work or for school?"
His rust-colored brows arched up in surprise. "I'm a little old for a schoolboy, don't you think?"
He seemed to be a bit obsessed with age. Funny, considering he couldn't be much older than thirty-five. "My Master's program was full of students of all ages," Serena told him. "There's no such thing as being too old to keep learning."
A spasm of darkness flickered across his handsome face. The way he'd tilted his head down threw shadows across his sharp cheekbones and elegant jawline, and the sweep of his lashes was like a fan of cinnamon against his fair English complexion. "What a pretty thought."
Trying not to bristle at his casual dismissal of one of the most deeply held convictions of her life, Serena kept her voice neutral. "I'm full of pretty thoughts. But I'm afraid we're too pressed for time for me to share more of them — I'll have to open the library soon, and my first appointment of the day is with a group of patrons who do not like to be kept waiting."
It was absolutely true — the five-year-olds who had storytime on Tuesdays hadn't learned patience yet. They were liable to stage a riot if she wasn't ready and waiting with the next chapter of Charlotte's Web.
"Forgive me." Leo inclined his head and leaned one insouciant elbow on her desk. "The assignment is neither for work nor study — it's for a wedding."
Serena blinked at her screen, fingers poised above her keyboard. "What?"
"A friend of mine is getting married on this island: Miles Harrington. Perhaps you know him?"
"Everyone knows the Harringtons," she said, mind racing. "The family has owned a big chunk of the island for generations."
And until recently, the three heirs to the Harrington fortune had never set foot on Sanctuary. Then, last summer they'd arrived one by one, each handsomer than the last, and set the town gossip machine to buzzing. Serena wasn't a big fan of gossip, and as a relative newcomer to the island, she didn't have a ton of friends, but even she'd heard all about how the Harrington brothers had swooped in and swept three lucky ladies off their feet and into the lap of luxury.
What she wouldn't give to have half an hour with a Harrington — any of them! — to tell them why they should pour just a tiny portion of their billions into sponsoring the local library.
"My friend, Miles, is the eldest," Leo explained. "And from what I've seen since I arrived, he's fallen arse over teakettle for his bride-to-be. He wants everything about their whirlwind wedding to be perfect, and of course, as his friend, I'm eager to oblige."
A tiny thrill of excitement rippled over Serena. Who didn't like a wedding? "I'm happy to help, if I can."
"Oh, you can." Leo smiled right into her eyes, his voice dropping into the thick tension between them like stones into a river. "You see, I've been tasked with choosing a love poem to read aloud during the ceremony. And I'm certain you'll be able to find me the perfect one."
A switch clicked in Serena's head, flipping through her mental files faster than her fingers could type in the search parameters for the card catalogue. "Absolutely, Mr. Strathairn. Let me just pull up a few anthologies and poetry collections, and you can start reading through them. Were you thinking modern poetry or classical? English or translations? Our poetry collection is small, but well curated."
Leo surprised her by reaching across the desk to still her typing fingers with a touch. Freezing, Serena looked up into his gray eyes. "Actually, love, I had something else in mind."
She swallowed, vividly aware that the jump of her pulse was probably visible at the base of her neck. "Oh?"
Another brilliant smile. "I was thinking that you could go ahead and simply choose a poem for me."
Serena felt the flush of heat in her cheeks the moment before she consciously understood what he was asking.
It was like high school all over again, the hot jock flirting just to get her to do his homework for him. And it hadn't ended there.
Sick to her stomach at the memory of the last time she'd fallen for a persuasive man who only wanted to use her for her brain, Serena's voice shook with anger. "You want me to choose the poem you'll read at your friend's wedding for you. Why, because you're too busy and important and ... and ... British to do the work yourself?"
Surprise widened his eyes. Geez, when was the last time anyone had said "no" to this guy?
"I beg your pardon," Leo said stiffly. "I was under the impression that you're a research librarian at a public library. Isn't it your job to ... well, research?"
"Research? Yes. Perform an incredibly personal and important service that ought to be between you and your friend, the groom, with zero help or input from you? You must be out of your mind."
Nobody was that charming or handsome without also being an entitled jerk. Serena had learned her lesson early and well.
But as Leo Strathairn drew himself up to his full, impressive height and stared at her with the morning sun streaming over his perfect, striking features, Serena felt a coil of heat tighten low in her abdomen.
If anybody was handsome and charming enough to make her forget the past, it was this gorgeous Englishman.
Excerpted from The Fireside Inn by Lily Everett. Copyright © 2014 Lily Everett. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The writing really was not bad. But to pay more than a dollar for 86 pages is ridiculous. Do not buy this book!
Enjoyable novella In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. I enjoyed this novella and would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The novella was well written and the story was interesting but I found myself wanting more depth in several areas. At the opening of the story, we meet Miles, Leo and a couple of their wealthy friends. Miles is getting married and make a bet with his Billionaire friends that if they come to Sanctuary Island to help him get ready for his wedding that they will also fall in love. They agree and go to the Island. Leo has been given the task of performing a reading at the wedding. Leo often sounds poetic so this should be good fit for him. He decided to go to the local library where he meets Serena, the librarian. Leo convinces Serena to help him with the reading and also tells her that he plans to seduce her. They grow close while working on Leo's assignment. This novella had several areas that I would have liked to see a bit more. I think a more complete back story into Leo's past would have developed his character quite well. The same really applies to Serena. The main conflict between this two characters is based upon their past so understanding exactly what they had gone through and what they had felt would have added to the plot. I also would have liked to see what each character was doing during the time between the conflict and the wedding. This just seemed like the ideal time for one of the central characters to reach out to the other. Even though I would have liked to see more in some areas of the novella, I did thoroughly enjoy the story. I really liked the author's style of writing and plan to look for one of her full length books which may give me that "more" that I seem to want.
When Miles Harrington gets engaged he wants his best friends, Leo, Zane and Cooper to be groomsmen in his wedding and he would love it if the other billionaires came and spent a few week on Sanctuary Island. Miles did warn the guys that when you come to the island, most people end up finding love. Of course all his bachelor friends laugh at this notion so Miles' makes a bet that whoever does not fall in love by the day of his wedding can have his helicopter and launch pad at the club. Lord Leo Stratham may be from British royalty but he knows he will always be a bachelor. When Leo has to pick a reading to be read at Miles' wedding he knows that he needs help.....Leo doesn't know how to read very well. Leo decides to head to the Sanctuary Island library for help. There he meets Serena Lightfoot, the town's quirky head librarian. As these two spend more time together, things heat up quickly. Just as it looks as if these two will get their happy ending, Leo's secret comes to life and Serena feels betrayed because of events from her past. It will take a lot for this stubborn Brit to throw away his pride in order to win the woman's heart he truly wants. This was such a sweet novella. I really liked both of these characters and really enjoyed their happy ending.
Title: The Fireside Inn - Billionaire Bachelors Novella 1 Author: Lily Everett Publisher: St Martin's Press Published: 1-7-2014 ISBN: 13-9781466854741 E-Book ASIN: B00F8GKEQQ Pages: 105 Genre: Romance Tags: Contemporary, Series, Novella Miles Harrington, first introduced in the Billionaire Brothers Trilogy Book Three also which set on Sanctuary Island, gathers his three friends together to announce his engagement to Greta and his wedding plans. The three friends, Zane Bishop, CEO of Whatever Entertainment and owner of three highly successful Manhattan night clubs, Lord Leo Strathairn, playboy younger son of a wealthy English Lord, and Cooper Haynes, who is a self made billionaire, are floored by the news and at first try to dissuade him and then ask if he is being blackmailed into marriage. When they finally accept he loves Greta he asks each of his chosen groomsmen to do a task to help with the wedding. He wants Miles to arrange the wedding venue and reception. His request to Leo is that he choose a special reading for the wedding. Lastly he asks that Cooper arrange the honeymoon trip of a lifetime. As the three prepare to depart the Biltmore Club and Miles announces that he is taking his private helicopter back to Sanctuary Island the men come up with a bet. Miles agrees to give the winner his helicopter and private access to club helicopter pad, something the other three can not hope to attain for years if ever, in exchange for their coming to the Island with him now. They are to stay until the wedding four weeks hence. The bet is that their lives will be changed forever and that they will find the loves of their lives before Miles walks down the aisle to say I do. Each man is confident he will win and accept the bet. The Fireside Inn is the first in this novella trilogy is Leo Strathairn's story. When he arrives on Sanctuary Island and goes to the library he meets the head librarian, Selena Lightfoot. He asks her to help him with the selection to read at the wedding. Selena agrees to help until she discovers he actually wants her to find the piece for him. After a scathing lecture on living up to his responsibilities and his offering her a donation equal to the libraries next fiscal year's operation needs if she will do it, they compromise. Selena will research for items suitable to his needs and he will help with the final selection. As the time passes the attraction between the two becomes stronger with each passing day. Both Selena and Leo are hiding secrets from their past which could destroy the fragile bond growing between them. Can their torn emotions survive when all is revealed or with their past keep them from achieving a loving future. Join them on Sanctuary Island as they travel the ever twisting road of romance and help them learn to embrace their hearts desires. This is the story to warm you on these cold winter nights. A light romance novella that will make you laugh with the humorous dialog, cry at the anguish each of the leading characters endures, and have hope that tomorrow will bring the answers needed to heal the cracks in their hearts. I had such a fun time reading this series. Ms. Everett's style of writing reminds me of another author I used to read without question because it was guaranteed to make me laugh and lift my spirits no matter what was going on around me. Thank you NetGalley for providing this novella to me in exchange for my honest review.
I liked the book.. it was interesting but too short... I rather have a longer story... this was short and fast for me
This is the first time I read this author. It won't be the last. This is a novella in the Sanctuary Island series. Lily also has a knack at developing her characters. The main characters are lead by Miles and they are all billionaires. Miles is getting married and wants them to get caught too! Each has a role in his wedding and Leo is the first to start. He meets up with Serena to help him with his part. Here is where the secrets and twists come into play. I would recommend this book as a good read. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
I have loved the Sanctuary Island books that Lily Everett started last year, and with this new series, The Billionaire Brothers, she has continued the excellent quality of writing and storytelling. I think I have a new favorite hero now in Leo. To be vulnerable with his reading inability that is common these days and to weave into a wonderful story when he visits the loca l library to get help in coming up with a reading for his friend, Miles Harrington, at his upcoming wedding. I hate to spoil anything but what he reads at the wedding is something so wonderful and romantic that all I could do was sigh. I cannot wait to read the other books in the series
I loved these two. They each have their own hangups, but Everett does an amazing job of making her characters full-bodied in just a handful of pages. I loved that these two have something that can help the other but they each have to get past their own issues to see it. The ending perfectly brought it all together. This is an off-shoot of Everett’s series set on Sanctuary Island (involving Miles and his brothers) but I’ve not read any of the others and I really don’t think it is necessary. I’m intrigued though because her writing style is very smooth and her characters are quite addictive. The Fireside Inn is so beautifully compelling that I am very much looking forward to seeing the other two bachelors. We don’t get a lot of their stories here, which is fine because I wanted to see as much of Leo and Serena as I could. (Full review available at Romantic Reads and Such on wordpress.)
I loved this book. I loved the romaance and the possibility of true love at first sight. I loved the hope of the future for Leo and Serena. They were truly meant to be together and to heal each others hearts. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the power of romance.
A cozy, heartwarming, beautifully written romance, I was deeply moved by this gem of a story. I loved the characters who prove that opposites attract, and that love makes us stronger. I savored every moment of this story and will be reading everything I can from this author. I'm so happy I discovered her!
This is perfect book to read with this cold weather, it will heat you right up. A short story of Leo and Serena. Does the magic of Sanctuary Island get to Leo. I loved how Serena help Leo with his personal roadblock that he has hidden from everyone. Looking forward to the next Billionaire book next week.
really enjoyed this book after I read the Billionaire Brothers series. I had gotten about 10% into Fireside Inn and wasn't connecting completely with the characters. I decided to go and read the previous series since they were connected and I was so glad. I would not have enjoyed this story half as much without having the background of the other series and would recommend reading the other three books first. This book was very good, the characters were believable, likable and well written. Even though this book was a novella it was still complete. It will be interesting to see where this series takes the characters. One thing I have to say, I really like that the characters of all of the books are interconnected. It makes the novella whole.
This is a fantastic novella that takes us back to Sanctuary Island and a group of billionaires on the Island for the marriage of Miles and Greta. Can the magic of the island work on these hardened bachelors?? This is a great story no one wants to miss!
Mostly plot spoilers bragging how they got their book for free for their (cough cough) honest review. Please, its not. Its a bought review, be honest. You do not have to rewrite the entire book for a review. Just state if you liked it or not. By telling every detail you ruin it for those of us who may want to actually buy it. Please think of others before you regirgitate the entire book and rewrite it.
Good Book! I am drawn to all books and novellas that have the some form of the word "Billionaire" in the title. After reading the book blurb, I just had to read Fireside Inn. This is the first book I have read by Lily Everett and it certainly won't be the last. This story is about four billionaires who are also very good friends. Miles Harrington is the oldest and he is getting married to the love of his life on the island of Sanctuary Cove. Miles professes that the island is the cure-all for the lovelorn and bets his friends, that by the time of his wedding, they will all have experienced the magic of finding love in Sanctuary Cove. This novella focuses on Lord Leo Strathairn, a handsome billionaire of old British money. Leo harbors a secret that he has never shared with anyone, that is until he meets Serena Lightfoot, the head librarian of the Sanctuary Cove Library. Serena is an extremely smart and attractive woman. She enjoys managing the small library immensely and will do whatever fundraising is necessary to keep it open for all to enjoy. When Leo approaches her about helping him find the perfect reading for Miles' wedding, she agrees on the condition that Leo will introduce her to some of the people that may be able to make a substantial donation to the library. Serena and Leo have instant chemistry and their platonic relationship evolves into much more very quickly. However, in order for them to have a future together, they must learn how to let go of their insecurities. Fireside Inn is an sweet, fast-paced novella. The characters are well-defined, likeable and real. If you have some time to spare, you may want to spend it in Sanctuary Cove. I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed reading THE FIRESIDE INN by Lily Everett. The intro begins with Miles bringing his three confirmed bachelor best friends to the Billionaires Club so he can tell them he plans to marry and how he'd like them each to help. In the face of their disbelief and scoffing he offers up a pretty hefty bet they will all also find love in Sanctuary Island. This made me wonder what I would be reading. I am happy to say this was not another story of an arrogant billionaire who always gets his way and behaves however he wants because he has the power and money to get away with it. I was very happy to find a sweet, romantic tale of a wealthy man with a long held secret that has made him vulnerable all of his life. Leo Strathairn's secret has held him captive in many ways for in guarding it he has also had to hold back his emotions in order to avoid discovery. This has made him a man who has never felt the love, understanding or comfort of another. When Miles asks him to select and do a reading about love during his wedding ceremony Leo feels completely ill-equipped for the job. When Leo meets Serena Lightfoot, the Head Librarian at the public library in Sanctuary Island he believes she is the perfect person to assist him with his task. Serena has always had a kind and romantic heart, but since she was usually at the top of her classes the only thing boys, and then later men, seemed to notice was her brain. She's a little suspicious of a handsome man like Leo showing interest in her due to bitter disappointments in her own past. Too many times she was tricked by someone showing her attention only to discover they were only after her help by doing their assignments and never really cared for her. However, with his British accent and charm, his agreement to help her secure sponsors to help her library, and a sincere promise his only ulterior motive is that he plans use their time together to seduce her sweet body, she agrees to do the research for Leo and meet with him to go over her selections. Leo and Serena have a strong initial attraction and wonderful chemistry that develops into something deeper. Through this connection Serena sees through the facade Leo has always hid behind to his potential and finds herself falling in love. Leo too is smitten by the quiet and honest strength of Serena. She is so different from the socialites and models he usually dates. At first glance they seem an unlikely pairing, but in truth Ms. Everett offers a perfectly matched couple with a very endearing story of love I rate with 4 stars. *I received this eBook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
E-Galley provided by publisher via Net Galley for review purposes on my blog. This review is adapted from that. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own. Though steamy and suggestive, this story is surprisingly tame. While I liked the relationship development, and the way the hero’s deep dark secret was treated was sensitive and empowering, but the secret itself struck me as fairly unrealistic. It’s hard to imagine how, even with inherited money, one could make or maintain a fortune while hanging on to this secret. When Serena discovers his secret, her reaction was way over the top. Honestly, I didn’t get it. Another thing I did not get was the Fireside Inn being the titular focus. It’s not on the island, or that was what I understood anyway. Also, most of the development of the relationship occurs outside. But, it’s romantic. Aside from the unrealistic nature of Leo’s secret and Serena’s reaction, the story is short and sweet. It’s not Shakespeare, but that’s okay. It’s pure fantasy escapism. The emotional work done to achieve the ending happens off the page, so while it is lovely, I didn’t quite believe it.
I was excited to request a copy of this novella from Net Galley to review, because I love this author. Lily Everett has also written as Louisa Edwards, and I just ate up her Rising Star Chef series and her Recipe for Love novels, pardon the pun. Her stories are normally spicy and full of wonderfully engaging characters. I did mentally have to prepare myself for a novella, rather than a full story, which can catch you off guard if you aren't expecting it. Yes, this is short, so the story is accelerated and the intense relationships of the characters are enhanced, but I think the author handled this beautifully. This short story was like getting a taste of things to come. I haven't yet picked up the full length, Sanctuary Island, but after this, I will. It may seem cliche to read about billionaires and their love lives, but Everett managed to make the story be about the characters, with the money taking a backseat. Leo was clever and dreamy and Serena was intelligent and warm. Their connection was a pleasure to read about and you root for them from the very first meeting. This is a wonderfully quick read that will leave you wanting more from this magical, peaceful island that connects soul mates. An absolute pleasure and I can't wait to get my hands on the full length novels. I received a copy of this title from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, so here it is. Miles Harrington is getting married and his three friends think he is crazy. They don't believe in love or marriage. When they bet his helicopter no less, that they might find love too on Sanctuary Island, they take the bet. Leo, Zane and Cooper are all helping with the wedding, Leo will do a reading, Leo is planning the reception and Cooper is planning the honeymoon. But the real question is, who will fall in love first? When Leo meets Serena, he wants her to assist him in finding the perfect wedding poem. What is doesn't expect, is the attraction they both feel. With both Leo and Serena's past history can she forgive is lie? Will Leo lose the bet? This is a first for me by Lily Everett and I loved it. Can't wait to read more from her. If you love a great contemporary romance then I would recommend this series, The Billionaire Bachelors.
What do billionaire bachelors do when one of their own has found love and is being married on the beautiful Sanctuary Island? Of course, they make a wager, whoever comes to this amazing place and leaves after the wedding unchanged, unattached and without a new love of their own,wins a multimillion dollar helicopter. Yep, really. The Fireside Inn by Lily Everett is the first book in Billionaire Bachelor Trilogy, and we know these guys are going to fall in L-O-V-E, one by one, like dominoes, very rich dominoes. It isn't the outcome that's the big secret, its the journey and what a wonderful trip book one is! Lord Leo Strathairn inherited his family’s money, his title, and his position in London's high society. But nothing could have prepared him for Sanctuary Island's head librarian, Serena. She is quirky, soft-hearted, yet strong and wary of Leo's attempts to do more than check out the books in the library. She has been fooled before, but underneath Leo's worldly, playboy exterior, there is a insecure man hiding a hidden shame and a kind and caring heart. Fast, fun and light reading that will make you smile, Lily Everett writes with a breezy style that moves along quickly, highlighting the brighter side of falling in love when you least expect it. I received an ARc edition from St. Martin's Press in exchange for my honest review.