All Hearts on Deck (Till There Was You Book 3)
by Gianni Holmes
My brother and his family are the most important people in my life. When he asks me to be the guardian of his kids in the event of his death, I agree. How can I not? He took me off the streets almost seven years ago. Now I’m 22, my brother’s dead, and I’m the guardian of his 6-year-old twins. I made him a promise our last Christmas together —our mother will never get her hands on his kids. A year after his death I’m struggling. My mother’s threatening to take away our home, and this might be my last Christmas with them. Thanks to my boss, and the cruise tickets he gives me for Christmas bonus, I’m able to get away with the kids. And I’ll try not to think that I may have done the one thing I promised myself never to do again for those tickets.
Money and men are my two vices. The first is easy to make, the second never stays. I tend to attract men for all the wrong reasons, the latest, the handyman, Bailey, who works around my estate. When I gift him two tickets for a Western Caribbean cruise, I have no intentions of following him, but Bailey breaks our professional relationship when he shows me just how grateful he is. Following him on that cruise, I have every intention of picking up right where we left off, but Bailey comes with extra baggage I’m not sure I can handle. Do I dare pursue his heart on deck when he’s made it clear he’s a package deal?
🔥🔥🔥Heat Level: 3.5
A highly recommended ‘real’ read that just so happens to be set at Christmas!!!
OMG! From the outset, this book had a grip on me!
Wonderful writing style, with endearing characters, some real life struggles and a HEA that made everything okay in the end.
The hints to the family tragedy Bailey had suffered gripped me from the blurb, to the prologue through many of the early chapters. Oh my, I’ve got to admit I got a bit misty! Gianni’s writing style made Bailey’s (and Gina and Reggie’s) feelings so real for me and I could feel my heart breaking for those kids! I think having a young son myself I could relate, in a way, to the sadness he would feel if anything happened to us or my profound sadness if anything happened to him!
Gianni’s wonderful writing style kept me guessing as to Bailey’s back story, while endearing him to me with his emotions and nerves around Arthur. Arthur came across as an endearing ‘bear’ with love to give and a few demons of his own to face. I really enjoyed how the story played out and while Gianni could have made it grittier, darker and could have stretched out the story, it didn’t feel rushed or too short. As I am obsessed with details and realism in many of the contemporary stories I read, I loved the connection between Bailey and Arthur. It felt real and authentic and while there is a moment when I wanted to yell at Arthur for his attitude/response to Bailey’s past, I don’t think their connection could have felt more real once they found their way back to each other.
I think it helped that it’s mentioned that Bailey and Arthur knew each other for almost a year before starting something so that added to the authentic feeling of their ‘speedy’ connection. Can I just say their physical connections are hot, hot, hot! (I must say I especially enjoyed their first time in Arthur suite on the cruise, whoa 🔥🔥🔥) But I must say all the sexy times just fit wonderfully within the story and didn’t detract for the progress or come out of the blue they were just seamlessly intertwined 💜
Some extra notes:
With my insane need for details I still managed to found some ‘gaps’, leading to unanswered questions (as I usually do) but with this story my questions are inconsequential and unnecessary for the story and connection between Bailey and Arthur. My questions are; what was Bailey studying at Collage? How did David and Suzette die? Things like that…
One more thing I just have to say because it need saying. Bailey’s mother can go to hell! While I know she’s a fictional character, the way Gianni wrote about her made her, feel so real and was so unbelievably horrid, I can’t believe someone could be so evil and spiteful to her own sons! I’m so very glad Arthur ‘spoke’ to her and she will never go near those beautiful children again!
Anyway that’s all from me now
Thanks for reading 📚!