CAROLINA DREAMING - Virginia Kantra
A Dare Island Novel , Book 5
Dare Island, North Carolina - Present Day
Gabe Murphy is ready for a fresh start, and since the only thing he has that resembles family is the man he went through boot camp with, Gabe heads to Dare Island and Luke Fletcher. Much to his surprise, Luke is now a cop, married, and father to a teenage girl. His hopes of bunking with Luke are dashed, but Gabe decides to stick around for a while at least, and even manages to find a job. Then he meets Jane Clark, and Gabe knows he's not going anywhere.
Jane Clark works hard to put her past behind her, raising her son as a single parent with the help of her father. Her ex-husband will be released from prison soon, which is stirring up some bad memories, and her first sight of Gabe doesn't help. Why does she seem to only be attracted to bad boys? Yet, unlike her ex, Gabe seems to be a genuinely nice guy, and it's not long before Jane decides to have a little fun. She's only looking for some no-strings-attached sex, but the more she gets to know Gabe, the more Jane sees someone she may be willing to risk her future on.
Two people who have both been beaten down by life find each other in CAROLINA DREAMING. The only thing that ever worked out for Gabe was the military, but even that didn't last, and his job afterwards turned into a disaster. His memories of his one visit to Dare Island, as well as the warmth of the Fletcher family, draw him to the island with the hope of starting a new life. He's not accustomed to things working out for him, though, so even though he's immediately attracted to Jane, Gabe doesn't see her as someone who would ever be interested in him. Jane, however, is still not ready to trust her heart to a man. Her ex's leaving was the best thing that could've happened to her, but she's still not ready to take a chance. Add in the fact that she lives with her police officer father and her seven-year-old son, and any thoughts of romance are pretty much squashed by the reality of her life. She initially fights her attraction for Gabe, but as they spend time together, Jane comes to understand that he's the type of man who would never walk away from someone he loves. But is she brave enough to take that chance?
Though it's the fifth novel in the Dare Island series, each of the books is focused on the couple involved, and there isn't really a common plot tying them together, so CAROLINA DREAMING stands well on its own. The Fletcher family, as well as some of the other characters from the previous books, make appearances throughout, but this is truly Jane and Gabe's story, and it's one that I highly recommend.