CAROLINA HOME – Virginia Kantra
A Dare Island Novel, Book 1
Dare Island on the Outer Banks of the Carolinas – Present Day
Dare Island is a tourist destination off of the Carolina coast, and Matt Fletcher's job is to take fishermen out on his boat, the Sea Lady II . His parents, Tess and Tom, own a small inn on the island, and he and his son, Joshua, rent one of the cottages. He is a single parent. He also has a brother, Luke, in the Marines, and a sister, Meg, living in New York.
Allyson Carter is the new teacher at the high school. She corners Matt to tell him that Joshua is not doing his school work and encourages him to talk to his son. Matt and Allyson are attracted to each other, and although she does not want to get involved with a student's father, how can she resist the charming man? Allyson is an idealist, wants to do a good job and fit in with the Dare Island residents. Her wealthy parents think she is slumming and hope she will come to her senses, come home, and marry a man of her own class.
Matt returns home and is surprised to find his younger brother, Luke. Luke is on his way to Afghanistan but brought a surprise home with him…a young girl, his daughter Taylor, whose mother recently died. Ten year-old Taylor is unhappy and doesn't know what to think about being thrust upon a family that she has never met. Matt stands in as father to Taylor while Luke is in Afghanistan. Taylor is impressed when he helps her at school, but she is a troubled little girl.
One beer together has the islanders gossiping about Allyson and Matt. She is glad that they don't know about the earth shattering kiss they shared! Matt is well liked; but not interested in marriage, he has made it a policy to not date the island women. Will they be able to keep their relationship platonic?
There is a lot of love in the Fletcher home. In this wonderful family drama, they all look out for each other. Tess and Tom have a loving relationship and are always there for their children and grandchildren. Although Taylor brings some problems with her adoption into the family, they are ready and willing to give succor to the child who is so fearful and fragile. Matt can always be counted on whenever and wherever he is needed. He tried marriage once and doesn't want to go back there again, but he can't seem to stray too far from the new school teacher. The whole family is made up of very likeable characters.
CAROLINA HOME, a sizzling and emotionally satisfying romance, moves along at a good pace with realistic dialogue. I enjoyed Matt's relationship with all of his family members, particularly his sixteen year-old son. It is a thoroughly enjoyable tale, and I am happy to say that it will continue with CAROLINA GIRL, Meg's story. There are a few threads left hanging, and CAROLINA GIRL will begin where CAROLINA HOME leaves off, so look for it in 2013.