Meet Me at the Beach: Seashell Bay #1 by V.K. Sykes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for the first in the Seashell Bay series from V.K. Sykes. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops , and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could be the winner of the Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card and 2 Runners Up will receive a Collection of all the V.K. Sykes Digital Romances.


Meet Me at the Beach

Initially drawn to this story because of the setting and the richness to be found there. V.K. Sykes has brought a sense of coastal Maine in this story with her fictional island of Seashell Bay. In what felt like a cross between Deer Isle and Peaks Island, the setting is well established as are some of the more peculiar ‘phrases’ common to Mainers.  The addition of lobster fishing with its effect on the people and economy added another layer to the story, as did the ‘out of staters’ there for summer holidays.

In this story, Lily has stayed behind after high school in the small community.  Working on a lobster boat is not unusual for someone from an island, but being a female and managing to navigate the daily grind, the physical exertions and dangers is less common than one would expect: she has earned her stripes and has achieved her dream of owning and captaining her own boat and pots.  Reasonably independent and content, everything changes for her with the return of her old fling.

Aiden left the island after high school for a career in baseball. Returning to wrap up some family business, one of the first people he encounters is Lily, the girl he can’t forget.  But his return just may signify changes for the small community – his plan to breeze in and out, returning to his life after selling the highly valued land his family owns just may take longer than expected.

Of course, Lily doesn’t want the island to change, and Aiden’s plans are in direct contrast. But can she convince him?  And here – the story flip flops between their past and present, unresolved feelings and current attraction.  Their struggles together and with themselves, both in terms of their relationship / attraction and the sale of the land to a development corporation make for some interesting interactions.

Secondary characters, in terms of townspeople are true to live, opinionated, mouthy and often very funny.  The residents don’t want to risk their island’s beauty or ‘feel’ for the potential economic gains with more part-time residents or a large holiday resort, and their concerns are valid and well structured. And, it is a small town, so everyone has an opinion on Aiden and Lily, often before they’ve decided themselves.

Great setting, wonderful premise: I got a bit stuck with the oft-repeated warnings about the dangers of lobstering, and Lily and Aiden’s interior monologues.  Lobster fishing is dangerous: commercial fishing is. And Sykes adds plenty of information about it, yet all of the warnings only serve to dull the crisis point of the story. Interactions between Lily and Aiden are told with each character’s point of view, and their interior monologues descend to immature, repetitive moments: their interplay, their connection was well-established without this device for each scene, and I will admit they became annoying early on.

That being said, the story flew by and felt honest and real. The setting, the connection and even most of the characters added to the story to provide a rich retreat to Maine in the summer.

Meet Me at the Beach: Seashell Bay #1 by V.K. Sykes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Meet Me At the Beach
Author: V.K. Sykes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Forever
ISBN: 1455552518
Published on: 369
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 24 February, 2015
Rated: three-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he’s more handsome than ever. If Aiden’s in town, the rumors must be true about his family’s plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.

Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

Aiden stared down into emerald eyes just as bewitching as he remembered—eyes that now also held a depth and maturity that sucked him right in. As much as he might have liked to deny it, he felt the pull toward Lily as strongly as he ever had, and he’d be willing to bet his parcel of land she felt the same.

But frigging darts…really? If Lily had no intention— sadly—of leaping his bones, he would have expected her to get down to business right away, pumping him for info about his position on the development project.

He glanced away from her challenging, amused stare to take in the avid gazes of the crowd, waiting with bated breath for his answer. And his destruction, he suspected, given the nasty smiles of anticipation that lit the faces of at least half the people in the bar. It was Thunderdome, Seashell Bay style, with Aiden tagged as the loser.

Just swell. Nothing like a little ritual humiliation to cap off his fabulous homecoming.

Lily Doyle had always had a touch with darts, just like

Aiden had the God-given ability to hit baseballs. Most people thought it was simply a matter of natural coordination, but there was more to it than that. Lots of people had great coordination. Damn few, though, could hit a ninety-five-mile-per-hour fastball or throw a dart with perfect precision.

Lily had coordination in spades and a sweet, sweet form.

Aiden clapped a hand to his chest, trying to look like a wounded puppy. “Such a coldhearted way to welcome a native son back to the island. Since you’re the top dog in these parts, I reckon you have some ulterior motive for wanting to whip my ass in front of the entire damn town.”

Her gaze cut off to the side for a few seconds, surprising him. Lily was never one to dodge a question or a direct challenge. But then she looked back, dazzling him with a glorious smile that fried the logic part of his brain.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she replied with a throaty purr that made Aiden want to lift her over his shoulder and haul her out to his truck. “I guess I’m pretty good, but you’re a professional athlete, after all. You’re not afraid of a little old game of darts, are you, Aiden Flynn?”

“You tell him, Lil,” Boone Cleary said, leaving his bar stool long enough to weave over and see what the fuss was all about. “Nobody walks away from a challenge on Darts Night. Not on this island, anyway.” He belched as if to emphasize his weighty intervention, which prompted a whack to the back of his head from Miss Annie and a lecture on minding one’s manners in public.

Bram whispered into Aiden’s ear, “He’s right, bro. Look, just keep saying stuff that’ll get her rattled. You can start by reminding her of that time when you and me tailed her down to Bunny Tail Trail and saw—”

“Shut up,” Aiden said through gritted teeth.

Lily had crossed to the dartboard but now came back to Aiden, still giving him that sexy smile that said, What are you afraid of, big boy? His brain might have been addled by waves of hot lust, but he couldn’t shake the feeling she was somehow trying to manipulate him.

“Well?” She held her palm out, daring him to take the three darts that lay there.

Instinctively, he reached out, his hand swallowing hers and the red-tailed darts. Her skin felt hot and almost as smooth as he remembered from that long-ago night, when her hands had been all over him. That surprised him, given the work she did. Of course she wore gloves on the boat, but she set and hauled traps all day long. Both his dad and Bram had always suffered from unending cuts, scrapes, and chewed-up hands from snapping lobster claws.

He froze for a few seconds, her small hand trapped in his, and his mind became swamped with images of the battle-hardened warriors who fought the cold sea and the unforgiving elements to eke out their living. He could only imagine what Lily had gone through all these years he’d been away. While he’d been playing and partying in the glamor of big-city pro baseball, the slender, fine-boned woman before him had toiled long and hard on her lobster boat, facing down the dangers—and the dangers were real and ever-present—of a brutally unforgiving family trade.

When Lily tilted her head, her half-smile curving with an unspoken question, he released her.




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