When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad.
Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist.
After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love.
But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win.
Up to the Challenge is a sexy, fast-paced, romantic story of family, island life, and finding love in unexpected places.
We first met Lucas Dempsey in Meant to Be, the first book in the Anchor Island Series. Initially, in that book, Lucas seemed to be a selfish, money-hungry, power-driven guy. But Lucas is a man who sacrificed his own happiness for that of his brother Joe and former fiancée, Beth. He's lost and is always looking for something better because he doesn't think he's good enough for his family. After losing his edge in the courtroom, Lucas’ law firm forces him to take a break. His break just so happens to be at the same time his family needs him the most.
Sidney Navarro is a little Tinker Bell who’s feisty, brash, curses like a sailor and is more beautiful than she gives herself credit for. She likes to pretend to be this tough, hard as nails woman, but inside she’s just a softy who is looking for love. But Sid isn’t looking for love from just anyone. No...for years, Sid has had a MAJOR crush on Lucas.
Lucas comes back to Anchor Island approximately six weeks after Meant to Be. Lucas is back because his father suffers a heart attack. With Tom Dempsey unable to run the family restaurant for at least six weeks, the Dempsey family (Joe, Beth and Sid) make adjustments to their work schedules to make sure the restaurant doesn’t close down. To everyone’s surprise, Lucas agrees to step in and run the restaurant during the day alongside Sid.
Once Sid and Lucas start working side by side, personalities clash and sparks start to fly. It’s not long before these two agree to a six week summer fling with no strings attached. But you know how it goes. It turns out that Lucas and Sid need each other more than they could ever possibly know.
Usually with me, I find that sequels have a hard time living up to their predecessors. But not this one. Up to the Challenge exceeded Meant to Be pretty much in every way imaginable. This is one of those books that I like so much I don't know what to say in order to convey how much I like it. I know this sounds cheesy, but I feel really honored to be able to watch these two go on their journey to fall in love and find out if they were up to the challenge.
To give a little spoiler, Joe and Lucas finally make up like men do. (Eye rolls. Meaning with as few words as possible.) But one of the best quotes in the book comes from Joe in this moment, “Sometimes you have to be willing to give up what you think you want to get the thing you need.”
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Book Length: 350 pages
Source: Montlake via NetGalley
Reviewed by: Kim
Reading Format: Available in eBook and Paperback
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The Anchor Island Series
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