THE ONE THAT I WANT is Book 2 in Marilyn Brant's Mirabelle Harbor series, but this story and all of the contemporary romances in this series can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.
The summer after her beloved husband died in a car accident, Julia Meriwether Crane is still picking up the pieces of her life in Mirabelle Harbor and trying to help her ten-year-old daughter adjust to this difficult new reality.
After her best friend Sharlene—one of the well-connected Michaelsen siblings—talks her into finally going out on the town again, Julia finds herself stunned to be the object of interest of several different men: The boy who'd broken her heart back in high school. The college ex she'd left behind. And most surprising of all, the movie actor she'd always fantasized about but had never met in person...until now. Can one woman have more than one "great love" in the same lifetime? And, if so, how can she be sure which man that'll be?
Sometimes the person you think will be best for you isn't the one you really want. THE ONE THAT I WANT, a Mirabelle Harbor story.
Books in the Series:TAKE A CHANCE ON ME (July 2015)THE ONE THAT I WANT (July 2015)YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME (Coming Soon)STRANGER ON THE SHORE (Coming Soon)~*~ Story Excerpt:With the exception of my best friend Sharlene, the others had gone back to their conversations so, thankfully, I didn't have too many people witnessing my fumbles with setting up a (sort-of) date for the first time in 12 years. It was awkward, but I agreed to coffee with my old high-school boyfriend and gave Kristopher my phone number, which he dutifully punched into his cell so we could arrange a time to meet.
Shar nudged me when he wasn't looking and whispered, "See? Not so hard, is it?"
I made a face and shrugged.
Finally, the party was beginning to break up. I was mentally congratulating myself on making it through the evening when Elsie wolf whistled. "Wait, people!"
"I've been wanting to tell you this good news all night." She paused. "You know my friend Rosemary, who works at the Knightsbridge Theater in the city, right?"
Most of the group nodded.
"There's a dress rehearsal for their summer production, 'The Bachelor Pad,' this Thursday evening, in advance of next Friday's Opening Night," Elsie said. "Rosemary reserved a block of seats for us."
Despite the noise in the wine bar, an audible spike in sound came on the heels of those words. A couple of the women actually squealed.
I squinted at them. Tickets to a play were always nice, but wasn't this taking theatrical enthusiasm a bit far?
"But that's not all," Elsie continued. "Rosemary also got us passes to meet the cast, just as she did for that steampunk musical last year—"
"Steampunk musical?" I hissed in Shar's ear.
She nodded. "It was bizarre. Tell you more later."
I grinned and brought my glass of wine to my lips, draining it of its final swallow.
"—including a special Q&A session," Elsie added, "with the star of the show, Dane Tyler."
I choked on the last drops of Merlot.
"Are you okay?" Elsie asked.
I gulped down half the water. Oh, God. Of all the actors on the planet—Dane Tyler. Here? REALLY?
My teen world had just materialized out of thin air. My gut twisted weirdly, and I could barely breathe. "P-Please go on," I managed to whisper.
Visit Mirabelle Harbor and fall in love (again)!
I love stories featuring love a second time around. It doesn't necessarily have to be with someone they've known before, but there's something infinitely more special about going into a relationship with past lessons and coming out stronger because of them. Julia isn't 100% ready to throw herself back into life, but knows she has to in order to help set the precedent for her daughter Analise. Both of them are struggling with grief after the sudden loss of Adam, Julia's husband and Analise's father.
My heart broke for both Julia and Analise. Most of us can relate to the shock of losing someone we love unexpectedly. Grieving is a process that takes time. I understood Julia's hesitance to be social and go out, while also grasping how important it was that she do it. I adored Analise. She might only be ten years old but she's a shrewd judge of character and an unexpected font of wisdom. I hated seeing her hurt but I enjoyed seeing her grow too as a result. I liked Julia. She's down to Earth, sincere, and a wonderful mother. I really liked how she put Analise first at a time when her feelings and emotions were conflicted (even if she was also protecting her own heart at the time too). I loved seeing Julia deal with her friends/support group. They were really there for her in every sense of the way.
I really enjoyed the story. I liked following Julia on her journey to opening up again and even finding a new love. I really liked how I really didn't know who/if she was going to find a new love until over half way into the book. I liked analyzing her interactions with the men from her life who had unexpectedly popped up again. There were only a few points where I felt the story could've been stronger. One dealt with a potential suitor. I wasn't sure when he became a contender for her affections in earnest. They had good chemistry, but I didn't really feel the sparks between them in the beginning. I also would've loved to see those who caused trouble for Julia, Analise, and her potential lover get their just desserts. I also would've liked to know more about a secret that was revealed to Julia and the effects of them on a potential relationship.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. The characters are well written and easy to relate to. The story captured my attention from the first page and held it throughout. There were thrills, laughter, and some tears. I enjoyed seeing characters from the first book of the series making brief cameos and I may have an idea about whom the next book will feature. Marilyn Brant did a wonderful job at capturing all of the emotions of her characters and transporting me to Mirabelle Harbor. I loved visiting and can't wait to go back!