Handle with Care (Saddler Cove #1) by Nina Croft
Released: July 30, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Reviewed by Keyrsten
What if all you want is the one thing you can’t have?
First grade teacher Emily Towson always does the right thing. The sensible thing. But in her dreams, she does bad, bad things with the town’s baddest boy: Tanner O’Connor. But when he sells her grandmother a Harley, fantasy is about to meet a dose of reality.
And then he goes and calls her “sensible”...
Tanner can’t believe sweet Emily is standing in his shop. Yelling and waving her hands and looking so god damn sexy he’s having trouble focusing. He’d spent two hard years in prison, with only the thought of this “good girl” to keep him sane.
He really should send her away...
Before either one thinks though, they’re naked and making memories on his tool bench with apparently the oldest condom in history. Now Tanner’s managed to knock-up the town’s “good girl” and she’s going to lose her job over some stupid “morality clause” if he doesn’t step up.
But can this bad boy teach his good girl they’re perfect for each other in time?
Emily has lived her life the last 13 years doing the safe thing, the responsible thing. When her boyfriend proposes to her claiming that she'll make a "sensible wife" she loses it. Granted she never loved him in the first place, but how dare he call her sensible. When she learns her beloved grandmother has bought herself a motorcycle and implies that she is "sensible" Emily decides to storm down to the shop and demand Tanner rip up her grandmother's check. She has been infatuated with Tanner for years, so when he calls her that damn "sensible" word she decides it's time she does something crazy. Who knew the one time she'd be spontaneous with the town bad boy she'd end up pregnant.
Tanner has been seen as the town bad boy for as long as he can remember, but it became worse after a 2 year stint in prison. He's been out for 6 years and he refuses to let the close-minded people of Saddler Cove to run him out of his home. The only thing that got him through those 2 years were the fantasies he had of the town good girl Emily. He didn't expect to see Emily sneaking into the back of his shop, and decided to ruffle her feathers when she insinuated he would have actually "been the type of person" to let her 70 year old grandmother by a $25,000 motorcycle when she'd never rode one. He wasn't about to turn down the opportunity to live out one of his fantasies of Emily, but the last thing he had expected or wanted was to wind up knocking her up. No matter what the town thinks of him, he will do whatever it takes to do right by Emily ... even if that means walking away.
The chemistry between Emily and Tanner practically explodes from the page. From the first time they are together I was practically begging for them to have another tryst together. There are so many different facets to who they are that it was interesting to see them get to know each other. It was nice to see that no matter how Tanner felt about the town, his first priority was taking care of Emily and their child. On the other side Emily refused to let the towns thoughts plague the idea of Tanner being a part of their child's life. They could have benefited from better communication, but alas what couple doesn't struggle with communication at some point in time. Both of them strived to do what was best for their child even if it meant that they didn't get what they wanted.
I enjoyed the secondary storyline between Mimi and Josh. Mimi ended up being my favorite character in the book and I loved her tenacious attitude. Though I loved seeing them develop together, I would have liked to see that happen separate from Tanner and Emily's story. I was so invested in Tanner and Emily, that the POVs involving Mimi and Josh seemed to be a little distracting. I would have liked to see sneak peaks of their connection through Tanner and Emily's eyes, and then given them their own story (even if it was in a novella format). I feel like they weren't given the room to grow together in the midst of Tanner and Emily's budding relationship.
I also wish more would have come from the different situations involving Sawyer and Jed. I was expecting more of a blowout to happen in at least one of these plot lines and they fizzled a bit for me, especially the Jed one.
Tanner and Emily might have started just trying to live out one of their fantasies, but what came of it was something electric and heartwarming. Who would have thought the town pariah and 1st grade teacher would have been just what each other needed. I look forward to see what other kind of trouble the O'Connor's will be getting into when it comes to the women of Saddler Cove.
Rating: 4 stars
Give me an alpha male with a woman who aces all forms of sarcasm and I'm putty in you hands -- bonus points if a Reverse Harem is involved. Supernatural esque romance and power plays tend to make my heart go pitter patter. I haven't met a book I wasn't willing to try, so if you've got recommendations email them my way. I'm a foul mouthed makeup addicted with slight wino tendencies.