Thank you for the advanced copy of WAYLAID by Sarina Bowen. All opinions are my own.
Did I just read my favorite hero of this series? Yes, yes, I think I did. Well, he’s at least a very close second to my Griff/Jude tie, that’s for sure.
I was really looking forward to reading Daphne’s story, but also getting Rickie’s was just the cherry on top of this hand-churned in Vermont artisanal ice cream sundae.
Daphne is the youngest daughter of the Shipley clan. Her life is in a bit of disarray after leaving one college to avoid a scandal and is in the process of moving to another, but she’s back at the farm for the summer in the meantime. She’s keeping secrets, and she’s stuck working with a guy who only seems to know how to flirt.
Rickie is Dylan’s roommate from college, and up until now, he’s been an enigma for the Shipley’s. He’s charismatic and charming, but Daphne won’t give him the time of day. It might have something to do with the fact that he ghosted her a few years ago, but he has a very good reason for that—and it turns out that Daphne isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
First of all, kudos to Sarina Bowen for her ability to make the reader care about characters who acted in less than admirable ways in the past. Daphne wasn’t always likable previously, but you can’t help but feel for her and her situation in Waylaid.
Secondly, I also like that we’re getting more suspenseful storylines in Bowen’s recent books. Rickie’s past is a mystery to both the reader and the character, which makes for an interesting dynamic to the story.
I loved Rickie and Daphne together as a couple, and watching them grow and deal with their problems together was the best part of their relationship. They both needed closure on multiple fronts, so seeing that all come to fruition is a rewarding conclusion.
I adore the True North series and am always happy to pull up a seat at the Shipley family table. Seeing past favorites continue to thrive, like Mrs. Shipley and Grandpa Shipley, just layers on another element of ‘coming home’ in this addition to the series.
Callie Dalton and Zachary Webber do an amazing job of bringing Rickie and Daphne’s story to life. As the listener, you can feel the emotion of the scenes, from the sadness to the stressfulness to the relief, and ultimately, the happiness. I can’t think of better narrators for this story.
If you haven’t met the Shipleys and all of their friends, you should definitely rectify that situation! You definitely start with this book as it is a standalone, but I would recommend going back to the beginning with Bittersweet (read my review here) to get the full effect.
I read all the way to the highway exit, but I only get halfway through the first article. It’s dense and full of statistical analysis that’s over my head.
By the time Rickie rolls down the exit ramp, I feel the onset of a full-blown case of imposter syndrome. Dr. Drummond is expecting me to be sharp. What if they ask me to work on this type of analysis, and I can’t do it?
“I see the ice cream place,” Rickie says. “But there’s no entrance back onto the highway. What the hell?”
“Doesn’t matter,” I mumble. “It’s three miles down a side road to exit 6.” I close the journal with a sigh. I feel so panicky right now. I’ve always tried to be the smartest girl in the room. But it’s all an act. I’m obviously the worst kind of dunce—the kind that can’t see her own mistakes until it’s way too late. (See: the last twelve months of my life.)
Is it normal to have a midlife crisis right before your twenty-first birthday?
Rickie rolls into the gravel parking lot of the Dreamy Creemee and puts the truck in a shady spot. He rolls down the windows before killing the engine. It’s getting toward dinner hour, so there aren’t many people here. Just a couple of moms pushing toddlers on the swing set.
And I’m quietly having a panic attack in the passenger seat.
I take a slow but shaky breath. Do I even want ice cream? Is there a flavor on that signboard that could take me out of my own head? I reach for the door handle, but Rickie stops me.
“Look,” he says. “About that time we shared a ride home from Connecticut…”
“No,” I say forcefully. If he makes me relive that embarrassing experience, I might lose my cool. “Just forget it, okay? So what if you ghosted me?”
His eyes widen. But my rant is only picking up steam.
“None of that matters. I didn’t even blame you. And the only way I’m going to make it through this year is if I put Connecticut behind me, okay? Just leave it alone.”
My voice cracks on that last word, and I realize that I might actually cry. Which is a thing I never do. But Harkness College was my dream, and I blew it. My damn eyes get hot and my throat constricts.
“S-so just forget it,” I squeak. “It’s already in the past. It can just stay there.”
Rickie’s gray eyes are soft now. And they’re moving closer. To my utter surprise, he leans forward and presses a kiss to my lips.
So soft, my brain sputters.
“Shh,” he says against my lips. His kiss is warm and unhurried. Like a ray of sunshine when you’re shivering.
For once, my squirrel brain forgets to scurry. And I just let it happen. He kisses me again. It’s still gentle. His bright eyes measure me. I don’t know what he sees. But whatever it is, he decides he likes it.
Those soft lips brush and press. Again. And I’m only human. Rickie’s surprisingly tender kiss has caught me at a vulnerable moment. I lean in, experimenting with the slide and pressure of his mouth against mine. A sizzle of heat flashes across my skin. It’s the strangest sensation—as if he’s transferred an ounce of that devil-may-care attitude across the steering column and right into my soul. I drink him in, lips parted. Ready for him to take it further.
But then it ends. Rickie sits back, his head cocked to the side, as if in deep contemplation.
I’m bereft. “Wh-what was that for?” I stammer.
I expect a smirk. But his expression remains soft. “You seemed a little freaked. So I brought you to an ice cream place on a hot summer’s day. But that wasn’t enough, apparently. You needed even more distraction. So I gave it to you. And I’m good at that. A real specialist.”
Replying is impossible. All I can do is sit here and try to process that kiss. That lovely kiss.
He really has some nerve.
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date published : July 20, 2021
pages : 352
narrators : Callie Dalton, Zachary Webber
length : 10 hrs, 32 min
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