Melissa McGuire has come back to the town on San Gabriel after a flame out in both her love life and her career in LA. She lives with her grandmother, a hoot of a woman named Nelly. She also has a prickly relationship with her ex-alcoholic of a father. And she works as a producer at the local news station, a news station that is determined to give only 'The Sunny Side of the News.' For a serious journalist who wants to do hard hitting stories, trying to always find the 'sunny side' is a bit frustrating. Added to that, Melissa is often required to deal with the difficult, narcissistic on-air star Ella Joy.
So she isn't the least bit thrilled to learn that her Gran has hoodwinked her into attending a charity fireman bachelor auction. While there, Melissa meets the sexy Harry Brody, the captain of the local fire dept. Although she refuses to bid and he is not up for auction, through a series a comic machinations, they end up on one of the bachelor dates.
While they are on their road to a relationship many things happen to make their path a rocky one including, Ella Joy's ambitions, Melissa ex, Brody's ex and their own stubbornness.
I wasn't sure what to make of this story after I finished it. After some thought, I realized it is because I don't think the book felt sure about what it wanted to be. The overall tone was comic, but there were some serious issues underneath including alcoholism, the issues that the children of alcoholics face, child abuse, and sexual harassment. Normally this would not present a problem, because I think that on the whole an author can include both the comic and the tragic in one book. Unfortunately this book did not seem to meld the two very seamlessly. At various points in the book, a tone shift would sound a discordant note in the overall flow of the story. There is an abuse investigation subplot that felt like it needed more attention or better treatment than it received. For what was supposedly the serious piece of journalism that Melissa was burning to sink her teeth into, she allowed herself to forget about it for long periods of time.
There was also a kitchen sink feel to the story. There were so many elements at play that sometimes it felt overly busy. I thought the inclusion of both the exes felt like over-kill. And their antics often felt like they should have been comedy but the story sold them as drama. There were often times that Ella Joy threatened to over-shadow the story in places. There were points when her character veered awfully close to being main rather than a supporting.
This was not a terrible book, by any means, it was very readable and I do think the writing sparkled and was quite crisp. But there were too many elements battling for my attention to make for a cohesive reading experience.