Pippa is a young single mother who is struggling a bit financially. Her ex-boyfriend and father of her child has balked on helping with child support and wants nothing to do with their daughter. So she is one real disaster away from insolvency.
That disaster almost happens when her car breaks down on the side of the road. She knows it will cost a fortune to get it fixed. But fortune is in fact smiling on her as she is spotted by Harry Porter. Best friend of her ex, someone that she has always regarded warmly, and most importantly a mechanic.
Harry is like her ex Steve in many ways, a bachelor with no real responsibilities and no desire to get deeply involved with any one woman. Harry knows that Pippa should be 100% off limits since she is his best friend's ex. Despite himself, though, Harry finds himself drawn to Pippa and her daughter. He can't seem to get away from wanting to help her and in the process he finds that he is growing from a man-child into a man.
As usual, Sarah Mayberry does not disappoint with a strongly character driven romance that has a believable emotional conflict.
One thing I liked a lot about this story is that it is told largely from the perspective of Harry. He is a thirty year old man who really has only had to live to satisfy himself and he sees nothing wrong with that. He holds down a worker bee job during the day and on evenings and weekends he drinks, hangs out with friends and has sex with women he has no intention of getting involved with.
There is a great subplot that involves Harry's father's desire for Harry to take over the family's business -- a garage. But Harry doesn't want to be tied down with administrative duties. He just wants to do his 9-to-5 and check out when he needs to. It is yet another part of the whole where Harry simply doesn't want any more responsibility than he needs. But in tandem with his growing relationship with Pippa we see Harry's acknowledgement that you can only slag off so much before really you do need to grow up. The scenes sprinkled throughout between Harry and his dad are wonderfully written. It really is a road-map of character dynamism.
The whole book really is a study in character growth. Pippa, for her part, was very much like Harry and Steve. Content to play and have fun and live in the now. But a daughter forced her to grow up fast and change her perspective. When we first meet Pippa she has already had her revelation and part of her struggle with trusting Harry is that she isn't sure she has the intestinal fortitude to wait for Harry to have his. Especially given the experience she's had with her ex.
But Harry is such a well drawn character than I never once doubted that he'd come through in the end.
There are a few confrontational scenes with the ex that ups the action quota a bit, but for the most part this is a book about Harry and Pippa, about a relationship growing, and about a man growing up.
Really good book. Highly recommended.
Also recommended is the earlier book that features Harry's sister, Mel All They Need