Exclusively Yours in the first book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series. A series about the kind of family you would totally want to hang out with. They are kind and loving but also don’t mind having fun at each other’s expense. In this book, they all go camping together for two weeks. All together. At the same camp ground. Mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law, three brothers and four kids. For two weeks. Wow.
One of the brothers is Joe. He’s a famous writer of horror novels and leads somewhat of a secluded life. You see, there was a very public ‘incident’ and now he just doesn’t feel like going out and being scrutinized by the public. So he stays in his little town and writes his awesome books.
Keri is Joe’s high school girlfriend. They were pretty hot and heavy back then and Joe always assumed they would end up together in a HEA sort of way. But Keri left him after high school to pursue the career she really wanted. She now works for a People sort of magazine as a reporter. Joe is on the magazine’s ‘most want an interview with’ list so when Keri’s crazy b*tch of a boss discovers that Keri and Joe used to date, she tells Keri to either get an interview or get lost. So Keri, who is totally in love with her job, goes back to her hometown to search out Joe.
There are so many ways that this plot could have gone. The most likely one would have been Keri hiding the true reason for her wanting to meet up with Joe and it all blowing up in her face but it didn’t go like that at all. I loved that Shannon made Keri up front and honest with Joe. It made their relationship able to bloom without secrets and sneakiness. In order to get her interview with him, Joe ‘convinces’ Keri to go on the two week camping trip with his family. Great idea Joe! Alone in the evenings, interaction with family and old friends…just a great set-up for a romance story.
I enjoyed Keri and Joe immensely. They had incredible chemistry! Their moments together as well as their moments with the others were really well written. In fact, this whole book is really well written. I also liked how, even though the book is about Keri and Joe and their newly-budding romance, you see what is going on with the rest of the family. No, none of it is especially good, but it’s interesting to see how these issues were resolved – to see how important communication is in any relationship.
The only character I didn’t like much is Terry, Joe’s twin sister. I liked her storyline, but she bugged me. She’s the type of person that has to make everyone around her miserable when she is unhappy. And she’s a snot. I just don’t like characters like her, in books or in real life. I found what she was going through was well written and quite relatable (as in I think it’s a situation many married couples find themselves in) but I just didn’t like her. Or how she treated Keri. Did she ruin the book for me? Not even close. But I could have done without her scenes.
I loved Loved LOVED the last scene in this book. Just darling. The cabin and the confusion and the confessions and of course Joe and Keri…all of it perfect.
Overall, I really liked Exclusively Yours. I love Shannon’s writing voice. Her lead characters are always wonderful and her books full of heart. They make you *sigh* and the make you smile. And, as I’ve said before, isn’t that what we all want from a contemporary romance read?