Review by Kayleigh

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“Did she want to see Brendan? Yes. Undeniably yes. More than that, she wanted to be seen by him looking like this. Wanted to watch male appreciation draw his features tight and know with absolute conviction he was thinking about having sex with her. And it would be so much easier to play it cool in her battle armor, surrounded by witnesses in a bar. Westport’s nightlife might not be exactly what Piper was used to, but it was closer to her environment than a bar under construction or a hospital with bad lighting.” 

This was my first Tessa Bailey book, but it won’t be my last. 

LA socialite Piper Bellinger lives for attention. Her goal in life is to look good on Instagram. But when she goes a little too far in her bid for attention (and ends up in jail), her step-father is tired of bailing her out. He banishes her to her father’s hometown, a small seaside town in Washington. While her father passed in a storm when she was a toddler, she is surprised to find out that she’d inherited a bar that he owned. With her sister coming along for support, she heads to a small town with no fancy bars, good shopping or proper hotel accommodations. So what’s a girl to do?  

The townspeople are also unsure about the ditzy and clueless socialite. Especially boat captain and widower Brendan. He really can’t stand her until he realizes that he really can’t stand to not be around her. Sparks fly as Piper discovers that there is more to life than parties and shopping trips and that true friends will stick around when the going gets tough, and that just maybe true love can be found even when the water isn’t all smooth sailing. 

Ok, full disclosure: I could not stand Piper for the first couple of chapters. She was vapid and selfish and had terrible taste in men. But as she opened up and showed her vulnerable and caring side, I fell for her much as I fell for Cher Horowitz when I was ten years old. Piper is sweet and sincere and is very used to people having low expectations of her. After all, she’s never had any expectations for herself. As Piper realizes she can expect more from herself, the book becomes engaging and funny. She reconnects with a grandmother she never knew she had, and charms the townspeople who come to love her for herself, not her money or her name. I loved that her sister, Hannah, comes along for the adventure and is the support system Piper needs. It Happened One Summer is about sisterly love as much as it is about some steamy hot sexy-times love.  

Let’s talk about the sexy times. When Piper meets Brendan, there is instant chemistry. The two can’t stand each other: Piper is too shallow for Brendan, and Brendan is too alpha and rude for Piper. But they cannot deny their chemistry. And holy crap, can Tessa write a sex scene. Things heat up quickly, and this rom-com serves some very spicy and explicit scenes, which I happily devoured. Fair warning: if explicit sex isn’t your thing, then this may be a pass for you. 

It Happened One Summer is the perfect summer book, best read alone, in a hammock, with an icy cocktail nearby. You’ll need it to cool off after Brendan and Piper are done destroying each other in bed, on a table, in a boat- really, wherever they can.  

I enjoyed It Happened One Summer. It’s an engaging read in a fun setting with dynamic characters. Hannah’s story is already scheduled to come out next summer, and I can’t wait to see what the Bellinger sisters get up to next.  

Thanks to Harper Collins Canada for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.