Also by this author: Brooklynaire, The Understatement of the Year
Also in this series: Fireworks, Heartland
Series: True North #5
Published by Indie on May 29th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.

It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…


by Sarina Bowen

The best recipe for a book slump is a Sarina Bowen book. I said it before and I’ll say it again. And again. And…again. She’s one of my favorite authors. She’s dependable to deliver an engaging, beautiful story with lovable characters and even if it’s a well used trope, she always puts her own twist on it. I don’t think I’ve rated a book by this author below four stars.

With Speakeasy we are back with the Shipley family. May is the child that causes the Shipleys constant worry. She’s a recovering alcoholic and everyone, especially her mother and her brother Griff. They handle her with kid gloves and May’s had enough. She feels like a failure as it is and her family doesn’t make it any better. When she walks into the Gin Mill, the town’s new hot spot for premium beer, to surprise her girlfriend the joke’s on her. She finds her in a liplock with Daniela’s ex. Alec Rossi is her knight in shining armor who also saves her from herself and her righteous anger.

This story focuses a lot on May’s addiction and she finds a long list of reasons why Alec and her won’t work. Alec is the resident man whore and nobody expects him to be serious. None of his friends give him much credit, not even his own family. He thinks he’s a failure too and he really wants to turn around everybody’s opinion of him by making the Gin Mill a success. When the long-legged, beautiful May Shipley walks into his bar he didn’t anticipate this to be a life changing moment. They start a friends-with-benefits relationship that is supposed to be fun. Alec, the man who takes little seriously, soon finds himself more than tempted to change the rules of their arrangement.

May Shipley scratches an itch that I didn’t know I had.

Alec was such a fun character. Lighthearted, but good to the core and not as shallow as everybody seemed to think by far. I loved his silliness, how earnest he could be when he knew that something was important to one of his loves ones. He’s exactly the type of man I’d fall for too. I was laughing my ass off with his so totally not funny bar jokes. For some reason the mushroom joke he told in the end had me in stitches and I couldn’t stop laughing although I’m sure it wasn’t really that funny.
Alec had me wrapped around his finger with his carefree and positive outlook on life, his sexuality and how he adored May. And don’t get me started how cute he was with his niece. He also made me melt when he told May all the reasons why he wanted to be with her. He was so tender and sweet with her, yet showed her that she wasn’t weak.

“I want all of this. I want the whispered late-night conversations. And the holidays where we have to touch each other quietly in a bed that’s too small so we don’t become one of your grandfather’s jokes at the table.”

May is a complicated young woman. She struggles daily with her cravings but it’s so important to her to stay sober. Rebound sex with Alec isn’t really a great idea from her point of view. May second-guesses herself a lot and she’s never sure if Alec is only a rebound lay or if there is something real. How can she know he won’t run if she tells him that her struggle with alcohol is a daily occurrence? She doesn’t trust herself, and how can she if her family doesn’t seem to trust her?

I loved May as Alec’s love interest although I have to say that the belief that they belong together was a little harder earned than I’d like to. She always thought she’d end up with a woman and along comes Alex. Half of her life she has been in love with her best friend Lark, who will marry the love of her life soon. May had to grow into the woman who was also into men first again and it took a little too long for that to happen. But when she finally accepted her feelings for Alec it was so, so sweet. I admired her so much, she was stronger than she thought.

We get to catch up with my favorite characters from this series. I loved Audrey and Jude in particular for being such good friends to May and Alec. Grandpa Shipley was a hoot, he’s such a character! I didn’t remember that he was so funny in Griffin and Zach’s book!

“Hello, beautiful,” I say to her. “Who’s your favorite uncle?”
“Ack,” Nicole says.
“That’s right, babyliscious. Ack is the man. Now— remind me. What’s his name?” I point at Benito.
“Bimbo,” she says.
Everyone laughs. God, I love this kid. “Don’t ever change, Nicole.”

I enjoyed every word of Speakeasy. It was lighthearted despite the sensitive subject of alcoholism. It has humor, the affectionate family dynamics of the Shipleys and a good portion of steam. This series has a warm, familiar feel to it, it’s like coming home every time I read a new installment. Now the waiting begins for the next in the True North series and I’m super-curious who this book will be about!

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.


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