March 11, 2008
REVIEWED BY: Cocktail Reviews
SCORE: Four and a half glasses of Champagne!
Author: Debby Allen
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Ashleigh is on a Mediterranean holiday with her friend Laura. She’s intending to use the break to get over a failed office romance with her boss – a married man. When Laura spots an expensive yacht at a local harbour, Ashleigh only has eyes for the hot guy on board. But while her friend urges her to enjoy a holiday romance, Ashleigh is afraid of being hurt again.
Remmao is half Egyptian, half Arab, a wealthy playboy who used to have a woman in every port until a bad experience left him emotionally damaged and extremely cautious. But Ashleigh intrigues him – he’s never had to chase a woman before, and he’s determined to track her down.
While both are ready for a physical relationship, their emotions keep getting in the way. Only by learning to let go of the past and trusting one another will they find a future together.
This was a great novella-length read. I loved the underplayed humour, such as Ashleigh’s embarrassment at being caught ogling Remmao on his yacht. In this scene, she’s going to great lengths to pretend she wasn’t looking at him. In the process, her sunglasses fall off and he tries to give them back to her:
“I, no, it’s ok, they’re not expensive,” she stammered stupidly. He shrugged. “Well, I am sure there are litter bins around if you wanted to dispose of them.”
“I don’t! I mean, I wasn’t throwing them away. They fell off my head.”
I also enjoyed Ashleigh’s first proper conversation with him. It’s cute and breathless, and I liked the sly dig at the romance novel genre of ‘every Egyptian/Arab is a prince’.
Ashleigh is a strong character. I like the fact that she doesn’t hide or sugar-coat the truth of what she did in the past – she admits she was in the wrong with her affair. You can really feel her anger and guilt – and her fear of being hurt so easily again.
Remmao is a true romance hero, but with a modern slant. He’s open about his feelings, and while he encourages Ashleigh to forgive herself and move on, he continues to hold onto his own secret – a lesson he learned a year ago and which still haunts him.
Like a short version of a M&B/Harlequin title, Hibiscus Bay delivers on all fronts with an exotic locale, wealthy foreign hunk, a good dose of angst, enjoyable love scenes and a HEA. Formulaic? Yes, of course. But that’s why I love them so much. I’d recommend this to any fan of the genre.
REVIEWED BY: Simply Romance Reviews
AUTHOR: Debby Allen
SRR GRADE: 'A'
I can honestly say, while reading Hibiscus Bay, I was touched by the beautiful twist of fate for Ashleigh and Remmao. This is the kind of romance we all dream of. Ashleigh's main goal on her vacation was to erase the last three years of her past relationship with Richard (ex-lover/ex-boss and married). She never expected fate to intervene and send her the love she has always dreamed of having. Remmao (dashing and sexy) never had much time for true lasting relationships since he consistently sails around the world. Suddenly, he is locking eyes with Ashleigh after her sunglasses fall onto the deck of his yacht and its' kismet!! Throughout the story, Ashleigh and Remmao find themselves freeing all the emotional pain from the past and learning once again the meaning of trust, promises and love. Debby Allen captured so many heartwarming emotions of both her characters. The story inspires the reader to wish for Hibiscus Bay and a pair of sunglasses.......wonderful job Debby!! ~ Reviewed by Mireille