Exclusively Yours (Kowalskis #1) by Shannon Stacey
Publication date: 24 January 2012 by Harlequin
Keywords: Romance, family, contemporary
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook (e-ARC received from Netgalley)
Kevin Kowalski is introduced in the first book as the younger, playful brother of Joseph Kowalski. After suffering through his wife’s affair with his boss, Kevin quits the police force and buys a sports bar. Kevin is content to play the field, never going for the serious relationship. After his divorce and the devastation of the affair, he isn’t after any kind of serious relationship. Bet runs into Kevin again at his brother’s wedding after an altercation at his bar. The attraction is immediate and Beth and Kevin end up spending the night together. Beth leaves before Kevin wakes up but finds herself in a predicament a few weeks later when she realizes that she is pregnant with Kevin’s child. A wanderer by nature, Beth definitely doesn’t want to settle down, especially with a player like Kevin. But she decides to keep the baby and she and Kevin begin their seemingly friends only “neighbors who happen to to be having a baby together” relationship.
Like the last book, my main problem was that the female lead seemed to be way less into than the relationship than the male. In this case, we get a little more background to Beth so her reluctance to tie herself down is somewhat understandable. While she describes her parents as “smothering,” we do not get a lot of insight into why it was so terrible or overbearing. Her adopting a transient lifestyle because of it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I just felt like there was more to the story I was missing that would have helped me understand her better. It’s obvious that she cares about Kevin but she keeps pushing him away. She was so frustrating at times when she would fight Kevin and herself just to prove a point about being independent and not needing anyone. I felt bad for him because he clearly wanted more than she was willing to give him.
And Kevin, oh Kevin. Boyishly charming and good natured despite Beth’s issues, Kevin takes the news of his impending fatherhood in stride. He was just too adorable most of the time and I totally have a crush on him. His patience with Beth is commendable and it eventually pays off. Even though I didn’t love Beth at first, it was nice to see her finally admit her feelings for Kevin and allow herself and Kevin the happy future that they both deserve. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed this book and would definitely read another book by this author in the future.
One other small note about the Paulie and Sam storyline. I loved Sam and Paulie! They are hot together and Paulie is pretty awesome. I think I could have read a whole book just about them.