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First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan
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First Time in Forever

by Sarah Morgan

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This is the first installment in Morgan's new single-title trilogy, set in Maine and involving a trio of women who have been close friends since college. Each of them comes to a cottage on Puffin Island when they need to get away or have a life crisis, and of course they find romance. I read Morgan's HP earlier this year, which was a prequel of sorts. It involved a different heroine but introduced two of the trio who are featured in this series. I loved that book, it ranks up there with my favorite Morgan HPs.

I liked this a lot too. Morgan takes a couple of standard character tropes and subverts them. We have a hero, Ryan, who is allergic to commitment and children, but because he was one of the primary parental figures to his siblings at a young age after his parents' death. We have a heroine, Emily, who is allergic to commitment and children, also because of too-early responsibilities, but hers left her with more trauma. Manhattan-based management consultant Emily winds up on Puffin Island to get her niece, Lizzy, away from the paparazzi after Lizzy's mother (Emily's sister), a famous actor, is killed in a plane crash and Emily becomes the sole guardian. Emily is sure she will be a terrible parental figure but there's no one else.

Of course neither Ryan nor Emily want to become serious with anyone, and of course they are hot for each other as soon as they meet. So the plot is basically Emily learning to take care of and feel confident about her new relationship with Lizzy, Emily and Ryan falling in love, and Lizzy avoiding being discovered by the paparazzi. Along the way all three of them grow to love and trust each other and Emily overcomes her various traumas (so does Ryan, but his are more manageable and Emily is the focus here). Ryan does a bit of the magical-cure-through-sex thing, but for the most part Emily navigates and overcomes her issues on her own, and in her own time.

There are also subplots involving Skylar (one of the trio who will get her own book) and a couple of people on the island. Morgan does settings so well, and Puffin Island is a character in its own right. There are mini-crises that move the story along and develop Emily and Ryan's relationships, but no Big Misunderstandings or Idiot Plot points. We're definitely in the hands of a pro here. If you've spent any time in US east-coast ocean communities, you'll recognize the feel of Puffin Island.

By the end of the story we've met all the characters that will be featured in the upcoming books, but they don't crowd the pages as much as in Morgan's Vermont-set trilogy. This is partly because everyone's not related and they're not all in one place. It's a very nice start to the series. ( )
  Sunita_p | Mar 6, 2016 |
Awesome small town romance. This is an excellent beginning to a new series from Sarah Morgan. It's a story of dealing with life's unexpected twists, facing your fears, and coming out stronger in the end. This book has a great cast of characters that I will love getting to know better throughout the series. Can't wait for the next book. I definitely recommend this one. ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
4 stars

I loved Puffin Island. What a community! I want to visit it again real soon. The characters I want to see more of them and don't want to wait. It is charming, fun and deals with some real issues. There are a couple of love scenes that I skimmed over.

Emily Donovan is single and has a real fear of water. She has gone through a lot of changes in the past month. She is scared, panicking at all of a sudden to have to mother her six year old niece. Emily had never met before. Emily is staying at her best friend's cottage on Puffin island.

Emily, Brittany and Skylar have been best friends for ten years. They have promised to be there for each other. They are closer than sisters.

Lizzy is a cute six year old. Her mother just died. She is afraid of cameraman, She is being hunted by reporters.

Ryan Cooper is planning on being single for life. He does not date single mothers. He is asked to check up on Emily and help her. He realizes that she is scared right away and wants to know why.
Ryan has returned back home to Puffin and opened a business.

I liked how Emily is slowly changing and working to get over her fears for Lizzy's sake. How she sees a need in someone else life and she steps in to make a difference.

I will be waiting for the next two books of the series.
I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give First Time in Forever a honest review. ( )
  rhonda1111 | Mar 30, 2015 |
This was a great romance with wonderful characters in a wonderful setting. Emily Donovan comes to Puffin Island, off the coast of Maine, when she suddenly becomes responsible for the six-year-old daughter of her half-sister. Her sister was an actress who died in a plane crash. Emily hadn't seen her since she graduated from high school. Saying her family was dysfunctional is quite an understatement. Emily had determined to live her life without love or other emotional commitments. But, with the paparazzi after young Juliet (called Lizzie to disguise her), Emily needs a safe place to take her.

Puffin Island was her retreat when she was in college. One of her best friends' grandmother lived there. Despite Emily's terror of the sea because of a childhood incident, Puffin Island has always been her safe place. When she arrives this time, she meets Ryan Cooper who is also back on Puffin Island and who has secrets of his own. Both are using childhood traumas as a reason to stay out of relationships. But their hearts and one needy little girl are making them change their minds.

I loved both Ryan and Emily and little Lizzie was such a wonderful character. I liked the way they slowly built their relationships and the way they both overcame their fears. I liked the close community on Puffin Island and look forward to more stories set there. ( )
  kmartin802 | Feb 14, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373785046, Mass Market Paperback)

Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways… 

It's been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece, Lizzy, to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzy and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of "just breathe" pep talks she's given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her… 

Ryan knows all about secrets. And it's clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won't let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he's going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else's hands?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

Emily Donovan has moved to Puffin Island to be a stand-in mother for her niece Lizzy. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzy and her overwhelming fear of the ocean, Emily has lost count of the "just breathe" pep talks she has given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her. Ryan knows all about secrets and it's clear to him that Emily is hiding something. So Ryan decides he's going to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks between them. But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest risk of all: putting her heart in someone else's hands?… (more)

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