REVIEW AND EXCERPT: ON HART’S BOARDWALK by Samantha Young

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On Hart’s Boardwalk: An On Dublin Street and Hart’s Boardwalk crossover novella

One of New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young’s most beloved couples returns for the first time in a brand new novella set ten years after her blockbuster bestseller Before Jamaica Lane…

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they’ve been craving—a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

Review

‘Marriages are not perfect because people aren’t perfect.’

These are sage words that all married couples should remember, even fictional ones, because life isn’t easy…there’s a tremendous amount of ups and downs and even the most in love and strongest couples go through rough patches, and it’s during those times that these two individuals who pledged their lives to one another need to try harder, never give up, and never stop fighting for a love that’s meant to be forever.

When I saw that Samantha Young was writing another story about, Nate and Liv, one of my favorite couples of her On Dublin Street series, I couldn’t get my hands on an ARC quick enough because I wanted to see how they were doing after the unconventional way that these two started their relationship in Before Jamaica Lane, and while it hurts my heart when a pair of characters I adore struggle with their marriage, it’s a realistic portrayal of what any couple might encounter as they spend their years together.

When On Hart’s Boardwalk begins, Liv feels completely disconnected from Nate…I would go so far as to say that she feels shut out on an emotional level and it’s that distance that she can’t seem to shorten that has Liv’s insecurities and neediness wreaking havoc on her heart. For 10 blissful years of marriage, Liv and Nate have been a team, creating an incredible life together and raising their two girls in a loving environment, but with the death of one of Nate’s good friends, things have changed between Liv and Nate; she feels invisible and undesired and until those issues are discussed and resolved, Liv suffers silently and the tension between them will never dissipate if an honest conversation doesn’t occur.

I can’t tell you how much I adored the continuation of Nate and Olivia’s story…partly because their situation is extremely relatable and it will definitely resonate with readers but also because it allowed me to revisit a cast characters that I miss desperately. Because Young creates multifaceted characters, readers feel like they truly know and understand them and it makes reading about them that much more enjoyable. 

The fact that Young brings two of her series together and provides Nate and Liv with an opportunity to reconnect in Hartwell, Delaware, makes the setting a perfect backdrop for them to find their way back to one another, and the cameos characters from the Hart’s Boardwalk series provides readers with further insight into how the couples are doing and it also gives readers an outside perspective on just how good Nate and Liv look together and just how much love surrounds them.

Marriage is definitely an adventure, and the message that Young seems to send to her readers through Liv and Nate’s story is that as long as the good times outweigh the bad ones and the couple doesn’t give up on one another then they can tackle anything that life throws at them, and that idea resonates from the pages of On Hart’s Boardwalk in a sexy, sweet, and heartfelt way. 

5 Poison Apples

Excerpt

Although Nate had agreed to wait to have sex until we played out our little strangers in a bar fantasy, I could tell he was disgruntled. For some reason his irritation made me want to torment him even more. After we showered (separately) and dressed, I grabbed his hand when we walked down to breakfast, trailing the fingertips of my free hand over the skin on his forearm exposed by his T-shirt.

Walking down the stairs he frowned at me. “You’re doing that deliberately.”

“Are you saying I don’t get to touch you at all until tomorrow night?”

“No.” He suddenly stopped and pressed me up against the wall of the stairwell, his mouth inches from mine. His hand, the one not holding mine, slipped under my sundress, his fingertips caressing their way up my inner thigh.

“Nate,” I gasped, looking down the stairs to make sure the entrance was empty.

“You tease me, babe…” His hot breath whispered against my lips. “I tease you tenfold in return.”

I fought with the desire flooding me and the concern over disrespecting our very nice inn owner. My concern won out and I reached for his wrist under my dress and forcefully removed his hand with a flash of ire in my eyes that made him smirk in triumph. “Not here.”

“Just playing your game.” He stood back and then began leading me down the stairs like nothing had happened.

There was only one other couple in the dining hall that early in the morning, an older couple who smiled warmly at us and greeted us ‘hello’ as we grabbed some coffee from the buffet area.

We’d just taken a seat at a table when Aydan came out of the kitchen and beamed at us. “You two are up early. Jetlag?”

“Yeah,” I said, fighting off a yawn. “I’m still kind of feeling it actually. But this will help.” I raised my coffee cup.

“So will some food.” She handed us each a menu. “I’ll be back in a minute to take your order.”

We were looking over the small menu and I was trying to decide between scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon; pancakes, maple syrup and bacon; or waffles. “I forgot how good breakfast is here.” I glanced over at my husband, who seemed less excited than me about breakfast. “You’re getting the egg white frittata, aren’t you?”

Nate used to indulge more food-wise but he’d found, as we all found, that he couldn’t metabolize crappy food as well as he used to. So, he only indulged every now and then.

“Aye.” He nodded, his eyes twinkling with amusement. He knew it bugged me that he had more willpower than I did.

“I’m getting the waffles,” I immediately decided.

Nate laughed and leaned over to caress the top of my ass, which thankfully was hidden by the back of my chair from anyone else’s few. “You eat whatever you want, babe. We’ll both enjoy the fruits of that labor.”

I should have glared at him for feeling me up in the breakfast room of this quaint inn, but I couldn’t, because it felt like I had my old Nate back. The guy who made me feel sexy and wanted no matter what. So instead I gave him a soft smile.

For some reason my reaction made his gaze turn liquid with heat and he impulsively leaned over, cupped my face in his hand and kissed me. Hard. Deep. Quick.

When he let me go I couldn’t even think long enough to be embarrassed that he’d just Frenched me in front of an elderly couple who were trying to eat their breakfast. I could only blink, dazed, my lips wet and waiting for more. “What was that for?”

“Because I love you.” He shrugged, like it was most obvious answer in the world.

Before I could say anything else the sound of Bailey Hartwell’s raised voice met our ears from somewhere near reception. “It’s ridiculous that’s why!”

Nate and I shot each other amused looks, and pretended to peruse the menu even though I knew were both listening in. Nosy buggers.

Her voice was lower now, and the fact that we hadn’t heard another voice reply suggested

she was on the phone. “Vaughn, we have a house,” she hissed. “We don’t need another… why would you sell it? It’s beautiful… we don’t need to buy a house together to be together… it’s a waste of money…” there was a longer stretch of silence. “Okay, if you’re that intent on wasting money why don’t we just strip the house out and make it the way we both want it… it sits right on the water…. Stop being romantic when I’m trying to be practical, you know it confuses me… Stop it, I’m at the inn.” Her voice dropped even lower. Her breath seemed to catch. “You’re going to pay for that, Tremaine… no… no… Vaughn… okay, fine…. I love you too, you, handsome bastard.”

That seemed to be the end of the conversation, and I turned to Nate, laughter bubbling in my throat. “That sounded familiar.”

He grinned. “Didn’t it.”

“I don’t think our inn owner is going to Scotland anytime soon.”

“No?”

“No. If she’s got what I’ve got, she’s staying put.”

About Samantha Young

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us was published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017. Play On is an adult contemporary romance and the first in a brand new series set in Scotland. Villain is a companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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