For a quick fun read, for a fairly predictable plot that carries comfort, for characters resolving their personal issues.
Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . . Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?
If you love the “fake dating” trope, then you probably won’t be disappointed. There is a bit of insta-love, but just take it with a bit of salt from the rim of a cocktail and enjoy the overall story. 😁
When a book is based on a fairly popular plot line or trope, like this one is, then there has to be something else to set it apart from the countless others like it. For Island Affair, I was happy to see that set itself apart with characters who had deep-rooted personal issues that got in the way of their love, but also of their own lives. The honesty with which the characters face their problems was refreshing, and prevented the book from falling back onto the usual conflict where everything would be prevented if they had just talked to each other.
This is very much a story embracing the fact that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else — or let yourself be loved. Sara is a role model, and I ended the book feeling as proud of her as I would any friend in the same situation. Luis is a bit more pigheaded, but there had to be some basis for conflict, right?
Please don’t be surprised that this had some pretty steamy scenes! It’s just shy of explicit, but certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Oliveras gets through some hot and heavy foreplay before delicately letting the curtain fall on the scene. The emotional connection is nothing to sniff at either.
If you set your expectations right, you’ll certainly enjoy this book. It is still based on a very popular trope, so you probably won’t be blown away. That does not mean it’s not worth reading! For a beach read, an escape, or a bit of fun, this book is absolutely perfect.
Thanks to Goodreads for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!