Starry-eyed Ava Simmons, co-owner of the ramshackle Heartbeat Inn, needs to steal her first kiss on the historic Heartland Cove Bridge before the Mayor has it torn down. Then she can join the ranks of her entire family tree in having her first kiss on the second longest covered bridge in North America. In a race against the Mayor's bulldozer, she sees every hot and available guest of her B&B as First Kiss Potential.
If only she could escape the judging eyes of her omnipresent handyman, Sebastian Haddock. He's too busy, too dusty, and too local for Ava's tastes. She likes her heroes straight off the covers of the romance novels she devours like her guests eat her amazing baked goods. Yep, her First Kiss recipient needs to be strong yet sensitive, handsome but modest, hard-working but relaxed, and dreamy yet grounded.
Basically, she needs one of her Book Boyfriends to step out of a love story and kiss her! Because convincing her guests to visit the bridge with her turns out to be as tricky as baking the perfect cupcake in a broken oven. How do the romance novels make it look so easy? And how come Sebastian keeps catching her with her nose in a book? And when one of her guests turns out to be a kissable romance novel cover model-why isn't she ready for her First Kiss after all?
Happily Ever Kissed follows the zany hijinks of a youthful Ava Simmons who is a hard worker, but also a dreamer. With her nose frequently stuck in a book, she often mixes up reality with her romantic ideals. When she realizes one of her daydreams is in jeopardy, she pulls out all the stops to try and get a guy, any guy, to steal a kiss from her. Any guy except Sebastian, who she just can't picture without paint-speckled overalls and a hammer in his hand. Another 'meet-cute' story in the set, this one involves a romantic hero. It reads extremely charming and I particularly fell in love with Ava and her obsession with binge-reading romances. Vicky Holt is a very precise and beautiful writer, which shows in her rich and tender romance scenes, and her lovely descriptions of the Cove. This is one of the books in the set that features a home-grown heroine. Canadian born and raised! – Jacquie Gee
"The best part of this book is its humor. Whether it was overt or subtle, Holt seamlessly weaves it into the story and avoids the trite 'set-up and punchline.' Oftentimes it is found in almost throwaway lines. I found myself laughing out loud several times."– Paul Cwalina
"I absolutely loved this one! Ava is adorably quirky. I could really be her friend! Ava always has her nose in a romance, and has definitely romanticized her first kiss. She's so sweet, innocent, and hardworking. I absolutely loved watching all of her failures and attempts in running her B&B and finding "the one". This book is just all kinds of adorable."– Amanda
"One of the best romantic heroes I've read in a long time. The guy she falls for is REAL, not just some flight of fancy. He has faults, he has stories, he has a history that isn't out there and isn't melodramatic."– Charissa DuFour
Checking to make sure there were no witnesses, I snuck into my pantry. I could hear more thunking noises, leading me to believe that Sebastian was now in the Moose Room fixing that tub faucet. I loaded the oven with more goodies and set the timer. Perfect! It wasn't my favorite way to read, my ten or fifteen minute bursts, but I managed to finish a lot of books that way.
I was just about at the part where Kase got the evidence he needed to realize his client wasn't blowing smoke up his ass, when the timer went off.
I jumped up, hustled across the tile floor and peeled the tape off so I could open the oven door. I had my hot pads ready and my trivets, and pulled out each tray or tin, loving the sweet sugary smell that met my nose.
I slid more trays in, my system in full baking mode, and blew on a snickerdoodle. It occurred to me I hadn't eaten yet for the day, so decided a cookie was in order.
I chose one that had puffed up nicely in the middle, and carefully removed it with a metal spatula. I blew on it until it looked safe and bit into it, expecting the melt-in-your-mouth vanilla and cinnamon flavor to coat my tongue. It was raw dough!
"What?" I shouted and looked at my bitten cookie. The middle was uncooked. Not quite believing it, I scooped a couple more off the sheet and let them sag in half. Uncooked cookies. "Noooo," I began to moan. I'd had it all set up. My system never failed me. I had recipes that baked cookies and mini cupcakes at the same temp for the same amount of time. I was the queen of simul-baking. This didn't happen to me!