Anybody But Him by Claire Baxter
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication Date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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A deliciously funny rom com from Random Romance. What happens when you fall in love with the man you hate?
Nicola Doyle's dating record is a disaster, and it doesn't improve when she returns to Redgum Valley, after an absence of twelve years, to look after her increasingly eccentric parents. There, she's thrown into regular contact with Blair Morrissey – the very reason she couldn't wait to leave town in the first place.
The decade-old scars are still raw from that humiliating day in high school – when Blair went from the boy she loved to the boy she hated.
Except Blair doesn't seem to be a ‘bad boy' any more – in fact, he's charming, infuriatingly helpful and extremely attractive.
If only Nicola could forgive and forget . . .
Nicola is back in her home town of Redgum Valley for three months while she house swaps with her sister. She also is watching over her eccentric parents who have always been a bit high maintenance so her sister needs a break from them as well. Nicola is between jobs so she agrees. She’s not got fond memories of her home town but she’s going to muddle through. Her friend Lainey gets her a temp position at her place of business that allows her the freedom to look after her parents as well.
Nicola is not happy when she runs into Blair Morrissey. Nicola was a bit of a nerd in school and Blair and the other kids made fun of her. Nicola had a huge crush on Blair until her love poetry was found by another student and shown to Blair. Now Nicola is determined to stay away from the man, even though he’s filled out quite nicely in the years since she’s seen him last.
Nicola and Blair keep running into each other and when Nicola needs help and no one else is available she calls Blair. They become something like friends and Blair keeps asking her out for a drink but Nicola keeps turning him down. When it gets closer to the time when Nicola is due to go back to her life in Sydney she realizes that she certainly doesn’t hate Blair like she thought – in fact she’s pretty sure her feelings run much deeper and much more positively than that. But has Blair had enough rejection and moved on?
This was a great little novella. It was a wonderful length for the story and gave us good insight into the characters without drawing things out. We saw Blair and Nicola’s friendship blossoming despite Nicola’s attempts to stop it. Nicola eventually sees into her own heart and her past and realizes that neither she nor Blair or the same people as they were back in school and that she needed to let things go. In doing that she could open herself up to something beautiful between the two of them and I loved seeing her grow.
The story also has lovely secondary characters in Blair’s dog, Dammit, Nicola’s parents who are a crack up and her best friend Lainey. The entire cast of characters made this book a quick and fun read that had me smiling most of the way through it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place
This book is available from Random House Australia. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.