Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Sandy James
Series: The Ladies Who Lunch #2
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous
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For the fans of Jennifer Probst, Ruth Cardello and Jill Shalvis, comes a series about love, friendship, and lunch!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She's ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she's ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can't afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they'll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can't live without.
Word count: 75,000-85,000
Juliana is a special needs teacher who is burned out after almost 15 years on the job. Her uncle mentions real estate to her and she decides to attend a seminar to see if it’s something she is really interested in. The seminar is a bust – the man putting it on is a chauvinist jerk – but she does meet Connor, who is also attending the seminar. They have an instant attraction and Juliana decides to break her own rules and go upstairs with him. They end up having the best sex of her life, but the emotional connection she felt scares her and she sneaks out first thing in the morning.
Connor is working on rebuilding his life. He’s starting over in a new town, in a new house, with a new business. He’s only at the seminar to check out the competition, until Juliana walks in. She captivates him right away and he knows what they’re sharing is more than a one-night-stand. Even after she disappears he’s determined to find her.
When they end up trying to get the same listing from a seller Juliana rashly announces they’re forming a partnership. It isn’t what Connor had in mind, but he’s willing to give it a shot, since he knows they’ll work well together. Even though he knows he should be focusing on overcoming his past and building his future, he can’t stay away from her. It isn’t long before he realizes he wants his future to include Juliana. He just isn’t sure she can get over his past. If he ever gets the courage to tell her about it…
Juliana is a redhead with the requisite temper. She’s quick to anger and slow to cool down. As a result, there were quite a few misunderstandings that came up. Since she often would get angry instead of listening, she jumped to conclusions. Connor did the same. Add into it his refusal to share his past with Juliana and her need to keep things close to her chest, and this made for some frustrating reading.
What saved the story for me was how quick her friends were to point out her behavior, and then how quick she was to fix it.
She was an idiot. Instead of opening up and sharing her news with him and making plans, she’d done what she thought she’d grown out of—she’d had a temper tantrum. Everything inside her hurt, from not only his accusation but from her broken trust. But those weren’t fatal wounds. She could heal, and she thought she could help him heal as well.
Way to go, Jules. Fucked that one up, didn’t ya?
Her unabashed desire and acceptance of her behavior helped, too.
Why should she feel any shame for accepting the invitation of a man she desired more than any she’d met before? Especially when she’d be much more likely to regret letting him slip right through her fingers. Life had taught her a hard lesson—that regrets over what could’ve been were stronger and more damaging than regrets over what happened.
Connor was a pretty solid character, despite his unwillingness to open up about his past. I felt that was understandable, considering the nature of his secret. The way he jumped to conclusions about Juliana was kind of immature, but they both recognized this as a flaw they shared and worked on it. Once their tempers had cooled that is.
The shortness of their courtship would have been unbelievable if not for their solid connection. That and spending pretty much 24/7 together for months on end, since they worked together and lived together (Connor’s house was being renovated and Juliana offered him a place to stay during construction).
The friendship between The Ladies Who Lunch is something that really stands out. The women are close and turn to one another for comfort and support, but also to laugh and have fun.
Juliana and Connor both frustrated me at times, but their connection was solid and emotionally charged. The friendship between the ladies is strong and real, which is what really sealed the story for me.
3.5 out of 5