Chase ‘The Wolf’ Yearwood plays to win, both professionally and personally, and never loses. Ok, so there was that one time back in college but that’s a long time ago and hardly even matters now, right? He’s at the top of his game and has been handed a sweet job opportunity. Before he assumes his new position as head of the corporate development division at Mainstay Media he’s decided to return to his homeland of Dahinda for a visit. What he doesn’t expect is for his college rival, Cicely, to be seated next to him during the flight.
Cicely isn’t interested in renewing any sort of relationship with Chase and isn’t at all happy to discover that she has to put up with him during the flight. They end up rehashing their college battle for the position of student government association presidency and come to the realization that there’s more to what happened than either of them realized. Their hostility toward each other hasn’t faded but it’s tempered by a sexual tension that they’ve fought hard to deny. Eventually, they agree to put aside their differences and Cicely’s even magnanimous enough to take Chase up on his offer to show her around Dahinda. Of course, that’s before he knows her grand plan to indulge in a fling. If Cicely is determined to have a holiday affair then he’s not going to stop her, he’s just going to be real sure that he’s the man she chooses. They may have been college rivals but that’s all over now, right?
Gwyneth Bolton’s newest book RIVALS IN PARADISE pulls readers right into the storyline through Cicely’s actions. I could really empathize with her over the loss of a deserved promotion and held my breath waiting for her reaction to catching her boyfriend cheating. I’ve got to say, she handled the situation like a pro. There was no hiding from the truth or denial – and she left absolutely no doubt that their relationship is over. Chase is cocky and at the same time loveable – which turns out to be an irresistible combination. The sexual tension between Cicely and Chase was present from the moment they started arguing and it was just a matter of time before they caved.
Ms. Bolton infuses this story with all the humor, emotion-filled drama, passion and witty dialogue readers have come to treasure in her writing. I loved the interplay between Cicely and Chase but there were secondary characters who captured my attention as well. My favorite is Chase’s mother who is an absolute delight with her friendly nature – not to mention a crack shot with a dishtowel. There are other characters you’ll adore and even one you’ll love to hate! RIVALS IN PARADISE is a fun read but it also touches you emotionally as you begin to understand Cicely’s reasons for dating men who are obviously wrong for her – and how right Chase could be if she’d just give him a chance.