Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Source: ARC for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N
“When love throws you a curve, swing for the fences.”
Parker Wood’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player are shattered when he’s injured in a devastating car crash. After two years in hospitals and physical rehab facilities, he’s ready to move back to his childhood home and take over the family landscaping company. The house and business are his, now that his father has passed.
Sophie Vaughn has suffered through a hellishly public divorce from a husband who couldn’t manage to stay faithful for two months of marriage. Determined not to let her personal drama impact her successful wedding and party planning business, she buys her parents’ old house, hoping the comfort of familiar surroundings will help her heal.
When Parker and Sophie discover they’re neighbors once again, it’s as if time has stood still. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, along with the decade-long crush neither of them ever admitted having. Then the heat between them exposes a long-held secret that threatens to tear them apart…unless they can detach from their painful pasts and move forward - together.
Warning: Contains sultry summer nights, steamy pool-side encounters, and you’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way again.
The friends-to-lovers scenario tends to be one of my favorite romance story lines, and Leave the Lights On didn't disappoint. From the beginning the chemistry between Parker and Sophie was abundant and it didn't take long for them to give in. Sometimes a slow burn is nice, but these two jumped in pretty quickly, which both was believable for their relationship and prevented a lot of the all-too-often used communication failures (there are still some later on, but there was a lot less internal groaning). The progression of their relationship is equal parts sweet and steamy and enough to put a happy smile on your face.
Both Sophie and Parker have suffered major betrayals in their past relationships, which is where their few struggles together tend to come from. They struggle with trusting others but mostly with the believing that they're enough for someone to want. I think it's a relateable insecurity and really helped to keep me engrossed in the story rather than getting overly caught up in whether their hang-ups are valid.
The only thing I really wish had been included was a little more character back story, especially in Sophie's case. There are very defined points in their lives that are well-illuminated, but I would have liked more stories of their growing up together, or details on the time apart. That being said, generally speaking I think it's better to have a little less than perfect than have to much. Questions from readers are better than feelings of being sick of it, right? So, although it was a bit of a bummer, it didn't take much away for me.
Leave the Light On is a quick, easy, and sweet friends-to-lovers that will make you smile. If HEAs are your game, look no further.
Check out all the other stops on the tour here!
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends, who never seem to mind the excessive quantities she tends to prepare. She attributes her ability to multitask to the fact that she rarely sleeps, which gives her more hours every day. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic tales filled with sarcasm and sexy details. Although she writes in three genres (erotic romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction) all of her stories are love stories with happily ever after endings.
Karen has published several erotic romance novels with Ellora’s Cave including two award winning stories: Always You (published September 2011, First Place Winner of the RWA Passionate Plume Award – 2012)and Marry Me (published June 2012, First Place Winner in the NEC-RWA Bean Pot Reader’s Choice Award – 2013).