Lumberjack in Love by Penny Watson

Lumberjack in Love by Penny Watson
Released: September 7, 2012
Contemporary Romance, Novella
Self Published

Reviewed by May 

She ran her hands over the ridged muscle of his chest, dragging her nails through the dark hair. “You look Paul Bunyan on steroids. The sexiest Paul Bunyan I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Ami is staying with her sister’s family, visiting and gritting her teeth through a visit in the Vermont wilderness. Without Starbucks, good wine, her beloved Celtics, and all of the conveniences of her life back in Boston she’s feeling pretty cranky. When her sister sends her to take a deposit up to the mountain man who is building her niece a custom playhouse Ami is picturing a grizzled old mountain man.

Mr. Mountain Man was clearly outside, doing his mountain manly business. Was there a Mrs. Mountain Man in the picture, maybe sewing the checkerboard curtains and keeping his axe well-oiled?

Hee hee. That was bad. She chuckled at her naughty joke and sneaked around the side of the porch to catch a glimpse of Mr. Marcus Anderson, Designer of Children’s Playhouses and Protector of Green Space in Vermont. According to her sister, Mr. Anderson liked to show up at town meetings and unnerve non-ecologically mind folks with his intimidating stare and frightening beard. What a nut case!

She rounded the corner of the house and stopped dead in her tracks. She had no idea what Mr. Anderson looked like from the front. But from the back, he was no grizzled old man. A massive specimen of masculinity raised an axe high above his head, then crushed it down on a log propped up on another stump. His arms bulged beneath a thin T-shirt, sweat drenched his back. Faded blue jean hugged his ass and meaty-looking thighs. A pair of scuffed up work boots and a navy-blue skull cap completed his ensemble.

I so approve of this…

His face was dark, thunderous, and absolutely freaking gorgeous. Electric blue eyes, high cheekbones, and a black lush beard that Ami wanted to rub all over.

I picked this book up because, well how could I not? I couldn’t resist the lure of a mountain man contemporary love story. It is a novella, and it only took me about an hour to read it. Knowing this, I went in hoping for something fun, something cute. I wasn’t disappointed either – it is a light romp through the Vermont mountains. Plenty of smexy times and memorable scenes too.

Marcus is creative, works hard, and lives a good clean life. It was nice to read about a genuinely nice, yet testosterone filled man for a change. He does like nature, and he doesn’t like junk food or the trappings of a big city. He enjoys his life, and his community. That he wasn’t a grumbling hermit or extreme kind of guy really worked for me – and made this an especially delightful read.

The one element that bothered me is how instantly these two move from meeting to relationship. There is a scene when Ami goes over to his place – junk food and house plants in tow – and sets up to watch a Celtics game. He isn’t even home nor is he expecting her visit – but that doesn’t stop her she just sets out making a great big mess garbage everywhere and treating his home as her own. He seems disturbed by this when he arrives – but he doesn’t really do anything more than ask that she not trash his house like that in the future.

I simply can’t imagine treating someone else’s home like this ever, especially not someone I’ve known a few days. The ‘insta-relationship/love’ aspect really was the only thing I didn’t like though. I wish the novella had taken place over more time, perhaps over several of her visits to her sister’s place.

Speaking of her sister – I really liked the characters of this small Vermont town, and how Ami comes to appreciate and open up to the possibility of life outside the narrow plan she’d formerly had for herself. I was impressed with how vividly she brought this world to life, and how much I wanted to see the playhouse creations Marcus makes, the gardens Ami designs, and visit this Vermont town!

Watson has a great voice – I’ll definitely be watching for more books from her now. I really thought she did a good job developing tension and making her characters come to life, especially for such a short story. If you’re looking for a quick contemporary read where city girl and mountain man find love – well this is the book for you.

Grade: B+

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