Hollywood screenwriter Sawyer Walsh knows a good love story when he sees it. But when it comes to real life romance, he’s a mess. That’s how he finds himself standing at the altar…as his ex-girlfriend ties the knot with his very famous best friend. The pressure, the resentment, the media coverage—it’s all too much—and before he knows exactly what he’s doing, he’s making a run for it, leaving a shocked congregation and flashing cameras in his wake.
Needing to lie low amid the media fallout, Sawyer lands in the charming town of Canoodle, California, where he crosses paths with Fallon Long, who runs the Canoodle Cove Cabins, a family-owned business and Sawyer’s new short-term residence. Overwhelmed with renovations and her long list of responsibilities, Fallon is struggling to make ends meet while attempting to bring the cabins back to their original glory. So when Sawyer arrives, she is grateful for the income, but immediately writes him off as just another vapid Hollywood hack, until he begins to prove her wrong at every turn.
As Fallon comes closer to saving the family business, an undeniable bond forms between her and the handsome screenwriter. But the pressures of her family obligations and Sawyer’s notoriety might prove to be too much for anyone to handle. Could Canoodle be the setting for a new romance—or is true love just a Hollywood cliché?
This is one of my favorite books of the year. Sawyer’s life is a mess so he ruins the celebrity wedding of the year and stomps off in a huff, or as much of a huff as a man can muster when he’s missing a shoe. He ends up at a bar in the mountains, drowning his sorrows and wakes up in a strange cabin with no recollection of how he got there. He’s mortified to learn that the pretty lady behind the desk and her friend from the bar had to drag him to a cabin. This must be rock bottom, he assumes, only to learn that people are making memes of his very public meltdown so that’s actually the lowest point of his life. Sawyer figures he’s entitled to snap after everything he’s been through the last and decides to relax here.
Fallon is enjoying the Sawyer memes to their fullest because the jackass doesn’t even remember her from their blind date. Not that she’s surprised since he ignored her the entire time and never glanced up from his phone. It was the worst date of her life but come on, talk about adding insult to injury. She doesn’t look even a tad familiar? He’ll be lucky to escape Canoodle without a knife wound if Jas –Fallon’s protective and slightly scary bestie – gets ahold of him.
She may want to kick him when he’s down, but Fallon doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Still, just seeing him annoys her, so she keeps her distance. That’s easy to do with her hectic life. Between taking care of her ailing grandpa and undertaking a DIY renovation of the entire place, she keeps plenty busy. Sawyer doesn’t know why the pretty lady running the inn doesn’t like him but assumes it’s because he ruined the wedding of America’s favorite couple. He can’t worry about Fallon though, her silent disdain is the least of his problems. He’s too busy tripping over the shambles of his life to be productive, no matter how many times his agent requests a new screenplay, so he finds other ways to keep busy.
Soon Sawyer’s using his construction background to stealthily fix things around Canoodle Cove Cabins and has a new friend in Sully, the cabin owner. He’s horrified to learn he had a date with Fallon and ignored her. As they cautiously become friendly acquaintances – but NOT friends, uh-uh, no way – his regret runs deep, especially when he sees her with the safe, boring boyfriend who’s all wrong for Fallon. She can’t help but notice the beautiful man fixing up her family business, who doesn’t even want recognition. And he’s so sweet with her grandpa, who isn’t the easiest person to deal with. She’s embarrassed to be drawn to Sawyer since she’s already confused about her relationship with Peter but he’s tough to resist.
These two non-friends get awful chummy and there’s a mutual attraction. Fallon and Sawyer are hilarious together, but they also smoldered their way through this slow burn. I loved the banter with these two and the way they interacted in every scene, they’re the perfect balance of sweet and steamy. Their story made me laugh out loud and gave me everything I wanted: an unconventional love story with quirky characters who don’t take themselves too seriously, a fun supporting cast and a goofy small town with a cat for a mayor. If you haven’t read this one yet, stop what you’re doing and get it now, you’ll be glad you did.