Audiobook review: Temptation on Ocean Drive by Jennifer Probst
After losing the love of her life, Bella believes her life is complete without the love of a man; filled with being a mom, sister, and wedding planner. She’s always busy taking care of everyone else, never taking time for herself. “Beach Bachelor” of the year, Gabe, hates the attention and rumors his good looks and single status stir. He’s been in love with Bella since the day he met her three years ago and decides maybe now is the time to finally make a move.
Temptation on Ocean Drive is the second story set in Cape May, following the three Sunshine sisters and their wedding planning business. I love that one point the gang actually pokes fun of each sister falling in love like it’s a romance series. This time around, we get the story of young widow Bella, middle sister, and the Sunshine Sister’s business partner, Gabe. Bella has some serious abandonment issues ever since her husband died, and she is scared to trust anyone outside of family, believing everyone will leave her. Since Gabe is a hot-shot bachelor and successful wedding planner from the big city, Bella holds him at arm’s length, believing he’ll eventually leave the sisters for Manhattan. Gabe loves the life he’s building in Cape May, finally being accepted and appreciated for his wedding planning talents. He just wants to settle down, but gossip in the small town runs rampant and no one, including Bella, believes he’s a family guy looking to stay in Cape May.
The story has some wonderful moments, both heartfelt and honest. Bella and Gabe fit together wonderfully, when Bella isn’t self-sabotaging the relationship. I like the couple together, but Bella’s fears lead her to treat Gabe awfully, and it goes on for too long. Bella’s fears are completely realistic, but her back and forth wore on me, making me weary. It is constant – she believes gossip over Gabe and at times is downright cruel in her efforts to keep distance between the pair. Too much of the book focuses on the negative and struggle for them to come together, rather than what it is for them to be together.
And while Gabe is kind, sweet, and heroic, he is so to a fault. He doesn’t want to make waves, so he allows the gossip to fester. He doesn’t want to make waves, so he keeps his feelings in check. He doesn’t want to make waves, so he doesn’t tell Bella about a job offer… You get the picture. He’s such a good guy that he ends up causing some of his own headaches and heartache.
Narration: Temptation on Ocean Drive brings us two new main characters and therefore listeners have two new narrators. The storytelling remains alternating third-person POVs. Right away, Laurie West clicks as Bella. I can hear the exhaustion of a single mom in her voice. She adds emotion into her performance, adding dimension to the experience. Little kid voices are always tough, and Ms. West does a pretty decent job portraying Bella’s young daughter. She does good job with Gabe; masculine, distinct, and youthful. My biggest issues is that her voices for the sisters sound too similar. Tom Thor performs with a deep and sensual gravel. He is perfect for Gabe, adding a sensitive quality to his performance. He successfully gives females a softer edge, and most are distinctive. However, I did notice that his voices for Gabe’s bffs sound very similar and somewhat like his females. In the end, it was an enjoyable listening experience.
Overall, I absolutely loved parts of Temptation on Ocean Drive but cringed after others. I wanted to LOVE the story, but I didn’t. It’s a mixed bag that left me a bit frustrated; however, I will continue with the series knowing that the character issues I had with this one shouldn’t be the same in the next story, with two new MCs.
About the Book:
Young widow Bella Sunshine-Caldwell is focused only on raising her daughter and running the family business, Sunshine Bridal. There’s no time for romance – especially with her fellow wedding planner, Gabe, whom she’s growing increasingly attracted to. He’s too enterprising to stay in Cape May for long, anyway. And too tall, dark, and handsome to be anything but a heartbreaker.
Every woman in town has her sights on Gabe Garcia. The only woman he has eyes for doesn’t seem interested. All he wants is to fall in love, be a father, and settle down. As he and Bella work together on a magical winter wedding, the distance between them closes, the nights grow warmer, and Bella might be seeing Gabe for who he really is: a man worth the effort.
But all it takes is a single rumor for these two heats’ fragile love story to shatter. And now the happy ending Bella and Gabe hoped for is something they’re going to have to fight for.
Author: Jennifer Probst
Narrators: Laurie West, Tor Thom
Series: The Sunshine Sisters Series #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audiobook Release Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 hours, 37 minutes
Audio Speed: 1.25x-1.5x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)
Reviews in the Series:
Love on Beach Avenue by Jennifer Probst (Sunshine Sisters #1) – Audiobook Review