This book has it all, really, from the endearing and carefuly crafted characters, to the genuine and sweet romance set in a small town and a satisfying HEA. The author kept me interested and on the edge with plot twists I hadn’t seen coming. Lovers of military heroes with a heart of gold, single dads, this one will most definitely check all your boxes.
Love a Navy Hero? Then you’ll fall in love with the friends and family of the Big Island Dive shop
Former navy diver Nicholas Harper likes his new world as captain of a dive boat in Hawaii. That is until a phone call from the past changes everything. Now his uncomplicated life suddenly becomes very complicated.
Powerhouse attorney Kara Lynn O’Conner’s world revolves around her small Texas town where life is easy and safe. Focusing on her career keeps her dark secrets locked away.
When the past surges into the present will Nick and Kara’s be able to bring their two worlds together?
Author : Chris Keniston
Title : Aloha Texas
Series : Aloha series #1
Number of pages : 273
Release Date : January 12th, 2014
Genre : Contemporary.
All the feels for this heartwarming and steamy romance!
And another series to add to my “Happy Place” shelf!
If you’ve been following this blog, you know this shelf is reserved to Sarah Morgan, Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Jennifer Crusie, Robin Kaye, Virna DePaul… and few others whose series are the perfect HEA escape.
I’ve met the author at the Festival du Roman Féminin last weekend in Paris. We kind of shared a couch at some point, forced to leisurely lounge while others were queuing for a book signing. I had no idea who was the woman next to me, but then she engaged a conversation with me and we talked about favorite authors and subgenres in romance we liked. I discovered we both enjoyed Lorraine Heath books, clearly the woman next to me had great taste!
It’s not until our time together was almost up that she told me she was an author (one I had heard from but not yet read and her name was familiar), and she gave me a couple book recommendations she thought I’d enjoy.
Fast forward a week, I was in the mood for something sweet and I grabbed the first book in her Aloha series. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am I got to meet her. I know I’ll be bingeing on this series for the month to come, and I’m to see she has a consequent backlist to look forward to. Now, about hte book…
I’ve pretty much read Aloha Texas in one seating, captivated within the first pages and fell for all the characters, main and secondary.
Nick and his sense of honor and loyalty (also, single dad and gorgeous former navy, what can I say, I’m partial to military corps heroes 🤷🏻♀️), Kara for her strength and endurance, Bradley for his tender presence, and all the friends and family for bringing lightness and comfort during poignant scenes.
I thought I had the story all figured out but the author cleverly interpersed a couple plot twists through the romance and kept me hooked until the end and delivered a very satisfying HEA.
This book has it all without ever feeling over the top, and the secondary characters introduced will make you want to read their own story. My afternoon is all booked, as I’ll be diving into Billy’s story in a matter of minutes now.
***The book has 2 versions, a “sweet and clean new version” or a “spicier” one. The new edited (clean) version is currently #FREE on amazon US, while —as my friend Geri put it— you’ll have to rake a few bucks for the sex! In any case, I can guarantee this series will make an addict off of you, so be sure to grab the special priced boxed set with the first 3 books for only $3.99. (links at the end of this post)***
“Aloha Texas by Chris Keniston. ©
Excerpt “Aloha texas by Chris Keniston. ©
“The man might as well be living on Mars.” Kara Lynn O’Conner slammed the receiver down—hard.
From the bookshelves across the room, Maggie O’Conner looked up over the rim of her reading glasses. “Why should Nicholas Harper be any different from every other man?”
It took Kara a few moments to process her aunt’s comment. “Because this is the twenty-first century and everyone uses email.”
“Honey, communication devices have never been the problem. Bell invented the telephone in 1876.”
“He’s not returning calls, either.” She stared at the phone, willing it to ring. Six months ago Patty Ann was just another client with a life expectancy of forty-five more years, give or take a few. Today the odds of her making it another forty-five hours were slim.
Two years ago, Kara had drawn up Patty Ann’s will not thinking it would be needed anytime soon. Two months ago, Patty Ann had asked Kara to contact Nicholas Harper, and soon. It had taken almost that long to track the man down. Today, Kara hoped she wasn’t going to have to fly all the way to Hawaii just to talk to him.
“I’ve emailed the man, used snail mail, both certified and regular, called his office, and his cell phone. I’ve tried everything short of carrier pigeon.” Kara glanced at her watch. “Five fifteen.”
“Give him a chance. Didn’t that man you spoke to at his office promise he’d have Mr. Harper return the call?”
She nodded and looked at her watch. Again.
“Talk about buns in the sun.”
Leaning over, Nick heard the throaty chuckles carry from the back of the scuba boat as clearly as if the two women had sauntered up and cooed in his ear. Not the first time he’d heard the name of the popular Kona bakery taken in vain. He was sorely tempted to turn and flash the vacationing housewives a full wattage smile and see how fast they’d scurry into their rabbit hole.
“All right, Pam, you’re next,” he called to the shorter of the two friends, as he pointed to where she needed to sit and strap on her tank. The sudden flush in her cheeks convinced him that under the wetsuit the petite redhead was most likely blushing clear down to her toes. Yeah, he’d heard her all right. And recognizing the signs of bored women having harmless fun, he cut the lady some slack and offered his friendly put-’em-at-ease grin. Not that he’d have minded laying on the charm full force and showing her a good time Hawaiian style. But he could read most women like a book, and this one had bark and no bite written all over her. If he’d made anything even close to a suggestive response, she’d probably fall off the boat from the shock of it, hit her head-on the way down, and then sue him before reaching the mainland. Nope, a simple smile was all he could afford.
“Attagirl.” The laughing friend gave Pam a thumbs-up.
“This is my first real ocean dive. Until now I’ve done all my diving in pools and lakes back home.” Pam lowered herself onto the bench beside him and slid her arms into the BCD—buoyancy control device—before offering him a nervous smile. “It was my friend’s idea to come to Hawaii.”
“We’re glad you came.” He flashed another one of his comfort grins. “Follow your dive guide, Jonathan, and relax and take it easy. You don’t want to get all worked up before you even leave the boat, or you’ll eat up all your air and miss out.”
“Relax. Right.” The woman took a deep breath, pushed to her feet, made her way to the back of the boat, secured her mask and regulator, and took a long step into the water. As nervous as she was, he was betting she’d be back on the boat long before her time was up.
“My turn, Captain Nick.” The taller blonde sidled up beside him and flashed a broad smile.
Close up, he could see this one wasn’t quite so harmless. Her bleached blonde hair told him she thought she could find her youth at the bottom of a bottle of L’Oréal, and if he were a betting man, he’d guess the bulls weren’t the only thing ridden hard at the rodeo. Yep, as good as he was, and he was very good, she could probably teach him a thing or two. For all of ten seconds he seriously considered the possibility, until the price of his insurance premiums pushed to the forefront of his thoughts. Nope. No more mixing business with pleasure. Not if he wanted to keep his boat and his business afloat. This was one bored housewife who would have to find her vacation entertainment elsewhere.
Once all eight divers were over the side and off in search of underwater fun, all he had to do was chop a pineapple for between-dive snacks, fix the head, and if time permitted, check his email. Before he could get started on the plumbing problem, his phone sounded off. He glanced at the caller ID: O’Conner and O’Conner. No doubt the law firm hired by the broad from New York who had accused him of groping her during a dive. Thanks to her stupid lawsuit he’d had to ease back on the diving and stick to driving the boat. He hit Ignore and slipped the phone into his pocket. It was pretty ironic that the real reason Big Island Dive got sued was because he did not act on her advances.
Nearly two hours later, the head unstopped, the divers fed, hydrated, and back in the water for their second swim, Nick’s phone rang again. Big Island Dive Shop. He swiped at the phone. “Yeah?”
Billy, his partner and best friend, nearly groaned into the phone. “What did you do this time?”
“Whatever it is, it wasn’t me.”
Nick had first met Billy during training with Uncle Sam in Panama City. In the navy. Billy grew up on the Big Island. Through the years Nick had gotten to know Billy’s hometown almost as well as his own. So much so that, when it came time for Nick to go home, instead of catching a flight to landlocked West Texas, he’d boarded a plane bound for Honolulu connecting to Kona. Six months later, Billy found himself on the wrong end of an explosion and an early discharge. Not long after that, Nick and Billy were the new owners of the forty-six-foot Kona Queen and the Big Island Dive Shop.
“Some lawyer’s been calling every hour on the hour. I said you wouldn’t be back till after one at the earliest, but they keep calling anyway. What did you do?”
“Why do you assume I did anything?”
“You’re kidding, right?”
Okay, maybe he didn’t want to go there. With the exception of the lawsuit based on false accusations, most of his troubles came from women he knew well, in the biblical sense.
“Look, man,” Billy started on a sigh, “I don’t care what you do on your own time. Really I don’t, but for my own protection I may have to have every haole you sleep with sign a release form first.”
Nick glanced aft at the same moment Pam sprang up out of the water, ripped off her mask, and flailed about gasping for air. Dropping his phone, he leaped across the deck and dove into the water just as she sank out of sight. Shit. Where the fuck was her dive buddy? Where was Jonathan?
Almost out of breath, he managed to catch hold of Pam before she sank any farther. Already kicking toward the boat, he slipped his arm around her waist. The lady was dead weight. Shit. Above water, tilting her head back, he blew air into the lifeless woman every few seconds. He’d barely climbed on board, dragging Pam up beside him, when Jonathan finally surfaced.
“What the fuck happened?” He didn’t wait for Jonathan’s response. Moving at high speed, Nick slid off her tank, removed the BCD he’d inflated to keep her afloat, and laying her flat on her back, started mouth-to-mouth.
Somewhere in the distance he could hear Jonathan on the radio calling for help. The murmur of the other divers climbing aboard was followed by anxious voices jumbled together: knocked out regulator, panicked, came up too fast, newbie mistake. Nick paused to check Pam’s status. Still nothing. Fuck.
He switched to chest compressions, slid her onto her side a moment and, when nothing happened, went back to mouth-to-mouth. He was still doing CPR with no reaction from Pam when the last of the divers climbed aboard. The engine roared to full throttle, and Jonathan steered them back to the dock.
Come on, God. She’s a good sport. Help me out here. Another forced breath and her chest bucked. In an instant Nick rolled her on her side again, and she coughed up a lungful of seawater. Applause exploded in the background. The bleached blonde sprang between them, hugging Pam and crying like a baby. “It’s all my fault. I’m so sorry.”
Adrenaline still coursing through his veins, Nick took a deep breath and reached for the O2 kit Jonathan had set at his side.
Still smothered in the blonde’s strangling embrace, Pam only managed to blink when Nick settled the oxygen mask over her nose and mouth. “Take it easy,” he whispered before reaching the seat where someone had put his phone. He lifted it to his ear, his gaze drilled on the petite woman rocking in her friend’s embrace. “You still there?”
“I’m here. What the hell is going on?”
“Nothing much. Had to help one of the divers out of the water.”
Billy hesitated a minute. “She okay?”
“Looks like it.” His heart was still slamming into his ribs in triple time. “I’ll fill you in as soon as I can get back to the office.”
“Just make sure you call this lawyer lady. And, Nick?”
The sirens at the dock blared in the near distance. With a truckload of required paperwork, he wouldn’t be getting to the office anytime soon. “Yeah.”
“The lawyer lady. She’s calling from area code 432. Isn’t that Texas?”
“Mmm.” It had been a very long time since anyone who cared about him lived in West Texas. Except maybe one, and she wasn’t a lawyer.
A native New Yorker, USA TODAY Bestselling author Chris Keniston was on her way to Australia when she fell in love with North Texas. Little did she know the balmy seventy-degree October days would turn into fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk heat in August!
Twenty years later, she started scribbling short stories about her favorite TV show characters, giving them lives more to her liking—as well as the elusive happy ending. Not long after, a dear friend dragged her to a local writers meeting. After winning multiple writing contests and making the finals in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest, she now spends her days and nights writing contemporary romantic fiction with lots of emotion, plenty of surprises, and, of course, the happily ever after.