Author: Claire Hastings
Series: Indigo Royal Resort #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 24, 2020
Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the author, through Give Me Books Promotions, in exchange for an honest review and promotion. Claire and I are friends but that in no way impacted my review, rating or support of this book.
Leona Filipe loves her job. As the head of housekeeping at the luxurious Indigo Royal Resort on St. Thomas, USVI, she has seen it all and has the wild stories to prove it. She works with her best friends, is close enough to see her family often, and has the perfect friends-with-benefits relationship. Life is pretty damn amazing. Except for the two weeks each year that Cullen Cruz stays at the resort. He is the only man who can get under her skin. But that is all he’s getting under. She made that mistake years ago, and it will never happen again.
Fresh off the news of his “retirement” from football, Cullen Cruz cannot wait to get to the Indigo Royal for his annual retreat before returning to England to figure out what’s next. Only this year, it’s been turned into a “working vacation” by his agent, who volunteered Cullen to run a skills camp for local kids. While that wouldn’t normally sit well, extending the trip to teach some kids how to kick a ball does mean two more weeks getting to see the woman he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about since their first, and last, encounter ten years ago.
When fate forces these two to confront what happened between them that night all those years ago, they find that there is more to each other than they realized, and that maybe they don’t annoy each other as much as they thought…
Having first met Leona in Can’t Fight This Feeling and loving the her not only for her loyalty and friendship to Drea, but also for her spitfire attitude and sass. Needless to say when I found out that Leona would be the focus of Caught Up In You I jumped at the chance to read the book early and be able to review it.
As with Claire’s previous book, once I started reading Leona and Cullen’s story, I had a hard time putting it down. Sadly, because I read this as an e-arc, I inevitably had to put the book down to allow for my e-reader to recharge, but that didn’t stop me from staying up late into the night in order to finish the book.
"Menina..." That word. That one little word sent chills down Leona's spine and made her blood boil at the same time. She hated that word. Hated the sound of it, hated its meaning, hated how it made her feel. Yet that man insisted on calling her that every time he saw her. "It's Leona," she calmly reminded him. She felt anything but calm looking at him right now, but she was not going to let that be seen. "Lee-O-na." "Menina," he repeated. Okay, now he was just trying to piss her off. Bastard...
Reading this interaction between Cullen and Leona when he first arrives at the resort, I couldn’t help but snicker at how Cullen managed to get under her skin with this one word, and how easy Leona made it for him to do. Their constant banter back and forth was like watching a tennis match between two long time rivals who finally are made to confront all of their issues and preconceived notions about one another.
Of all of the interactions the two have, my favorite moments were their interactions with members of Leona’s family. When Cullen ends up with an invite to dinner at Leona’s parent’s house, courtesy of her younger brother Josef, it was nice both for the reader and Cullen to be afforded a look into where Leona came from and how important her family is to her. I loved Leona’s mom and how because she could sense there was something between Leona and Cullen, she immediately went into Mama Bear mode with her questions of Cullen and trying to determine the kind of man he is and whether or not he was deserving of her daughter. For Cullen, his interaction with Leona’s family not only allows for him to start seeing Leona in a different light, but it also serves as a vivid reminder of his own childhood and up-bringing.
Thanks to Leona’s mom, Cullen comes to realize that he hasn’t been entirely fair in his treatment towards her and that if they’re to have any chance, he needs to open up and share the most intimate and carefully guarded secrets of himself. Likewise, after listening to her mom’s advice, Leona slowly begins to see that all the animosity she’s been carrying around with her since their first encounter when she was 17 and she lost her virginity to him, has largely been misplaced. It’s through sharing their stories and discovering how much they have in common that the two come to realize they have far more in common than previously thought.
While I loved Drea and Kyle’s relationship in the first book, I found that I could relate to this story and especially Leona more. The enemies to lovers trope is one that I’m more familiar with having experienced versions of it myself, although none were as successful in the end as Leona and Cullen’s. I found that I could also relate to the fact that once Leona lets you into her life she will love you fiercely and do what she can to protect you, both within her family and with her friends.
The other aspect of this book I was able to relate to, and thoroughly enjoyed, was all of the talk surrounding football (soccer for those who immediately think of the NFL when they hear or see the word). I myself played goalie on the women’s football team at Uni in England, so all of the lingo and the different drills Cullen puts the youth through made for a nice bit of reminiscing on my own football days.
I’m happy that Claire’s sophomore book did not disappoint, especially considering that I felt that she hit it out of the park with her first book. I love the characters she’s created, both old and new alike, and cannot wait to see what’s to come in the next book, What I Like About You which comes out January 25, 2021.
If you loved the first book in this new series, then be sure to pick up a copy of Caught Up In You, available now and Free in Kindle Unlimited.
About the Author
Claire Hastings is a walking, talking awkward moment. She loves Diet Coke, gummi bears, the beach, and books (obvs). When not reading she can usually be found hanging with friends at a soccer match or grabbing food (although she probably still has a book in her purse). She and her husband live in Atlanta with their fur-child Denali.
She can be found across the internet at: