Title: Lay It Down
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 126 Pages
At a Glance: If you love a quick read with a bit of fun and some ooey-gooey love-at-first-sight, you just might eat this up!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Paradise can be hell.
Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.
Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.
Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.
Review: I totally want to go to Ibiza now. End review.
Haha. I kid…I kid. *whispers* Though, I totally do want to go to Ibiza.
Lay It Down was a mixed bag for me. There were things I liked—things that were classic Mary Calmes that made me smile or swoon. And then there were things that unfortunately just didn’t work for me as well. Honestly, I think the story was simply too short. With something like twenty previously published novellas and short stories under her belt, she really is a master at books this length, and I’ve personally adored every one that I’ve read up until now. But, this one definitely needed fleshing out in some areas.
The story starts off with a bang. We’ve got American tourist, Hudson Barber (I love that name), a Spanish villa on the oh-so-beautiful Mediterranean island of Ibiza, and absentee wealthy businessman, Miguel Garcia Arquero. We’re immediately dropped into the thick of things—with Hudson waking up to arguing outside the bedroom window, and being mistaken by the villa’s staff as his brother Dalvon. The ball gets rolling from there. I usually like the way Calmes likes to jump right into her stories, but this one had me scrambling a little bit at first to wrap my head around what was going on.
I liked Hudson a lot. He was fun, and sharp, and seemed like a genuinely caring person. He was great at reading people, and I loved how he just sort of got them right away. I didn’t find it incredibly realistic that he walked into three failing businesses and basically fixed them each in one day…BUT, he is very intelligent, and great at working with people, so it was no surprise that after a few months he had things running smoothly. And, I also liked what he was able to work out with his graduate program in order to earn credits for his MBA while in Ibiza.
After Hudson has been on Ibiza for about four months, Miguel arrives on the scene. I would have liked it much better if Miguel had made his appearance in the book sooner. Miguel is a good guy. I liked him. And, ultimately I liked him and Hudson together. But, as it was, with him showing up so late, the romance was just so, so rushed and insta-lovey.
That being said…these guys really were sweet together. I liked how Miguel really saw Hudson and made it clear that he intended to keep him, which Hudson needed so badly. I think it’s no secret that Mary Calmes can write shmoop like nobody’s business, and she definitely did that here. This bit made me melt:
Mi vida. My life. I liked that one the best, and damn, he wasn’t playing fair. I was a sucker for all the pet names he used. They sounded so real when he said them because of the way his voice deepened, rumbled, dredging the words up from his soul, where his love for me lived.
Your love for me lives in your soul????? Swooooooooooooon.
I’m gonna leave it there. There was good: supporting cast was fun as always; fabulous descriptions of the digs and the eats; and some funny, romantic banter and a fair amount of swoon. Annnd, there was not so good: Dalvon; all the rushing leading to some contrived plot points that required a bit too much suspension of disbelief at the end. Like I said, a bit of a mixed bag. But, if you love a quick read with a bit of fun and some ooey-gooey love-at-first-sight, you just might eat this up!
You can buy Lay It Down here: