Kindergarten teacher, Violet Caruthers finds herself stranded in the middle of Lake Erie when her absent-minded boyfriend motors away on his fishing boat, never noticing she accidentally fell off. While struggling to tread water and hoping he'll return, she realizes this relationship isn't going to work. That thought leaves her seriously disillusioned, because she wants more than anything to be a mother and had been hoping he'd agree to get her pregnant. Thankfully, she's rescued by a gorgeous sailor, but the slightly geeky, painfully shy Violet feels very self-conscious in the presence of such an unbelievably hot guy. On the long sail back to shore, she opens up to him about her disappointment, and when he offers to father the baby she wants so badly, Violet is stunned.
It's Dylan Diaz's birthday, but he's not feeling like celebrating. He's a famous baseball player, has lots of money and a great family, yet he feels like something is missing in his life. Women regularly throw themselves at him, but he wants more than a string of one-night stands. When he pulls the exhausted Violet out of the water, her luscious body wreaks havoc on his own after a year-long self-imposed celibacy. When he realizes she's nothing like the women who usually hang around him, and most of all, that she wants nothing from him, she becomes even more attractive. He can't help feeling a bit protective toward her and wanting to give this sweet woman her heart's desire. When he offers to father her baby, Violet thinks he means doing it in a clinic, but Dylan has something more personal and hands-on in mind. He wants to show her everything she's been missing in bed and then some, but how can he convince her to give him more than one night when Violet thinks all she wants is a sperm donor?
The Lady of the Lake is the third novella in Erin McCarthy's Bowling Friends series. It pairs the geeky Violet with hot, sexy baseball player, Dylan. The two meet when he rescues her from where she's treading water in the middle of Lake Erie after accidentally falling off her boyfriend's fishing boat. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is even geekier than she is and got so wrapped up in fishing and chatting with his friends that he didn't even notice she was missing. Enter Dylan, who becomes Violet's knight in shining armor. Of course, being saved by a hot guy is great, but Violet is painfully shy and self-conscious about her body. She's a very sweet heroine, and when Dylan starts hitting on her, she can't believe that someone like him would want someone like her. Aside from her overly endowed chest, which she's spent most of her life trying to hide, she thinks of herself as pretty ordinary right down to even wearing glasses. She's basically a prim librarian in a stripper's body. When Dylan finds Violet, she's extremely upset and disappointed, not just because she realized she's so unnoticeable that her boyfriend left her in the middle of a lake, but also because she wants more than anything to have a baby and was counting on his sperm to accomplish that. Violet's self-consciousness is very endearing and relatable. She's also very sympathetic, because she has no idea why her girlfriends go on and on about how great sex is. She doesn't even like sex, because it's never been good for her, not that she's the type to sleep around though. Overall, I really liked Violet a lot, and was pleased to find that I correctly predicted that she would be my favorite heroine of the series (thus far anyway).
Dylan is a sweetheart too. The day they meet is his birthday, but he's not feeling very celebratory. Most of his adult life, women have thrown themselves at his feet, but that's not what he truly wants. He's spent the last year celibate, simply because he realized that his sexual encounters had turned into nothing more than two bodies joining together with no feelings attached. He longs for someone who wants him and loves him for himself and not just for his money, or prestige, or for the bragging rights of having had sex with a celebrity. When he realizes how sweet and innocent Violet is, and most of all, that she doesn't want anything from him like most women do, it makes her incredibly attractive to him, so much so that he impulsively offers to father the baby she so desperately wants. I admit that it takes some suspension of disbelief to buy into the idea of two strangers agreeing to make a baby together the same day they meet, but this story was very light-hearted which made it easier to not take it too seriously. Also, it's definitely all about the fantasy, and what girl who's a plain Jane geek wouldn't want a hot guy to give her all his attention and show her exactly what she's been missing in bed. I also loved that Dylan wasn't satisfied with just making a baby, he wanted to be there for Violet and make a commitment to her, regardless of whether he got her pregnant or not.
Kindra, Ashley and Trish, all three of Violet's best friends, along with Mack and Luke, the heroes from the first two novellas were there for Violet as she awaited the results of her pregnancy test. I was a little disappointed with what Trish pushed Violet to do toward afterward, but at least, Violet realized it wasn't the right thing and admitted it to Dylan. I suppose in her defense though, Trish thought she was just looking out for her friend's best interests, so hopefully, her actions won't taint my reading of her novella ("It's about Time" from Bad Boys of Summer) which is the next and final one in the series.
Usually lack of believability in any romance is a downside for me, but The Lady of the Lake ended up being a really good read. I liked and related to Violet so much and loved that Dylan treated her with such care, it would have been impossible for me not to have fun while reading it. Not to mention, it was off the charts hot without quite stepping over the line into erotica. Overall, it was another great novella in this, so far, very enjoyable and steamy series. The Lady of the Lake can be found in the anthology When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys.
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