How Sweet It Is
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2011
Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"—high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!
Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance—no strings attached.
Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.
Lizzie Carpenter’s just gotten a letter from Ethan, the father of her 14-year-old daughter – the man she hasn’t heard from in 15 years. He’s decided it’s time for him to meet his daughter, and he wants to come on Christmas Day. Lizzie doesn’t know what to do; on one hand, Paige should meet her father. On the other hand, does he deserve to meet Paige after so much time has passed? So she takes the letter to work with her and discusses the situation with her “Enemy Club” – Lizzie and three other women who hated each other in high school and are now…friends who tell each other the truth – always.
Paige is delighted that her father is coming. The letter is postmarked from Geneva, so she’s sure he’ll take her back with him so she can work on her snowboarding there. She wants to be a professional snowboarder, and is dreaming that he’s come to take her away from the small town of Galton. Lizzie is stuck trying to be supportive of the fact that he’s coming, while trying not to get Paige’s expectations up. Paige accuses her of trying to keep Ethan from being interested in Paige by living in a shabby house. Lizzie knows she’s let things go, but doesn’t know how to fix it all.
Tay Giovanni is in the diner when he overhears Lizzie’s wish for a man to help fix up the house. Tay is passing through town on his own mission: A year ago, he accidentally hit and killed a woman in an automobile accident. Although it was declared an accident and he was not punished, he can’t get over it. He sold his possessions and tries to do good works. His final act of kindness is to give all his money to the woman’s daughter, Candy, who is going to college in Galton. Things don’t end up like he anticipated, and he ends up spending some time in town, where he decides to fix Lizzie’s fence.
From there, all sorts of things happen all at once: We meet Lizzie’s sister Annie and her husband Tommy, who have their own set of problems, Lizzie and Tay begin a romance, there’s a secret inside The Enemy Club, and Paige takes matters into her own hands.
How Sweet It Is is a bittersweet, multilayered Contemporary Romance. I liked Lizzie and understood her reluctance to accept Tay’s help in an effort to teach her daughter not to depend on men, but it was still a bit frustrating to read over and over her refusal of help. The interaction between Lizzie and Paige was soooo true-to-life. As the mother of a teenager, I can attest to that, lol. Tay was definitely an anti-hero, and his self-flagellation made me crazy! And while the romance was sweet, it felt a bit rushed – the sex scenes were each about two paragraphs long. I also thought the ending was a bit of a stretch with the mystery being solved in an unbelievable way.
How Sweet It Is is the first book in the Enemy Club series.