Ugly Ducklings Finish First – Stacy Gail – 4 stars

August 4, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Ugly Ducklings Finish First – Stacy Gail – 4 starsUgly Ducklings Finish First Published by Carina Press on August 5, 2013
Format: eBook
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Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. Dr. Payton Pruitt heard it all growing up. But she's over it, and attending her ten-year high school reunion is the perfect way to prove it to herself. Even if there's only one person she's interested in seeing in Bitterthorn, Texas: Wiley Sharpe.

Now a respected lawyer, Wiley didn't live down to the label Most Likely to Be Slapped with a Paternity Suit. But recent acts of vandalism suggest someone still sees him as a heartbreaker, and the reunion seems a likely place to find the culprit. Instead, Wiley comes face-to-face with his old pal Payton—and is wowed not only by her transformation into a ravishing swan, but by the connection they still share.

Payton is pleased the playboy she used to tutor has grown into an honorable man, but she's too smart to fall for a guy with roots in a place she couldn't wait to leave. But while Payton is an academic genius, Wiley is the one with the PhD in pleasure, and he intends to use it to convince her to stay…

63,000 words

My Thoughts:

Ummm Stacy…  sweetie…  You can breathe again!  You gave me another fun story with two people who are truly meant to be together even with their different backgrounds.  I adored the two of them even when I wanted to yell at the heroine to see him for who he is now not the legend.

Payton didn’t have the best childhood with her mom and dad.  She was definitely a daddy’s girl and when he died the last thing tying her to her hometown was gone.  She’s made a life for herself as a successful pediatrician in Houston but decided to come home for her high school reunion in order to put the ghosts to rest.  Instead we get to see her really take stock of her life and start to want more than what the logical side of her is willing to contemplate she could have.  I liked her ability to see Wiley in a different light from everyone else in most respects but honestly got frustrated with her putting him in the same box as others do when it came to his ability to love.  She tended to judge people fairly quickly which did make sense after what she dealt with growing up but admittedly it did get me a little frustrated.

Wiley was something else.  He really wants to put the high school reputation to rest but when you live in a small town nothing is ever forgotten.  Does he like women?  Yes.  I appreciated that he owned up to his reputation but I also felt that he tended to take too much on the chin and not speak up at how much it was getting to him to those who kept bringing it up.  He’s a great guy and when he realizes who the beautiful woman is at the reunion he just can’t help but want to get to know the grown-up version of the only female outside of family that really got him.  He truly did see behind her mask in high school and when he realized that he hurt her by his teenage behavior he apologized and owned up to it.

Their relationship is quick, hot and filled with a bit of angst as they both realize that they have something special that might be worth holding on to.  I’d love a chance to see them in a few years just to see how things are going so if Stacy wants to write more about Bitterthorn I’d be happy to read it.

Thanks to and Carina Press for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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