Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway
HQN • $7.99 • ISBN 9780373777402
Published January 29, 2013

If the name "Christie Ridgway" looks especially familiar, that's because you see it in the pages of BookPage every month: Christie is our own romance columnist! So it was a special treat when I started reading her new trilogy and realized how great it is. If you like sexy contemporary romance novels with a sunny California setting, then these books are for you. Book #1, Beach House No. 9, is on sale now.

I interviewed Christie for the February issue of BookPage, and you can read that conversation here. It was fascinating to hear how the veteran romance author creates chemistry between her characters, and her description of the real-life Crystal Cove (which inspired her trilogy's setting) made me want to book a flight to California.

Beach House No. 9 is about book doctor Jane, a woman who is hired to work with war journalist Griffin on his memoir. Naturally, things don't go exactly as planned. Griffin can't seem to buckle down and write, and then there's the matter of the two of them falling in love . . .

Here's an early scene, after Jane moves into the guest room at Beach House No. 9 to keep a close eye on Griffin's work. This is early in the novel, but you can already see that she's having an affect on him:

Griffin propped his feet on the rail at Captain Crow's and sipped from the cardboard cup in his hand. The restaurant didn't serve breakfast, but the prep cook made a pot of coffee in the mornings, and this morning Griffin had made friends with the prep book. The guy had left for an emergency onion run, giving Griffin privacy and a place to start the day away from the eagle eye of the little dictator.

He still clung to his one and only plan in regards to Jane: avoid her as much as possible—and completely avoid what she wanted him to do.

After moving in two days before, she'd kept mostly to the guest room she'd selected. Though he'd continued blasting music through his earbuds, her close proximity seemed to punch through the wall of sound. He'd felt her presence, the capable and unwavering energy she exuded, despite the beams and plaster between them. She'd brought into his house a new scent too, a light and feminine fragrance that somehow pierced the Pacific's own salty-green perfume.

At dinner that first night, while he'd manned the barbecue and stayed out of range of the conversation between her, his family and Old Man Monroe as much as possible, he'd still been able to chronicle the effect she had on them. She'd managed to surprise a laugh out of his sister, unearth a set of jacks to amuse his nephews, put a book in the hands of his sulking niece and send their elderly neighbor home with a smile after a short stint holding the sleeping baby.

If he didn't keep up his guard, damn it, he had good reason to fear she'd manage to make him start the memoir.

He wasn't ready.

What are you reading today? Will you check out Ridgway's Beach House books?

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