Title: The Girl Next Door
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Length: approx. 60,000 words / 272 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On-Sale: May 26, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback
Price: $14.99 U.S.
Book Description: New York Times bestselling author Chelsea M. Cameron is back with the opposites-attract, sweet-and-sexy small-town romance you’ve been waiting for.
Iris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.
No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.
A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.
That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
I love Maine. I spent four summers at a camp in Maine, and now my kids go to camp in Maine too. Camp has been cancelled due to the pandemic, so this book has been the next best thing to actually going to Maine.
Iris has returned to Salty Cove because things didn’t work out for her in Boston.
Jude is also back in Salty Cove and has purchased a boat and taken up lobstering, even though her family has never been in the business before.
Iris and Jude have always lived next door to each other, but they were never close friends because Jude is a few years older.
They strike up a friendship, and there are several moments when Iris thinks that something is about to happen between them, but Jude has built up so many walls and is reluctant to let anybody in.
This book was the ultimate slow burn. It took over 60% of the book for Iris and Jude to finally kiss and from there, they progressed to love and commitment rather quickly. This fast pace didn’t bother me at all because Iris and Jude had spent so much time connecting on an emotional level, so it made sense for love to come quickly. Speaking of which, Iris and Jude had amazing chemistry.
Much of the book is devoted to each of the women figuring out what they want out of life. Iris is not happy about having to come back home and get a job at the seafood restaurant she worked at as a teen, but she’s able to find new purpose when Jude points out that Iris could get paid for something that she (Iris) sees as a hobby.
Likewise, Jude is trying to sort out what she wants out of life. Lobstering has never been a dream job, but it has been something to keep her occupied during the day. Because this is a dual point of view narrative, the reader also has some clues as to her reluctance to start a new relationship.
The two protagonists are supported by a small cast of secondary characters, including Iris’ parents, but the one who really stole the show was Iris’ dog Dolly Parton, whose habit of wandering over to Jude’s house always gave Iris an excuse to visit Jude.
I would absolutely recommend Girl Next Door. This book was sweet and tender and made me laugh so many times. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Cameron in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.
My parents and I hadn’t really talked about what happened and why I was back, mostly because it wasn’t for just one reason. There were many reasons, all culminating with me packing my shit in my car, loading up my dog, abandoning my friends, and driving back here.
I asked Mom if there was any ice cream in the freezer and she said that there was. While I was getting a spoon, I glanced out the window, which happened to look right into our neighbor’s living room.
The lights were on and she stood in the living room wearing nothing but a sports bra and some athletic shorts. The spoon I’d just grabbed clattered on the floor. As I stood up from retrieving the spoon, I found her staring directly at me. Instead of looking away like a normal person, I stared back.
Her hair had been long in high school and her arms hadn’t been so…sculpted back then. At least not that I remembered. My mouth went dry and I held on to the spoon for dear life.
“What are you looking at?” a voice said behind me and I shrieked and dropped the spoon again. I turned around and found my mom leaning over my shoulder to see what I’d been staring at.
“Oh, nothing, just staring off into space.” I rushed with my spoon and the ice cream back into the living room. My parents kept the room dark and the only light was from my dad’s lamp and the TV, so I could hide in a corner with my lobster-red face.
What had come over me? I’d just stood there leering like a fucking creeper. Part of me expected a knock at the door and for her to storm in and ask what I’d been staring at.
That didn’t happen, but it didn’t stop me from looking up from my book every few minutes to check and make sure.
Before bed, I took Dolly out to do her business and my eyes kept flicking over to the house. The lights were still on, but I wasn’t going to stare this time. I hadn’t asked for more information from my mom about Jude, but I did wonder what she was doing back here. She’d hated this town, from what I remembered, so it couldn’t just be because of her parents’ house.
High school in a small town in Maine was brutal for anyone who didn’t conform, and Jude had been adamant about not conforming. I’d done my best to get through, and the drama club had been my safe haven. I’d never thought seriously about acting after high school, since that was way out of my league, but I still thought about it every now and then. There was a community theater group a few towns away. Could I put myself out there and get into it again?
Dolly was taking her sweet time, sniffing the bushes at the edge of the porch to find the right one to pee near. I jumped as I heard a door slam, the door to the neighbor’s house.
I froze with my back to the house, pretending I wasn’t completely aware of what was happening. Was she leaving again on that motorcycle? Where would she go tonight? The only bar in town closed in less than an hour, and there was nothing else open. Unless she might be going to a friend’s house for a party?
Or perhaps she was going to the beach for a midnight swim. I shivered at the thought of Jude slipping beneath the waves like a mermaid.
Copyright © 2020 by Chelsea M. Cameron
About the Author
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader, and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is. Visit her at www.chelseamcameron.com.
Connect with Chelsea M. Cameron
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
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