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Leaving Normal [Audiobook]

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Shake it up a little! With the ink dry on her divorce papers, Natalie Goodwin feels life is running just the way she wants it. Her new flower shop is set for its grand opening, and her daughter is enjoying her first semester in college. The house is clean, the bills are paid and cooking dinner every night is now an option. Natalie admits she's just a teeny bit lonely, but r Shake it up a little! With the ink dry on her divorce papers, Natalie Goodwin feels life is running just the way she wants it. Her new flower shop is set for its grand opening, and her daughter is enjoying her first semester in college. The house is clean, the bills are paid and cooking dinner every night is now an option. Natalie admits she's just a teeny bit lonely, but recent dating experiences have left her convinced that Mr. Right does not live in Boise, Idaho. But life has a big surprise for Natalie and he lives right across the street! Never in her wildest dreams did she think she could fall for a man nine years her junior, but then she has never met a man like firefighter Tony Cruz. Now the sparks are flying, but will they light Natalie's fire...or land her newfound independence in hot water?


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Shake it up a little! With the ink dry on her divorce papers, Natalie Goodwin feels life is running just the way she wants it. Her new flower shop is set for its grand opening, and her daughter is enjoying her first semester in college. The house is clean, the bills are paid and cooking dinner every night is now an option. Natalie admits she's just a teeny bit lonely, but r Shake it up a little! With the ink dry on her divorce papers, Natalie Goodwin feels life is running just the way she wants it. Her new flower shop is set for its grand opening, and her daughter is enjoying her first semester in college. The house is clean, the bills are paid and cooking dinner every night is now an option. Natalie admits she's just a teeny bit lonely, but recent dating experiences have left her convinced that Mr. Right does not live in Boise, Idaho. But life has a big surprise for Natalie and he lives right across the street! Never in her wildest dreams did she think she could fall for a man nine years her junior, but then she has never met a man like firefighter Tony Cruz. Now the sparks are flying, but will they light Natalie's fire...or land her newfound independence in hot water?

30 review for Leaving Normal [Audiobook]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rossy

    Ah Tony, how i love thee! While Natalie was not a bad heroine, it was Tony who made this book perfect for me. I was a little taken at back when i started reading the story and we find out Tony is married with a child. I took it in strides though trying to figure out where the author was going with this, and am glad i did. We begin to learn the reasons why he's married and how much he loves his step daughter. I was moved by how hard he was trying in his relationship, how dedicated he was to stay t Ah Tony, how i love thee! While Natalie was not a bad heroine, it was Tony who made this book perfect for me. I was a little taken at back when i started reading the story and we find out Tony is married with a child. I took it in strides though trying to figure out where the author was going with this, and am glad i did. We begin to learn the reasons why he's married and how much he loves his step daughter. I was moved by how hard he was trying in his relationship, how dedicated he was to stay true to the person he married and how he didn't care one little bit that the child was not his by blood. It was a bit heartbreaking to see him struggle through the separation. I liked how he understood that his pain came more from the loss of a family and his step daughter than his wife. He was not blinded and he made no excuses for his own mistakes in the relationship. *sigh* The man is just totally fantastic with his drool worthy body, unconceited attitude, friendliness and bravery. His romanticism and attentiveness was like a cherry on top, i swear he made me want to go to every fire station to see if i could find me one just like him. :laughs: Ah yes, the heroine was also a great person. Though i thought it was quite ridiculous that she didn't just grab Tony with both hands from the very beginning. I understood that due to her past relationship experiences; and the age gap it was hard for her to adjust and just let go. I was glad she finally saw the light towards the end. That epilogue was truly sigh worthy, it had me smiling like a loon. I'm not sure about the author's earlier works but so far the books i've read i have not been disappointed. I will be buying her next book for sure!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    2* first half 4* second half C+/B- overall *****Possible spoilers ahead!***** The first half of Leaving Normal is women's fiction with a few hot fireman sightings. The second half of the book is a more typical hot-fireman-romance, although this fireman is a beta instead of an alpha. I have to admit to enjoying the second half of the book much more than the first. I wasn't really excited about Natalie's ups-and-downs with business or her botched date (the weird date added nothing to the story). Since 2* first half 4* second half C+/B- overall *****Possible spoilers ahead!***** The first half of Leaving Normal is women's fiction with a few hot fireman sightings. The second half of the book is a more typical hot-fireman-romance, although this fireman is a beta instead of an alpha. I have to admit to enjoying the second half of the book much more than the first. I wasn't really excited about Natalie's ups-and-downs with business or her botched date (the weird date added nothing to the story). Since I didn't find her a sympathetic character (see below), I wasn't as moved about the health scare as the author might have hoped. The book starts off on the wrong foot for me when the main reason given for Natalie's divorce two years earlier was that her husband was unexciting. As the book progresses the author includes little snippets about how Natalie had "lived without love" in her marriage, but honestly, the fact that she got bored is the only real reason given. I was also disappointed that while the character of Natalie is careful to say it wasn't her husband's fault, the author continues to throw subtle and not so subtle barbs at the ex, such as he's balding and boring, and Natalie is so hot and exciting. Why do this? If you want to give Natalie a reason for a divorce, then make a good reason the readers can accept and get beyond, instead of something as nebulous as "vaguely dissatisfied." If the main character had been a woman whose husband had left her after 21 years of marriage because she wasn't exciting or pretty anymore, the readers would be full of sympathy and outrage, especially if the husband had gone on to marry a really hot swimsuit model or something. That one fact colored my opinion of Natalie for the whole book. My first impression is she's shallow and self-centered (breaking apart a marriage while her daughter is a junior in high school). Tony's character was much more interesting to me. His loyalty and his compassion. I do wish the author hadn't made him so unbelievably handsome. Good looking is one thing, but drop-dead gorgeous seems unnecessary and less believable. I also thought the fact that Natalie didn't look her age and was so beautiful was also too bad, since it felt like the author was trying to rationalize Tony's attraction to Natalie (given their age difference). If Natalie had been a "normal" looking 43 yr old, would Tony have been attracted? Was it only because she didn't look her age? If you're going to do the December-May romance, then be brave and do it! Don't back-pedal with, "See, it's believable because she doesn't look 9 years older!" But...while I had to suspend disbelief somewhat to accept Tony was attracted to Natalie, I will say the romance in the second half of the book was sweet and moving, and the love scenes very well written.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    What a mess! The heroine is bored with her married life, so she divorces her husband. She begins an affair with her younger, hot fireman neighbor. Then, for the rest of the book, the heroine complains about the HUGE age difference of a whopping NINE years. Oh, my! Gasp!! Then, you can throw in completely unnecessary secondary romances involving all her other relatives into the pile of mess. Finally, top this mess with the cherry of a medical scare. Just awful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jane Bolan

    I liked Tony and Natalie was a decent character but she was so very timid. That got old quickly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    I hate giving less than stellar reviews but this book dragged for me from the first chapter. The relationship between these characters is very drawn out. Very frustratingly so, in my opinion. This book needed an editor. I didn't need to read about the teddy bear and flower arrangements in every room in her shop. While I liked most of the characters, it felt like the author was more interested in describing every moment of a "year in the life" of every character, than moving the story forward but I hate giving less than stellar reviews but this book dragged for me from the first chapter. The relationship between these characters is very drawn out. Very frustratingly so, in my opinion. This book needed an editor. I didn't need to read about the teddy bear and flower arrangements in every room in her shop. While I liked most of the characters, it felt like the author was more interested in describing every moment of a "year in the life" of every character, than moving the story forward but when it did, it was in leaps. You knew about every moment of every day then all of a sudden weeks would have passed. The hero was still married to someone else when this book began, which should have been a warning that this book was going to be slow. I did like the ending, although it felt rushed after the author had taken everything else so slowly. What should have been more closure, was in fact an epilogue several years later and the HEA. I just didn't connect with this author's style. I won't be reading anything more by Stef Ann Holm.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    I really enjoyed this story. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Natalie Goodwin thinks she has everything she needs in life as she opens up her florist shop in Boise, Idaho. She is single again after divorcing her husband, and her daughter has started her first year of college in Chicago. So she is proud of her florist shop. After all, she dropped out of college for marriage and family. As she starts living life on her own terms, however, Natalie discovers that she is a bit lonely, but the dating scene turns o I really enjoyed this story. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Natalie Goodwin thinks she has everything she needs in life as she opens up her florist shop in Boise, Idaho. She is single again after divorcing her husband, and her daughter has started her first year of college in Chicago. So she is proud of her florist shop. After all, she dropped out of college for marriage and family. As she starts living life on her own terms, however, Natalie discovers that she is a bit lonely, but the dating scene turns out to be a disaster. The only man who interests Natalie is her neighbor, Tony Cruz, a hunk featured on the firefighter's calendar. But he is nine years younger than Natalie, so she believes they're destined for friendship until Tony sets out to prove her wrong. Holm's delightful romance not only shows that that you are never too young or too old for romance, it also celebrates the firefighting profession and the tremendous sacrifices firefighters make.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I have to say I didn't enjoy this book. The main character internalized and over-thought things far too much (even more than I do!) I caught myself rolling my eyes multiple times while listening to this book; the plot progression and relationship development just didn't gel for me. I'm sure others enjoyed it, but it didn't do anything for me. An additional distraction was the narrator - she read sooooo slooooooow, and portrayed little variation between character voices. I have to say I didn't enjoy this book. The main character internalized and over-thought things far too much (even more than I do!) I caught myself rolling my eyes multiple times while listening to this book; the plot progression and relationship development just didn't gel for me. I'm sure others enjoyed it, but it didn't do anything for me. An additional distraction was the narrator - she read sooooo slooooooow, and portrayed little variation between character voices.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    DNF @ 39% The story line was too slow to keep my interest. I skimmed several pages just to get as far as I did. :( Disappointed because I was really looking forward to a Hot Firefighter romance.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shatire

    Ok, but Nathalie made this a struggle to read. She's overthinks everything and is incredibly judgmental. Every character is introduced by their full name even though we met them several chapters ago. Unnecessary details, constantly being reminded of the age gap, Nat's back and forth, and the constant reminder of how big, strong, muscular (and any other synonym for those words) Troy is made this a LONG read. We get it, he has a sexy mile and is built like a tank. I don't need to be reminded every Ok, but Nathalie made this a struggle to read. She's overthinks everything and is incredibly judgmental. Every character is introduced by their full name even though we met them several chapters ago. Unnecessary details, constantly being reminded of the age gap, Nat's back and forth, and the constant reminder of how big, strong, muscular (and any other synonym for those words) Troy is made this a LONG read. We get it, he has a sexy mile and is built like a tank. I don't need to be reminded every chapter. Troy was the best part, and probably the only part I liked. I knew what he wanted, had faith things would work in favor, and fought had for what he wanted in life. I love and respect that. The author should cut out some filler, I'm sure it would help the pace and quality of the story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamoz23

    Too drawn out and angsty for me to enjoy. Not keen on Natalie and her nebulous reason for divorcing her husband. She also carried on too much about the age difference. it was hardly a huge gap, ( years). Liked Tony and thought he seemed to be a decent chap who at least tried hard to save his marriage for his stepdaughters sake. Could have been so much better if about a third of the book was cleared of all the trivial information in it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really wasn't interested in the plot of Natalie and Tony. I felt like the plot was kind of weird and predictable. The subplot of Natalie's father, though, I found hysterical. I REALLY like his character as well as the character of Iris. I wish the entire book would have been about them. Their personalities were less cookie cutter and more interesting than that of the main characters. I really wasn't interested in the plot of Natalie and Tony. I felt like the plot was kind of weird and predictable. The subplot of Natalie's father, though, I found hysterical. I REALLY like his character as well as the character of Iris. I wish the entire book would have been about them. Their personalities were less cookie cutter and more interesting than that of the main characters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda Carroll-Bradd

    Fun and engaging story of a woman finding her stride after a divorce and empty nest and a man who has just discovered what he wants...even if she's not interested in falling in love. Fun and engaging story of a woman finding her stride after a divorce and empty nest and a man who has just discovered what he wants...even if she's not interested in falling in love.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Irene Marston

    good beach read short and sweet

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Found it boring and couldn’t finish it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl F.

    Exciting and hot!! I really enjoyed the attraction between Tony and Natalie. Some of those scenes had me on the edge of my seat! I loved the age difference. I would definitely recommend this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I liked the book and how the relationship between Natalie and Tony developed. I could see myself in Natalie, wondering why a younger man would be interested, but the heart doesn't see age, and the book shows that in the end there is the HEA. I liked the book and how the relationship between Natalie and Tony developed. I could see myself in Natalie, wondering why a younger man would be interested, but the heart doesn't see age, and the book shows that in the end there is the HEA.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Jares

    Natalie Goodwin is emerging from two years full of changes. She has emerged from a divorce, opened her dream shop (a floral store) and her daughter is a freshman at college in Chicago. Now is Natalie's time for herself. She's not looking for love. Across the street is eye candy, Tony Cruz. He's married and step-father to a young girl, Parker. However, Tony's wife has found someone else and soon dumps Tony. Although Tony is 9 years younger, he soon notices his neighbor. As they get to know one ano Natalie Goodwin is emerging from two years full of changes. She has emerged from a divorce, opened her dream shop (a floral store) and her daughter is a freshman at college in Chicago. Now is Natalie's time for herself. She's not looking for love. Across the street is eye candy, Tony Cruz. He's married and step-father to a young girl, Parker. However, Tony's wife has found someone else and soon dumps Tony. Although Tony is 9 years younger, he soon notices his neighbor. As they get to know one another, they learn that Tony wants a child and Natalie has no interest in being a mother again. This story is about multi-generational angst when moving out one's comfort zone and attempting to love another.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Natalie is a divorced mother of a college freshman. She has just opened her own flower and gift shop and her life is fulfilling. She has a loving family around her and that has been enough. Tony is a handsome fireman who lives across the street from Natalie. He finds that his wife has been having an affair. When she leaves and takes his young step-daughter away, it leaves Tony with an empty spot in his life. This book is about family and life. Both Natalie and Tony are caring and connected people. Natalie is a divorced mother of a college freshman. She has just opened her own flower and gift shop and her life is fulfilling. She has a loving family around her and that has been enough. Tony is a handsome fireman who lives across the street from Natalie. He finds that his wife has been having an affair. When she leaves and takes his young step-daughter away, it leaves Tony with an empty spot in his life. This book is about family and life. Both Natalie and Tony are caring and connected people. Tony is close to his fellow fireman because they are like a family. The reader learns a great deal about how the fire station works. Natalie is a conscientious mother, daughter, sister and business owner. She works at being a good citizen in the world. The story is about real life with the good and the not so good included. The plot is filled with events that affect nearly every family. There is a health scare, a teenager who wants to spread her wings and older people finding new paths in life. In other words, this is about life the way it is. I enjoyed the story. I liked Natalie and Tony as well as the secondary characters. There is a humor in the relationships, just as there is in the real world. It appears that each person is emotionally committed to the people around them. The only thing I did not care for was the on and off feelings from Natalie. I felt that if she were as strong a person as described, she would not have spent so much time waffling about her true feelings. Ms Holm is a talented author who knows about real life and writes it very well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nah! BBC blurb - Sammi and Luke are an unconventional, metropolitan, out-there gay couple. Emma and Jason are traumatised kids from deepest, darkest and straightest suburbia. When the recently orphaned kids are forced to live with the couple, nothing will ever be the same for any of them. Emma becomes reclusive. Jason becomes Christian. Sammi starts to pull away. While Luke tries to pull it all together. And then, just as this unlikely family start to find their balance, the men's mums get involved Nah! BBC blurb - Sammi and Luke are an unconventional, metropolitan, out-there gay couple. Emma and Jason are traumatised kids from deepest, darkest and straightest suburbia. When the recently orphaned kids are forced to live with the couple, nothing will ever be the same for any of them. Emma becomes reclusive. Jason becomes Christian. Sammi starts to pull away. While Luke tries to pull it all together. And then, just as this unlikely family start to find their balance, the men's mums get involved and everything starts to unravel once more. This is a new spin on a family comedy series. But it's also a poignant culture-clash story about a group of people who come together to form a household in the most painful of circumstances. In the first episode, Sammi and Luke are celebrating their anniversary. Luke's intolerant mother Nicky is there reluctantly as is a sexy Brazilian waiter whom Sammi is eyeing, much to Luke's chagrin. And then, suddenly, tragedy strikes. Written and directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid. Luke ..... Paul Nicholls Dolly ..... Meera Syal Sammi ..... Nikesh Patel Sarah ..... Niamh Cusack Emma ..... Klariza Clayton Jason ..... Harry Manton Nicki ..... Imelda Staunton Hairdresser/Waiter/Nicky/Ricky ..... Sebastien Torkia Producer: Clive Brill Broadcast on: BBC Radio 4, 10:45a

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    This was a normal book meaning it offered nothing new. Not at least to me. Rather, it was perhaps way too unrealistic for my taste. I have read books where above forty women falls for someone like a decade younger and I never really liked them much. I just bought it for a chicklit read on a boring day but Leaving Normal bored me. I get the need for a tall, dark and handsome hero in a chicklit but lately I think the boundary line's blurring way too much. I should never feel that the world is full This was a normal book meaning it offered nothing new. Not at least to me. Rather, it was perhaps way too unrealistic for my taste. I have read books where above forty women falls for someone like a decade younger and I never really liked them much. I just bought it for a chicklit read on a boring day but Leaving Normal bored me. I get the need for a tall, dark and handsome hero in a chicklit but lately I think the boundary line's blurring way too much. I should never feel that the world is full of men with an average height of 6 feet! But, unfortunately the world of chicklit believes that and as much as I like chicklit, I just didn't like this one. I mean it was more of a cougar chicklit if you get my drift. Stef Ann Holm may very well get lost in the sea of average or rather, below average authors. The story would have been worthwhile if not for the unnecessary inclusion of scenes involving Natalie's daughter, Cassie and father, Fred. And why in the hell didn't Natalie change her name back to her maiden's name? Very ironic considering she initiated the divorce. There should have been more of a story behind Tony and Kim and well, I wished the hero's name wasn't Tony at all. It was targeted to be an emotional read but I just didn't find it much emotional and the end was too clichéd.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Shanley

    Rather predictable love story, where all obstacles are overcome once the main character realizes that life is short ....and yet it took two times for her to get this lesson, once for herself and once for her smokin' hot fireman. Rather predictable love story, where all obstacles are overcome once the main character realizes that life is short ....and yet it took two times for her to get this lesson, once for herself and once for her smokin' hot fireman.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    This was a wonderful book. There was the sweet romance between Fred and Iris--Natalie's father and Tony's mother--in addition to the romance that developed between Natalie and Tony. Tony was a firefighter; Natalie had opened her own flower business. Tony was married and had a stepdaughter when he and Natalie met, but he felt his life was incomplete. Natalie was looking to have a relationship with someone. While she was several years older than Tony, he tried desperately to get her to understand t This was a wonderful book. There was the sweet romance between Fred and Iris--Natalie's father and Tony's mother--in addition to the romance that developed between Natalie and Tony. Tony was a firefighter; Natalie had opened her own flower business. Tony was married and had a stepdaughter when he and Natalie met, but he felt his life was incomplete. Natalie was looking to have a relationship with someone. While she was several years older than Tony, he tried desperately to get her to understand that age was relative and Natalie should live her life and not be worried about what others thought. There were periods where you just had to chuckle as you read the text. The characters captured my attention. As I read the book I felt like this could be any couple on the planet. There are definitely older women out there who happen to get involved with a younger man and many times those relationships work. It was refreshing to read how Natalie opened up to Tony and let him know that while Tony wanted a wife and child, she did not think it fair that he become attached to her because she would not be able to give him what he wants most. Eventually something happens that makes them both realize what's important. I would definitely read this book again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I can't remember if I've read and enjoyed Stef Ann Holm before but I certainly enjoyed this book. It was not the whirlwind romance you read in most of the books in this genre. Instead, it's rather drawn out, a romance that happens over the course of several months. Actually, at the beginning of the book our hero, Tony (a firefighter, rawr), is married to another woman. Luckily, she's cheating on him to free him up for Natalie, who divorce her husband over two years ago. That was a marriage that d I can't remember if I've read and enjoyed Stef Ann Holm before but I certainly enjoyed this book. It was not the whirlwind romance you read in most of the books in this genre. Instead, it's rather drawn out, a romance that happens over the course of several months. Actually, at the beginning of the book our hero, Tony (a firefighter, rawr), is married to another woman. Luckily, she's cheating on him to free him up for Natalie, who divorce her husband over two years ago. That was a marriage that died from lack of attention. Several times Natalie mentions that her husband never changed, it was her. She grew and he couldn't. It seemed a little sad but also a little arrogant when I read it. The big issue in this book is that Natalie is nine years older than Tony and somewhat uncomfortable with it. Especially since he wants kids and she's pretty sure she's going through perimenopause. (view spoiler)[ The biggest disappointment for me was the epilogue. The author just HAD to throw in has to include children. (hide spoiler)]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    A wonderful "May/December" romance First, a personal rant of sorts: I am so tired of the negative bias this culture has against younger men with older women. Age should have little if anything to do with a loving relationship. This novel deals honestly with many of the issues that are a part of the struggle older women experience when faced with the possibility of a long term relationship with a younger man. In this story the heroine meets a man whose experience as a seasoned firefighter has help A wonderful "May/December" romance First, a personal rant of sorts: I am so tired of the negative bias this culture has against younger men with older women. Age should have little if anything to do with a loving relationship. This novel deals honestly with many of the issues that are a part of the struggle older women experience when faced with the possibility of a long term relationship with a younger man. In this story the heroine meets a man whose experience as a seasoned firefighter has helped him to know the kind of woman he wants for the long haul and the nine year difference in their ages is a moot issue for him. Such is not the case with Natalie, and readers fine that the author's skill in telling this tale will draw them deeply into the conflict as well as the emotions that are the inevitable result. Having lived ,lose to Boise several decades ago, I enjoyed revisiting locations which were so familiar and which brought back lots of memories. So for lots of good reasons, this no else was a real joy to read and I highly recommend it. It really deserves to be read and appreciated.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandie

    I have never read anything by this writer but look forward to her other books after this one. It was such a good story. I thought I knew what to expect but when it opens with the main male character already married, I was like what is going on. I like the way the story unfolded and getting to know the characters. I liked all the ironic twists in the story as well. Having just turned 40 myself and sometimes feeling as if this is it, it was good to read a story that says no this isn't it at all, f I have never read anything by this writer but look forward to her other books after this one. It was such a good story. I thought I knew what to expect but when it opens with the main male character already married, I was like what is going on. I like the way the story unfolded and getting to know the characters. I liked all the ironic twists in the story as well. Having just turned 40 myself and sometimes feeling as if this is it, it was good to read a story that says no this isn't it at all, far from it. Its not your average cheesy romance, well maybe its cheesy but definately not your average boy meets girl and they live happily ever after romance. It has more of a realistic twist to it in many aspects and its encouraging to people who are 40 and dealing with scary tests, thoughts about mortality, empty nests, divorces and dreams. The story itself moves along smoothly and the characters are all pretty likable. I thought overall it was really great and if you enjoy romances I highly reccomend it!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Fireman, Tony Cruz lives across the street from Natalie Goodwin. He is tall, attractive, masculine, kind and considerate but married. The married part soon changes when his wife admits to cheating on him. Slowly Natalie and Tony become friends and then more than friends in An Igniting Attraction. She has one problem with the relationship and that is she is nine years older than Tony and he wants children. The romance develops until she backs off. Several plots twists later involving family, his j Fireman, Tony Cruz lives across the street from Natalie Goodwin. He is tall, attractive, masculine, kind and considerate but married. The married part soon changes when his wife admits to cheating on him. Slowly Natalie and Tony become friends and then more than friends in An Igniting Attraction. She has one problem with the relationship and that is she is nine years older than Tony and he wants children. The romance develops until she backs off. Several plots twists later involving family, his job and more family until Natalie figures out she is in love with Tony but will he still want her... You will have to read the book to find out. The romance is sweet, the book gives a good look at the job of a firefighter, both the good and the bad of the job. I enjoyed the slow build up of the romance and being older can understand how an older woman would be reluctant to find romance with a younger man. Older women need love too and this romance gave a realistic picture of age difference in a couple.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jo-Anne

    We start out with Natalie who is a bit older than most heroines at 43. She is divorced, just opened her own flower shop, not doing well with dating and has a daughter just starting college. The first man she is actually attracted to is her neighbour Tony. Natalie dismisses him immediately because he is 9 years younger than her and married with a young daughter. She says they can just be friends. Tony doesn't agree with her though. His marriage ends and he is more upset about loosing his stepdaug We start out with Natalie who is a bit older than most heroines at 43. She is divorced, just opened her own flower shop, not doing well with dating and has a daughter just starting college. The first man she is actually attracted to is her neighbour Tony. Natalie dismisses him immediately because he is 9 years younger than her and married with a young daughter. She says they can just be friends. Tony doesn't agree with her though. His marriage ends and he is more upset about loosing his stepdaughter than his wife. The age difference doesn't matter to him at all. I liked that the hero and heroine were a bit older than most couples in romances today. Their maturity and life experiences made this story much more interesting. Tony's profession of a firefighter and the insights into their dangerous jobs helped make this story believable. The fact that Tony was gorgeous enough to be in the firefighter's calendar didn't hurt either. I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colleen B

    First of all... let me just say that I love the new title. Igniting Attraction works so much better for me than Leaving Normal. It just sparks my interest (ha) before I even start reading. One of my favorite chapters in this book had to be when Natalie crosses her street with a bottle of wine to check in with Tony right after he tells her about his wife moving out with his step-daughter. The visual of them sitting in the dim lighting, on the floor where the couch would have been, watching the big First of all... let me just say that I love the new title. Igniting Attraction works so much better for me than Leaving Normal. It just sparks my interest (ha) before I even start reading. One of my favorite chapters in this book had to be when Natalie crosses her street with a bottle of wine to check in with Tony right after he tells her about his wife moving out with his step-daughter. The visual of them sitting in the dim lighting, on the floor where the couch would have been, watching the big screen TV on the wall, with Natalie just listening to Tony vent... it was pretty perfect. There were quite a few moments like that... where one was such a great source of support to the other. It really just made for such a true story of love growing. Love the little twist with Natalie's dad.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    So I had a hard time getting into this one but I'm glad I stuck through it. Its a very enjoyable believable read. The relationship between these characters is very drawn out. At times frustratingly so. But it's very realistic. There's no insta-love. Natalie and Tony actually get to know one another and are friends before they even begin a relationship. I liked Natalie and Tony a lot. They are both very strong independent people who are facing struggles in their life. At times Tony was very coc So I had a hard time getting into this one but I'm glad I stuck through it. Its a very enjoyable believable read. The relationship between these characters is very drawn out. At times frustratingly so. But it's very realistic. There's no insta-love. Natalie and Tony actually get to know one another and are friends before they even begin a relationship. I liked Natalie and Tony a lot. They are both very strong independent people who are facing struggles in their life. At times Tony was very cocky but not in a jerky way. He's just very confident in himself. Natalie frustrated me the most in not going for what she wanted and second guessing herself a lot. This was a very sweet enjoyable read. At times I couldn't relate to the characters because I'm not a mom or haven't been married and had to deal with divorce. But it was well written and flowed very nicely.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Badass Lioness

    Surprise romances, hot firefighter, this sizzles! I enjoyed this so much that I stopped reading three books I was supposed to read to read it. Something about Tony, not just handsome, but so loving. Natalie was determined to remain alone and be there for her daughter, Cassie, and run her flower shop. As the friendship blossomed as Tony's situation falls apart, I was absorbed in how simple it is to fall for someone who seems wrong for you. Natalie tried to stay away, but Tony had other ideas. The Surprise romances, hot firefighter, this sizzles! I enjoyed this so much that I stopped reading three books I was supposed to read to read it. Something about Tony, not just handsome, but so loving. Natalie was determined to remain alone and be there for her daughter, Cassie, and run her flower shop. As the friendship blossomed as Tony's situation falls apart, I was absorbed in how simple it is to fall for someone who seems wrong for you. Natalie tried to stay away, but Tony had other ideas. The description of the firefighters and fire station rang true. When I caught the twist and everyone was revealed, a sweet romance develops for her Dad. If you are willing to face your fears, love may blossom. There were sexy, erotic scenes... just enough. I discovered this novel when it was offered for free. I'm looking forward to more in this series and from this author.

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