If I didn't Know Better is the 1st book in the Cousins part of the Callaway Series by Barbara Freethy!! So book 1 in the Callaway Cousins and book 9 in the Callaways Series! Confusing right?!?!?!
This is Mia Callaway's story. She's cousins to the main characters in the first 8 books!
She's the youngest of Sharon and Tim Callaway. Tim is a younger brother to Jack Callaway, the father of the crew who're the main characters in the first 8 books.
This story takes us out of San Francisco to a small town called Angel's Bay where Mia's Aunt lived.
Aunt Carly, her mother's sister, died unexpectedly in an accident while she was traveling. She was a free spirit type of person and her and Mia were really close.
So when Carly's house was left to her sister, Mia volunteers to clean out the house because her mom broke her foot.
While there're tie ins for several other characters coming into play, they don't have a pivotal role in this book. For example, the characters from books 1-8 only show up when they all gather for a wedding (Burke's wedding) at the end of the book.
And because this story is in a new town, there's a ton of new characters that are introduced.
There're a couple of sexy scenes with details to watch out for.
This is the only book cover I was able to find. That's most likely because this book was published in 2015/6.
This book is classified as a contemporary romance.
Mia Callaway is floundering. She's lost her job and the man who she thought she had something with.
And she's not sure what to do.
So when the opportunity comes to clean out her beloved aunt's house, she jumps at the chance. The chance to be able to get out of San Fran and figure things out.
She has a lot of decisions to make and she feels like she can do that while she helps her aunt out.
Her aunt was a free spirit and an artist and loved to collect things on her travels.
So her house is packed with stuff.
That and a small cottage filled with paintings and ceramics and crafts stuff that she has to figure out what to do with.
The "meet cute" with the hero is fun!! Mia climbs onto the roof trying to get into the window of her aunt's house cuz the key that she has doesn't work. And gets stuck.
When Jeremy Holt sees her on top of the house, he's intrigued and fascinated.
Jeremy has come back to Angel's Bay to help his young daughter heal after losing her mother.
Jeremy was in the Army, so he's a soldier. But an injury has forced him to take some time. When he hears that he has a child, and that her mother's been killed, he steps up and takes her on.
But the trauma that little Ashlyn has gone thru has rendered her mute. As she encounters Mia, she instantly connects with her and that is what pulls the hero and heroine together often.
So then the story follows the pattern of the rest of this series: the hero and heroine meet, are fascinated with each other, their relationship progresses and then internal and external issues come up that make it difficult to stay together.
Mia and Jeremy both have decisions to make about their future. They're both at a cross roads. And they both don't know if they can commit to the other.
Because Mia is cleaning out her aunt's house, the paintings that she's finding, are causing a stir among those that left a painting to her aunt.
Mia wants to display them and some of the artists don't. And there's even a further issue in that the cottage gets broken into.
There's a lot that goes on that keep them apart. But when they solve one, they also solve the other and that brings them closer together.
And yes, the story does end happy. And yes, they decide to commit themselves together but not to get married, not yet.
But we do see Burke and Maddie getting married, in the epilogue. This is when Jeremy meets the fam!! You can go back and read Burke's story in book 8, Somewhere Only We Know.
I enjoyed this story. It was a fun spin.
The characters were entertaining and fun. And while the story followed the same pattern as the rest of the series, it was still a good story.
Freethy tied this story into series with realistic scenes and interactions with the other characters, making it seem as if they were a apart of the community.
This story is tender and engaging. Was the romance quick? Absolutely. But that's what romance books are. Did they gloss over some issues that could have taken longer to actually work thru? Probably. But she touched on the things that were pertinent to keeping the story flowing.
It's a fun and sweet read. A great addition to the Callaways Series! And in this case, a great start to the cousins in the bunch!!
Check out the other books in the Callaway Cousins Series:
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