What I like About You
by Claire Hastings
“What I Like About You” is the third book in the Indigo Royal Resort series by Claire Hastings, and it’s terrific. You don’t have to have read the first two books in the series to enjoy this one, although you really should check them out as well. The leading man in this book, Dalton, appears as an important secondary character in both prior books about the Resort, where he works as First Mate on the charter boats. He’s a good-natured guy and supportive friend in those stories, and there is clearly a side to him that he keeps intensely private. I was looking forward to his story, and it surpassed all expectations.
Zara was Dalton’s absolute best friend from childhood … right up to senior prom, when he uttered despicable words that destroyed their friendship and shattered her heart. She grew up accustomed to cruel jibes and nasty comments about her plus-sized figure. Through sheer force of will and determination, and the support of her dearest friend from college, Zara has become a successful beauty blogger. Despite the emotional pain heaped upon her, she is still a sweet and kind person. When she arrives at the Resort as a VIP guest to visit and revue the new spa there, she and Dalton are shocked to see one another. They become immersed in a week that could potentially heal their rift and chart a new course for them, or could permanently reinforce the divide.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it’s hard because this is such a great story. We learn about a lot of Zara’s triumphs, and can feel the pain of her struggle with accepting the fact that Dalton truly sees her as beautiful and desirable. Dalton’s character development is even more dramatic, I think. His personal family history is heartbreaking, his remorse about hurting Zara is painfully sincere, and the life-altering changes with which he must contend are dramatic. I couldn’t put this book down because it pulled me into the story so completely. The excellent secondary characters provide just enough counterpoint and humor to keep the more serious emotions from becoming overwhelming. Great book, excellent series, and I already pre-ordered the next one!