Friday, May 18, 2012

'Til There was U (O'Fallons #1) by Dianne Castell

Workaholic Ryan O'Fallon has made his name as an architect in a top San Diego firm in more ways than one. On the job, he's the go-to guy who can face down the toughest client without flinching. Off the job, he's got a rep for playing the field. The company lunchroom odds give his average relationship a whopping ten weeks and two days. And nobody knows better than Effie Wilson, Ryan's coworker and competitor. After all, she's won the last two pools on his lack-of-love life and has the Gucci shoes to prove it. Ryan may be Mr. Calm and Cool in the boardroom, but when Effie's around, he starts to sweat. 

As if things weren't tense enough, Ryan's dad needs him at home just as Ryan's biggest project is taking off. There's no way Ryan won't help out his dad, but he's not about to let Effie stay and take all the credit. The only thing to do is bring her with him to Tennessee so they can work together. Now, back in O'Fallon's Landing, with its slow, easy days and long, steamy nights, Effie's letting her hair down big time, going from a buttoned-up businesswoman into a full-fledged, no-holds-barred force of nature...the kind that's turning Ryan's world upside down and putting anything but business on his mind....

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

Not bad for a light little romance. 'Til There was U is the first book in Castell's O'Fallon series which follows the O'Fallon brothers and their new baby sister whose mom has suddenly disappeared and left her on their father's doorstep. So the boys are all heading back to Tennessee to help their dad and baby sister. The writing is easy but heavy on the Southern....color. 
"Holy crap! You pulled a gun on him?"
Thelma shrugged. "It's the South, dear. We do things a tad different than in California, like settle trouble ourselves and call the sheriff later and say 'Oh, my, whatever have I done? Lordy me.' Then do a Southern swoon. The swoon is a nice touch."

There are a couple different storylines/relationships going on so you don't really get too deep into any of them. 1) Rory O'Fallon and his baby's missing momma/the people out to get her 2) Thelma, the live in family friend/nanny and slimy deceitful Conrad then finally 3) our main couple Ryan O'Fallon and Effie Wilson who are both architects and work together in California. Fwhew! 

I didn't mind the multiple storylines-- though I wasn't a huge fan of Thelma/Conrad. He was such an absolute scum for most of the book and Thelma was too gullible for me. It did work out in the end but I think I would have rather had more time with the main couple, who I really liked, instead. Ryan and Effie have known each other for a while and are pretty competitive with one another at work, drive each other a little crazy. Getting out of their element and into small town Tennessee was fun to watch. Seeing their personal relationship grow and seeing them spend a little time in the family business working on the river on a tug. 
"The boy had me running all over that tug, checking out stuff and doing whatever else came into his little pea brain." She eyed Rory. "You have two other sons. You won't even miss this one."
I liked that Effie was feisty and determined to protect everyone around her even if that meant butting her nose into all of their relationships.  And that she was a little fierce which peeved and proves she knows how to protect herself against the bad guys. She might panic a little bit but she's no wilting flower and does what needs to be done. Like that in my heroines. I also loved the humor that came into play over baby Bonnie and taking care of her. These two are brilliant architects but a tiny little baby causes a melt down. Just can't help but smirk over things like that. 
"You're a woman; you know babies, right?" 
"All I know about babies is I was one. I'm an only child. My father's an accountant, my mother an attorney. We do professions at our house, not "Sesame Street." I don't actually remember even being a kid so much as a smaller adult who really liked Gummi Worms. Anyone under eighteen is a mystery to me. That was a long, nervous answer to your question. I do not know babies at all."
Ryan stood. "Somewhere in your life you didn't babysit? Don't all girls do that? Isn't it a rite of passage or something?"
"Like before we're awarded boobs?" Effie slapped her palm to her forehead. "What are we going to do? We're architects; we don't know about babies." 
Over all 'Til There was U was a fun, quick read. There are a couple over the top moments but if you're looking for a little humor and a family that will do anything for each other this one will fill a nice couple of hours. I guessing the father's missing girlfriend storyline will continue into the next two books and I kinda like that tie in with them all. Looking forward to grabbing up the next book and meeting Ryan's brothers. 

Have you read Castell? How do you feel about the whole multiple story-line thing so many authors seem to love these days?


  1. This actually sounds really adorable! I don't mind a bit of over the top now and then. Great review!

    1. I kinda like the silly over the top thing now and again myself. Nice to mix it up :) Thanks for dropping over!


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