Barefoot in the Sand (Barefoot Bay)

Barefoot in the Sand - Roxanne St. Claire When 36-year old Lacey Armstrong lost her home and all its contents in a Florida hurricane, she thought it was a chance to not only start over again with her 14-year old daughter but an opportunity to fulfill one of her dreams. Lacey decided to use her insurance proceeds to build her Bed & Breakfast, something she'd wanted to do since inheriting the house from her grandparents. The architect who showed up was not the elder gentleman on the website but his son, 29-year old Clay Walker, a man on a mission to get this project no matter what. And, he's got a much bigger vision for Lacey and the project.This is the first story in the new Barefoot Bay series and it is a winner. I loved everything about it, from the four women who have been best friends since freshman year of college, the setting in the town of Mimosa Key off the Gulf Coast, the offbeat people who live in the town to the conflicts Lacey faced following the loss of her home. Her romance with Clay is unconventional, fraught with issues and off-the-charts steamy, all the while juggling the challenges of a teen-aged daughter and a relationship from her past. Clay is pretty complicated and figuring him out was an interesting journey, too. I loved how the friendship between the women is so embedded in each of the characters without being inauthentic and predictable. They share a lot and support each other but they still have a fair amount of secrets individually that are yet to be discovered. I'm really not a fan of love triangles but the one in this story was maturely presented. I always knew everyone's true feelings but wasn't always certain of the outcome because of outside pressures and factors. Lacey and Clay were pretty honest with themselves, if not always as open and straightforward with each other. I also liked how their age difference was handled, sometimes messy and at other times it being inconsequential. There are a lot of characters in the story but all were pretty well fleshed out and strongly contributed to the storyline. The town is pretty small so everyone knows each other, their back stories and private agendas, which made them even more interesting. The story is really well written without falling into the trap of using well worn love triangle angst. I loved the story, am really excited about the rest of the series and cannot wait to start the next book.(I received an ARC from NetGalley)