Blog Tour: No Ordinary Bloke: Mary Whitney

No Ordinary Bloke
Mary Whitney
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I’m not a philosophical kind of bloke, but I know something about luck. A childhood on the wrong side of advantage will teach you that. It’s all a matter of chance. It’s both your circumstances and the chances you take. So I've always been a gambler and a ladies man — they love me and I love them. Now I've found one like no other — an American, Allison Wright. When I met her, the fates were on my side, but too soon I learned the odds were against me.

After a snort of laughter, she said, “You really are so bad.”

“The word is ‘cheeky’, love. We say cheeky over here.”

“Cheeky? What does that mean?”

“Teasing. Naughty. Sort of in on your own joke. Something like that.”

“What about unbelievably conceited about one’s perceived sexual prowess?”

“That might be found in the psychology books.”

“With your photo as an example.”

“Now come now, love.” I looked down into her eyes that I was sure needed an emerald ring to match. “You find me endearing, don’t you?”

“I find you…” She shook her head. “I find you…” Then finally she sighed, “I find you adorable in every way which is probably why I’m here right now when I should be back at the office.”

“Adorable? Like a puppy? Good God, I’m off my game, if you only want to pat my head.”

She lifted her eyes up to the heavens and sighed again. “I said adorable in every way, okay? I think that covers all aspects of a woman’s appreciation of a man.”

Well, if that wasn’t a bloody roundabout way of admitting she liked me at least a little… I smirked again. “Maybe then you might want to pat my other head as well?”

“David…” she said in a warning tone.

When I met Allison Wright, the fates were on my side, but I soon learned that the odds were against me.

David Bates is Adam's slightly obnoxious, flirty cousin who we initially met in the Beside Your Heart series. We have seen him in his teens in the other books up until the present where he is now a thirty-eight year old Vice President of an Investment Firm. And on one of his business trips, meets Allison Wright who works for a different firm. He flirts, he teases, he admires, but she has a boyfriend...one that he knows and is not a big fan of. But David is experienced in how to get his way with women. And he is a man with a plan. Thus begins quite a journey for these two. 

"You are a cockney scoundrel."
"I'll take that as a compliment."

This is a story of change, friendship, and love that spans countries and time. Their relationship was full of roadblocks, setbacks, issues, break ups and reconciliations. They both had issues from their pasts and present to deal with.

I adored David. I  liked him in the other books as he always added comic relief, but also support. But I could now see his charming, cocky,  flirty attitude hid a broken and vulnerable man. He was sexy, charismatic, and had a good sense of humor. He did not really have connections with women he was involved with so he was seen as a playboy. But  he really was a good guy who really cared deeply. He was willing to embrace change and make an effort, but was not used to having such strong feelings and having to work so hard for something he wanted. And no matter how he tried to avoid it, his past just got him in trouble sometimes.

All of my life, I'd been a confident bloke. Only my family knew how much of the confidence was actually bluster.

I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Allison. I liked her personality and I liked her for David. But she did a lot of advance then retreat moves. I hated how she played with David's emotions at times even though I know she was just trying to do the right thing for her. But I hated to see David hurt. But there were also some other times that I was happy to see her stand up and make an extra effort.

I could feel their connection, rapport, and strong feelings. I loved their interactions and them together, but I hated to see their struggles. But I also think that all they dealt with ultimately made them both realize how much they truly meant to each other. And also provided  both with a catalyst to make changes that they had been avoiding. But it was not a short, easy process.

"I know I'm just an ordinary bloke, but I love you with all my heart and I'll do everything I can to make your life extraordinary."

It was a sweet, funny, emotional read with a mature couple with many challenges. It was told in David's point of view so I could feel his true heart, feelings, and fears. I found myself smiling and laughing often, but also was sad and heartbroken at times too. The characters were multi-faceted and full of layers. The story was not a quick insta-love one. They really had a lot of obstacles to get through and they were not easily fixed. As with this author's other books, she gives them a chance but then makes them fight to keep it. And stomps on your heart along the way.

The bloody universe had its own ideas about our fate, and it also laid out our path. The different paths people got were f***ing unfair, but it wasn't like you could choose your path. You only had a choice in the chances to take and decision to make. 

Fans of Mary Whitney's Beside Your Heart series will enjoy David's story and hanging out with his family and friends. I loved getting more with his cousin, Adam, Nicki, and baby Veronica, and even his other outspoken cousin, Sylvia was much needed in this story.  But it is easily read as a stand alone, and enough is told about Adam and Nicki's story in this one to give a bit of background into all of their pasts.  And I am a sucker for a good epilogue and this one was priceless.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

David is an unapologetic serial dater. He is not interested in relationships, and has girlfriends around the globe to keep him company as he travels for work. When he meets Allison on a red-eye flight, he is immediately intrigued, but he also knows she isn’t his usual speed and he begins rethinking his habits and feelings about relationships. When she reveals she has a boyfriend, and David knows said boyfriend is not what Allison thinks, he struggles with whether sharing what he knows with her would help or hurt his chances at more than friendship.

Allison finds herself swept away by David, but also torn because she loves her boyfriend and isn’t interested in changing that. I had a hard time believing she was as naive about Trey as she appeared, but I do applaud that she trusted him and was determined to stay faithful to him all the while developing a platonic friendship with David. And the friendship was platonic. At least from her side. 

The story is told entirely from David’s POV. It bothered me at times that everyone else knew what was going on with Trey except Allison, but I loved David’s voice. Reading characters hailing from England doesn’t always feel like the character truly is English. The speech patterns, cadence, and terms simply don’t sound the same as American English. And Mary Whitney did a fantastic job of making David sound British. 

This was not a super speedy timeline. Things didn’t happen within a matter of days, weeks, or even a month. Even before the massive skip to the epilogue, months passed between milestone events in David and Allison’s relationship. And that’s not to say there was a lot of unnecessary detail about the events that happened while each of them were on different continents, just that the story unfolded at a very believable, unrushed pace, fitting with the personalities, histories, and career choices of David and Allison. 

It took me a bit to really dig into the story. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t read Adam and Nicki’s story to have the background and history with David, but I grew to love his voice, his personality, and his transformation. This book had just enough of Adam, NIcki, and their backstory that I wasn’t lost while reading, but I am also intrigued enough to go back and read their books.

All in all, No Ordinary Bloke was an entertaining escape. If you’re looking for a fast paced story with an emotional triangle, this is not the book for you. But it was a great character driven transformation from rogue to a one woman man and it left me feeling satisfied and happy.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Even though No Ordinary Bloke is easily read as a stand alone, you can see how his cousin Adam fell in love with Nicki,  and meet David initially in the  Beside Your Heart Series. 

Available in a Box set: Goodreads/Amazon/B&N

Beside Your Heart (Beside Your Heart# 1)
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Kim's 4.5 star review

"It's an emotional story that will take the reader back to those feelings that made the late teen years such a powerful time."

Late one night Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki’s no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.

Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school—the year of her sister’s death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through a coming of age. Was it just high school, or was it something more?

Disclosure of the Heart (Beside Your Heart# 2)

Sixteen years is a long time to wait for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?

Forever Your Heart (Beside Your Heart# 3)
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I’m a journalist—Adam Kincaid, BBC reporter, to be exact, so I’m not going to bury the lead. I’m about to see the woman I never got over. 

I know that because I’ve been back in America for years now, and I still don’t date American girls. My dad would say I’ve come to my senses, sticking to my own British patrician kind, but that’s crap. Mum, the psychologist, would more wisely say it’s my unresolved issues around Nicki. My teenage years are long behind me, yet my guilt over her remains. So I’ve avoided all things Nicki, though the irony is she’s the one avoiding me.

Maybe if we see each other, we can both move on. Could she ever forgive me? Can you forgive yourself when you hurt someone you love?
But please, don’t answer yet. I’ve jumped ahead of the story, and as a reporter, I should give you more background to get to the root of it all.

So let me tell you my story. Then you can be the judge.

NOTE: While this is the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone book. This is in Adam's POV.
Mary Whitney 

Mary Whitney blames Laura Ingalls Wilder and Margaret Mitchell for her obsession with romance novels. At an early age, Mary fell in love with the Little House series and its dreamy hero, Almanzo Wilder, who only wanted Laura to be Laura. Like many women, Mary later graduated to the ultimate, tall and dark bad boy, Rhett Butler, who loved Scarlett despite her flaws.

Mary has lived around the U.S., and after a first career in the non-profit world and politics, she's settled in Northern California with her husband and daughters. She spends her days writing characters she hopes somehow capture the romance of Rhett and Scarlett and Almanzo and Laura. She's a firm believer in what Rhett says to Scarlett: "You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.


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