Looking for Love Series, Book 1
Love is All Around
“LOVE IS ALL AROUND is definitely an entertaining and romantic read—and a wonderful lesson about love.” —Janet Dailey, New York Times Bestselling Author
Five Stars from Affaire de Coeur magazine!
Patsy Lee Clark knows what she wants—out of Daisy Creek and away from everything country. That is until Will Barnes rolls back into her life. This bad boy from her past spent fourteen years making up for teenage mistakes. Now he’s ready for a fresh beginning.
The harder Patsy tries to escape her Ozark roots, the more Will reminds her of what makes them special. The harder Will tries to start over, the more Patsy and her family get in his way. Can Will convince Patsy they belong together in Daisy Creek or will she follow her dreams and leave him and the Ozarks forever?
Read an Excerpt
She peeled off her shorts and draped them over the log.
Will blinked away the sight. The same muscle tone he’d noticed on her stomach was apparent on her butt and thighs. Hell, that wasn’t a butt. That was a booty. A vision of his hands gripping her firm backside as she pulsed up and down above him fogged his brain. And her thighs, he could almost feel the strength of them wrapped around his waist as he…
“You thinking about it?” Patsy brushed water off the thighs in question with an impatient flick of her wrist.
He blinked at her, then down at his shorts. Was he that obvious?
“Your left from your right? You trying to figure it out?” She held up first her left hand, then her right. “Maybe you could get a tattoo or something, you know, a little l and r.”
Oh, that. He tried to focus on her smart-ass question, but the pressure in his shorts was a bit distracting. Maybe he should try another dip in the frigid river. He jerked his soaked T-shirt off and pretended to wring it out. Never show attraction or fear—they feed on it. “Just felt like a swim,” he replied.
“Really? You usually take the cooler with you?” She held out her leg, removing a stray piece of flotsam with two fingers.
Swallowing hard, he focused on the tiny piece of debris pinched between her fingers. Don’t look at her legs. “Keeps the beer cold.” Good, nice and casual. He was under control.
“Well, that’s important.” She dropped his lifeline into the river and combed through her hair with her now unoccupied fingers.
He couldn’t help but think of other things to occupy those skillful digits.
Unaware of his ongoing battle with his libido, she continued, “Next time, warn me though, so I can pull a can out. You caught me empty-handed.” He couldn’t help but smile at her joke.
“You have to stay aware.” He flipped open the cooler and tossed her a beer. “This one’s on me.”
“I think the next keg’s on you.” She picked up her shorts and climbed into the canoe. Her bikini rode up, revealing a pale V of untanned skin where her butt cheeks peeked out of her swimming suit. He stood watching her, wondering if it was safer to stay behind on the deserted riverbank.
“What you waiting for? Let’s go, but keep the trick steering to a minimum this time. Don’t want to show up the natives.”
What do you know, the siren-shrew had a sense of humor. And from this angle—okay any angle—a very fine backside. “No, we can’t have that. They might get restless.” Grinning, he placed his cold beer can next to his groin and slipped his oar into the water.
With her eyes on the river, she replied, “You have no idea.”
No, he thought, adjusting the can, you have no idea.
What the Critics Say
“Lori Devoti shines with her tale of romance in a small town where everybody’s business is literally everybody’s business. Any reader who has ever lived in a small town will relate to her vivid characters and subtle, laugh-out-loud brand of storytelling. A sparkling novel.” —Angie Sarge, Affaire de Coeur, 5 Stars
“This is Lori Devoti’s first book and she has already become a must read author for me. Her characters are all flesh and blood, even the second characters. Will is a man on a mission to figure out who he really is. He’s determined to do everything himself even if it kills him! Patsy is a spunky, hard-cased woman who is certain that there is a place for everything and a way for everyone to act. When things don’t go as planned, Patsy gets as “prickly as a cocklebur”. This story is full of such metaphors. They create a funny, back country type feel to it, giving the reader a quick smile every time. I happily enjoyed my time with the characters in Love is All Around and closed the book with a happy grin. I’m certain that you will too!” —Vikky, A Romance Review, Five Roses
“This book is written with sassy humor, and shines the light on the things most of us take for granted or don’t appreciate or understand until we age a bit. Everyone is different, yet the same. What a concept. Not that Lori Devoti spends her time boring you with the values of the small town. Nor does she appear to say that the big city is overrated. The message I picked up on is that you have to decide what scenery you like best, and of course, who you want to share it with. Throw in some laughs, lust, family, and…Voila! Anywhere, USA.” —Shannon Johnson, Romance Reader at Heart, 4 Rose Read
“Author Lori Devoti brings the Ozark region of Missouri to life—with its small-town charm and prejudices, the kindness of its people and the hopeless wreck of its economy. Patsy’s ambivalence about her hometown and her future rings true throughout the story. Throw in a caring but buttinski family and some close friends and you’ve got a charming romance.” —Rob Preece, BooksForaBuck.com
“Devotishows lots of promise with such laugh-out-loud lines as ‘the woman was as tacky as a tube top at a wedding’ as well as her quirky and endearing characters.” —Diana Tixier Herald, Booklist
“This humorous regional romance contains a serious social issue involving dying small towns. The story line takes the future of Daisy Creek quite seriously, but uses zany eccentrics to make the romance into an amusing counterpoint to the grim aspects of can small towns survive in today’s megalopolis world without condemning big cities. Patsy Lee and Will make a fine couple, but it is the wild bunch led by the lead female’s unconventional relatives that spice up this well written contemporary tale.” —Harriet Klausner
Lori Devoti writes a funny and captivating romance with Love is All Around. Witty dialogue, amusing characters, and a town full of friendly people, Ms. Devoti creates a story that readers are sure to enjoy.” —Sinclair Reid, Romance Reviews Today
“Pugnacious, Patsy Lee’s pug dog…is adorable! Pugnacious thinks that she is a coon dog, and she is always on the hunt for squirrels. The pug dog had this reviewer giggling through the book.” —Patsy, Fallen Angel Reviews
“In her debut novel, Devoti creates a strong Southern flavor that is very appealing. The dialogue and descriptions are well written and the many characters are as colorful as some of their conversational expressions.” —Marilyn Weigel, Romantic Times BOOKclub Magazine
“The humor in Love is All Around is matched by an extraordinarily ordinary romance between two people readers can relate to and admire. Lori Devoti sends out the timeless message that hearth and happiness can be anywhere as long as there’s love.” —Tracy Marsac, ReaderToReader.com