Title: No Place Like You
Author: Emma Douglas
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: December 2017
Length: 304 pages
Series?: Cloud Bay #3
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Home–in the island village of Cloud Bay–is where the heart is. . .
Leah Santelli always knew that Zach Harper, son of a rock legend and her best friend’s brother, was painfully out of reach. Then, on the night of her eighteenth birthday, Leah shocked herself by asking for–and receiving–the gift she wanted: one night of passion with Zach before he left town to pursue his rock star dreams. Now, years later, Zach is back in Cloud Bay to record his first solo album. His return could also be Leah’s big chance to step up her own music career. But getting the producing credit she needs means spending long hours with Zach in the recording studio…and falling back into the habit of longing for him, for better or worse.
Zach used to believe that a man must put his past behind him. But coming back home for Cloud Bay’s famed music festival has allowed him to finally make amends with his family and, much to his surprise, reunite with Leah. He might have left her once but now it seems he can’t stay away. Trouble is, even though the heat between them burns hotter than ever, Leah has old wounds in need of healing before she can give Zach a real chance. Can he find a way to convince her that they can make more than just great music together–and that she’s the one that he wants for all time?
Zach Harper, son of the late Gery Harper and leader of the rock band Blacklight, is working hard to establish his own way in the world. After his band leader breaks the band up to “find himself,” Zach returns home to Lansing Island and Cloud Bay. With at least a year off, he plans to make his own music and launch a solo album. Returning home won’t be an easy landing after his six years away. Six years in which he ditched his sister and their musical career when his father fell ill, joined another band to continue moving his career forward, and being a no-show with no word at the family music festival, Cloud Fest, on the island the year before. Essentially, Zach has done everything he could to ignore his family and advance his own musical career.
While making amends with his sisters, Faith and Mina, and stepmother Lou, Zach also finds himself being a jerk to the Grey studio sound engineer, Leah. The girl-next-door type of girl, Leah grew up on the island living on the fringes of the Grey Harper family. Her father served as his sound engineer and she spent many days on at the Harper studio. Now she is following in her own father’s footsteps while Zach is trying to make his name and his own way, no matter who he has to use or step over or leave out to make it happen.
Just like he did 10 years ago when he loved and left Leah on her 18th birthday. Not that she is holding a grudge – she knew he was leaving but she wanted her night with him anyway. Since then Leah Santelli has lived her own life. She married and later divorced, and she is happy with her life. Now she is trying to get her own music career as a producer off the ground. Zach’s return home and solo album is the perfect project to launch her own career.
First, Zach totally rebuffs the idea of Leah the unknown nobody making his album. Despite knowing him well and knowing his music well, Zach wants a big wig to produce his music. After being turned down by his dream producer and having another mangle his vision, he slinks back to Leah, who is doing some amazing work with one of Faith’s newfound female artists.
As their professional career flourishes, Leah and Zach find themselves in the conundrum of the personal creeping in. Once again, Leah proposes a liaison. This time, though, a friends with benefits relationship. She knows once the album is finished he’ll be leaving again, but she’ll spend her time with him while she can.
I loved Leah’s character. She is strong and spunky and has an equal measure of compassion for others and also herself. She has her own dreams that aren’t shadowed by a relationship. I didn’t like that Zach called most of the shots. He makes himself look like a huge jerk. While Leah is in charge of the studio, she is also doing her best work as a producer and has her sights set on a bigger project after Zach’ album.
With Cloud Fest, the music fest his father started decades ago, on the horizon for Lansing Island and Cloud Bay, Zach is betting on the secret slot to launch his new music and create some buzz and publicity. Suddenly, one of his father’s bandmates and father of his best friend, swoops in and steals the secret slot from under him. There is lots of drama revolving around those issues that throw Zach out of kilter. In some form of retribution, Zach is offered the producer of a lifetime.
Zach has continually put his desires for his career above his family and friends for years and years. He has everything at his fingertips, but can only pick one dream.
Before the books happened she did the usual things (was a band geek (and a geek generally), had crushes on rock stars and fictional characters, spent chunks of her summers on an island beach, got a degree in something sensible that doesn’t involve writing about kissing, became a black belt in internet procrastination, fell down the rabbit-hole of craft, traveled a bit, indulged her love of baked goods, got bossed around by cats, began a quest for the perfect margarita, and napped to recover from all of the above.
She still does most of that plus the writing thing from a tiny house which her feline overlords have kindly agreed to share with her.