Liam O’Brien is languishing in Ballycraig, Ireland, while he waits for word from his family that it is safe to go back to Manhattan. He is a bartender at the local pub and while he enjoys spending time with his Irish relatives, there is no denying he is antsy to go home. When Liam meets local sheep farmer, Aislinn McCafferty, he is immediately intrigued by her sharp attitude. Thus, the beginning of a sweet little bet that Liam is sure he will win. His charm has not failed him yet.
Aislinn is recovering from a bad relationship. Almost married, her ex-fiancé revealed to her that he was gay and Aislinn was shattered. Now, she avoids men like the plague and certainly has no intention of falling for a smooth-talking Yank. But Liam does everything in his power to win her over, and in the process, starts to fall hard himself. But there is still that bet lingering in the background. Liam is sure he can keep Aislinn from hearing about it, but not even a smooth-talking Yank can quiet the gossiping citizens of Ballycraig.
Straight Up by Deirdre Martin is the latest in her Wild Hart series. Liam and Aislinn have chemistry aplenty but there is also an abundance of baggage between them. Their courtship seems like smooth sailing, but there is trouble beneath the surface. The author does a great job of showing these two letting down their barriers and falling in love. Aislinn is a sarcastic and hardworking woman with a kind heart. She aches for happiness but it seems to be slipping out of her grasp. Liam is sure he just wanted to go back to New York and to his family, but suddenly someone else is becoming vital to his existence. Watching these emotions play out amidst the small town atmosphere of Ballycraig is sweet and humorous. There are hurdles to overcome but I never doubted these two characters would get there.
Straight Up successfully weaves the perils of falling in love amongst the realities of life. Liam and Aislinn’s relationship will tangle your heart with emotions!