Loving Carlie is the third book in Ms. Barker’s anthology Love in the Air and is the story of the last unmarried Prescott triplets, Carlie. The anthology is now available in hardback, direct from Ellora’s Cave. And just like the previous books about the Prescott triplets, Born To Fly and Logan’s Lady, this book sizzles with sexual tension and passion.
The book opens with the wedding of Sharla Prescott and Reed Connors (from Born To Fly), and the renewing of vows for Dee Prescott and Logan Bradford (Logan’s Lady). Carlie is left feeling ‘unsettled’, and when she senses a change in best friend Michael Preston, she almost panics. Michael is the brother of her ex-husband, Bill, and has always been there to support her. But something’s different in the way Michael’s treating her and Carlie isn’t sure she wants to delve into that reason and find out what’s changed. Her ex, Bill, had physically abused her during their short marriage and Carlie has been left with the feeling that ‘happily-ever-after’ doesn’t really exist --- at least not for her.
Michael Preston is tired of hiding his feelings for Carlie. He’s been there as her best friend, despite his family’s belief that the Prescotts are the enemy after the bitter divorce of his brother Bill from Carlie. He knows that too much bitterness and emotional baggage will be the main conflict between him and Carlie having a relationship but he’s determined to help her get past it and see him as someone other than just a friend --- and the brother of her abusive ex.
When Michael proposes, Carlie panics. Michael feels the only thing to do is to leave. Readers are left worrying and wondering how these two will ever be able to resolve the problems holding them back from ever committing to each other. Will Carlie be able to once again believe in ‘happily-ever-after’ or decide that love isn’t real and only brings heartache? Will Micheal believe there’s no hope for the two of them and decide that staying out of her life is for the best?
Ms. Barker has Carlie and Michael’s relationship develop quickly at the very beginning of the story because there’s no need for the extra ‘in-between’ stuff --- like the ‘getting to know you’ stage. The sexual tension and love scenes between heroine and hero sizzle, making this love story a fast paced read that you don’t want to put down until you’ve read it all in one sitting! You come to love the characters, so vividly portrayed, and find yourself cheering them on when they finally realize that true love is something too precious to walk away from.
Kudos to Ms. Barker for writing a trio of stories that are definite ‘keepers’ on this reader’s shelf to be read many times over. A highly recommended anthology for lovers of ‘happily-ever-after’ endings that makes a reader sigh with contentment.