FINDING HAVEN by T.A. Foster
Power. Money. Control. Love.
He has all but one.
When movie star, Evan Carlson, discovers his girlfriend’s picture with another man splashed on the cover of gossip magazines, he decides he’s had enough of his fishbowl life and attempts to outrun the media frenzy his relationships have become. Driving until the road stops, he ends up on the remote and quaint Perry Island, where a heartthrob can blend in like the locals and be a beach bum as long as he wants. All that changes when Evan meets Haven Owen, aspiring songwriter and the girl he just can’t get enough of. A summer romance turns into something much deeper and Evan gets tangled in his own web of lies to keep Haven in his life. But when his ex tracks him down, Evan learns there are some things you just can’t outrun.
Is the cost of love, losing all control?
First I must thank Inkslinger PR and T.A. Foster for providing an ARC of Finding Haven. As I looked through the sign ups this one caught my eye. Mainly the title. When I read the blurb it reminded me of the movie Safe Haven in a way. Someone running from who they were to a place no one would expect to find them. And I have to say, I loved it. It was an easy, and fun read.
*** small spoiler alert***
Evan Carlson, Texan and movie actor turned runaway is having a bad day. (Had to throw the whole Texan in there ‘cause… yeah just had too.. LOL) After pictures of his girl with another man in Hawaii, laughing, and being chummy, hit the papers he bolts. He left Atlanta -where he was at a benefit the night before- and ends up in Perry Island. Paying only cash on his way. this way there was no credit cards, no trail to follow. After a night in his car he rents a air stream camper at the campground -which is right on the beach- and settles in to hide. He is hoping no one sees him and knows who he is. He isn’t ready to be Evan Carlson right now.
Haven Owens is back home on the island after being gone to college for the last few years. She recently graduated and is now working at the general store which her family owns. her father -who is a hard ass of sorts- wants her to stay here where home is and settle in. But Haven wants to run away. Get away from this place, just be free to pursue the music career she wants so bad. But for now the main thing she is fighting -or I should say person- is Travis. He has filled out since high school and is easy on the eyes but he doesn’t want to leave Perry Island like she does. But after a few times of sleeping together he is getting braver and more assertive. He doesn't know what no means apparently. (Maybe he’s been in the sun too long?) But finally Haven is able to push him away.
As Evan settles into the rental at the camp ground and tries to adjust to being a beach bum he lets himself get lost in the new him. Growing out a beard, drinking all day and just lying around in the sun. But that soon changes when he notices people are seeing him as a beach bum for real. All thanks to Shug, the owner of the rental place. After she mentions his days of drinking he decides to start over a bit. Hold back on some of the drinking. After watching the people out in the water he asks Shug about Kayaking. She refers him to Owens General Store. But what he gets when he shows up is to watch the destruction of Haven’s spirit. She is fighting with Travis, then has a major fight with her father. Travis has quit so now her dad -the ass- has left it to her to find a replacement.
As Evan walked over to Haven he did something he wasn't expecting. He asked for a job. Of course she knew he must have overheard her and her father but after a few tentative minutes and some smooth talking he was hired. That was when the real fun began. His effortless flirting, her smiles, it was all it was meant to be. Evan was able to get lost in being Jay the writer. He wanted to tell her a few times who the real man behind this fake name and life was but he didn’t. To protect her and the others on the island from knowing who he was. If someone let it slip that he was here the island would be swarmed by the paps and reporters. He didn’t want that for any of them, especially Haven.
Evan is fitting into the island life and the quiet but his bright spot in it all is Haven. The more time he spends with her the harder he starts to fall for her. They sit and she plays her guitar, he ‘helps’ her with writing lyrics.. or at least entertains her with his bad ideas. But things change when they take the next step. The closeness they experience is like no other.
When hurricane Harper threatens the island Evan is told by Harold -the old man that owns the campsite- that he has to evacuate with all of the other non residents. But Evan can't leave the old man to do what needs to be done at the camp grounds alone. So he agrees to leave after he helps tie everything down. He calls the store to check on things and to let them know he is alright only to find out that they are all sold out and heading home to bunker down for the storm. When he tells Haven he has to leave she tells him to come to her house, to stay with her. So he does. I mean how could he turn that down? The days they spent together lounging around, making love, just being alone and content was good for them both. It also made Evan want to tell her again who he was. But he couldn’t.
As Haven’s music writing speeds up Evan decides to help her out some. She has been sending in a few songs a week to the music execs in Nashville and Austin. He does have friends in Texas after all. So after making a few calls once he was back at his rental, giving him and Haven a little space after their time together her got it all set up for her. He would do anything for her. When she gets an email from Blue Steel Records everything is perfect. It isn’t until the next day when she gets a call into them that things start to fall apart. Seems our record exec doesn't know the whole story of why Evan is hiding so when he calls him by name the confusion starts. Then it slowly trickles into place. The shock is one thing but as soon as Haven is out of her car and walking back to the store all hell breaks lose.
She is swamped by reporters and microphones, camera’s going off and questions being tossed at her left and right. Evan swoops in to get her away from them but it is too late. She is hurt and all but destroyed by his lies. All summer has been one big lie. He takes her to the one ‘safe’ place on the island and tries to fix what he has royally messed up. Every time he tries to see her after that day he is turned away. She wants nothing to do with him. Can you blame her.. no you can’t. Come to find out the one person Evan though he could count on -his agent- was the one to see him out. His ex Emmy causes his life to be turned upside down again and in all fairness he isn’t happy about it. But being the man he is he decides to do what is right. He gets on the ferry a few days after Emmy and her crew of cameras leaves. Haven still isn’t speaking to him and there is nothing left for him here without her. As he says goodbye to the island he catches sight of her. Maybe there is time for a second chance? It’s worth a shot.
This story was done just right. The author built up each of the main characters and tossed them into a story that was just them. It was easy to follow, easy to get lost in and full of laughs and a few heart breaking moments. I can see myself reading this one again soon. It is a light romantic drama that I am sure most people would love. Can't wait for more from this author.
RED LINES (Finding Haven, #2)
Love on remote Perry Island was one thing, but with the flash of a camera everything has changed.
Movie star Evan Carlson has just landed the role of a lifetime, playing the infamous Dexter Red. Fans can't get enough of the sexiest, most-talked-about guy to ever hit paperback pages.
Haven is in Austin working on her songwriting career, and Evan's faith and commitment are put to the test. No matter which way he turns, Hollywood keeps getting in the way.
Does realizing their career dreams mean losing their relationship? Can they survive the headlines and media frenzy surrounding Evan's new role?
When it comes to love, some lines are meant to be blurred.
T.A. Foster is a Southern girl whose heart and spirit are connected to the beach. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children and two canine kiddos.
Her long love affair with books started at an early age and as soon as she was able, she transformed imaginative stories into words on paper. T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing or planning her next beach trip.