A Fake Dating, Neurospicy Romance!
Bazaar Girls Book Cover Bazaar Girls
Townsend Harbor (Book 3)
Cynthia St. Aubin & Kerrigan Byrne
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Oliver-Herber Books
August 29, 2023
ebook, paperback

Gemini "Gemma" McKendrick knows just about everything about everybody in Townsend Harbor. When she's not serving on one of the many civic positions or leaping headlong into another hobby, she's hosting the Sunday Stitch 'N Bitch at her yarn and craft shop, Bazaar Girls. But all her schmoozing isn't converting to sales, and with her quirky boutique in big trouble, she makes a snap decision to rent out the basement of her cozy craftsman to Townsend Harbor newcomer Gabe Kelly. A man with a past as colorful as his tattoo sleeves, who has become an urban legend since he blew into town. And who better than Gemma, Townsend Harbor's own gossip guru, to answer the rumor mill's most pressing questions? Like whether the silver-tongued mechanic is as good with his hands as he is with a socket wrench.

Gabriel "Gabe" Kelly wasn't born into a family so much as a criminal enterprise. Taught to lift, chop, and rebuild cars since before he could tie his own shoes, he's obliged to pay his debt to society before deserting Boston for Townsend Harbor, Washington.. A place he could stay out of trouble. He immediately lands about the only job an ex-con with prison muscles and neck tattoos could easily find in a town like this-a mechanic for a high-end vintage car shop. Moonlighting as the only tow truck in a thirty-mile radius, he rescues the absent-minded hottie who runs the local yarn shop. But he quickly discovers that a toy-sized car with a dashboard lit up by Christmas isn't the only thing in Gemma McKendrick's life desperately in need of maintenance. Gabe, who is uniquely qualified to diagnose and fix complicated mechanisms, finds his sexy landlord is impossible to figure out. Looks like he'll have to take a peek at her undercarriage to find out what makes her purr before he hits the road again.

Because women of her caliber don't take home guys with his make and model...

“You deserve someone who appreciates you for who you are, not who they want you to be.”

It’s the perfect time of year to revisit Townsend Harbor by way of this amazing upcoming release from Cynthia St. Aubin and Kerrigan Byrne. Bazaar Girls features a vibrant neurospicy main character, and a reformed bad boy who is not only chivalrous but also desperate to keep his past away from his present.

Our heroine, Gemini (Gemma) McKendrick is a twin and while Lyra got the neuro-typical brain, Gemma has been gifted with the neurospicy genes presumably from their mother. Where Lyra is lauded, Gemma is lamented. I related to Gemma and felt so bad for all the flack she took growing up and attempting to find footing in her family. While Lyra left Townsend Harbor as soon as she was able, Gemma wanted nothing more than to start up her own shop and sell yarns for like-minded enthusiasts. However, her parents are determined to pull the plug as their confidence in Gemma’s success is in the metaphorical basement.

Gemma was sweetness and light, the girl next door with a heart of gold.

This is where our reluctant hero, Gabriel (Gabe) Kelly enters the picture. He came to Townsend Harbor to help his pal from Boston, Darby, make her presence and acceptance known. He stayed in Townsend Harbor and re-opened the only auto garage. Scraping out an existence of seemingly nothing is hard to do with a criminal background, but Gabe is determined to keep himself out of trouble and keep his past in Boston where it belongs. I was instantly charmed by the fact that both Gemma and Gabe cannot take their eyes off the other and all of their mutual friends see through their poorly disguised excuses.

When Gabe rescues Gemma from her broken down car on the side of the road, she offers up the basement apartment of her home on a whim. Gabe quickly accepts and from there he inserts himself in the most romantic and quiet of ways: A clean kitchen, coffee and breakfast taken care of without question, even offering to do what he can to help her save her beloved business, dubbed Bazaar Girls.  Their short-lived happiness is interrupted by Gemma’s family descending upon Townsend Harbor determined to save Gemma from herself.

For the first time in a long time, Gabe was eager to see what tomorrow was going to look like. Because it would be the first time in as long as he could remember that a woman trusted him enough to stay the whole night in his bed.

When Gemma’s family comes to town is when Bazaar Girls truly gets to the heart of the story. Which is why I’ll leave the summary here and tell you exactly why I think you all need to read this charming and emotional story. Being neurodivergent is a reality for many people, and Gemma’s story truly pulled at my heartstrings. Gabe also charmed me to no end. His earnest and determined attitude gives off a knight in slightly tarnished armor kind of vibe. The way both authors have handled the McKendrick family drama, as well as the Kelly family drama that pops up is done with respect and lots of feelings.

I love being able to go into a story and think I understand the characters, but then everything gets turned on its head and I end up loving these characters even more than when I started. Aubin and Byrne have created such a whimsical and charming town in Townsend Harbor and I cannot wait to see what else is in the works. Bazaar Girls is definitely not to miss!