New York Nights by C.J. Duggan

In brief: Sarah jumps at the chance to be an au pair in New York City. But there’s more than a few odd things about working for Ben Worthington. His family talk warn her not to ask questions, but how can she not when Ben looks so hurt?

The good: Sarah is a fun and sassy character and New York is just gorgeous.

The not-so-good: I must admit, the baby stuff isn’t my style.

Why I chose it: I loved Paris Lights, thanks to Hachette for sending me this book (the second standalone book in the Heart of the City series).

Year: 2017

Pages: 306

Publisher: Hachette

Setting: New York City

My rating: 8 out of 10

I’m really glad that I’ve discovered C.J. Duggan’s novels – her writing is sassy and witty with strong female characters who are willing to take on anything, no holds barred. New York Nights is the second book in the Heart of the City series, but both are standalone stories. What they have in common is the themes of love in a big city and young women nailing standing on their own two feet. These books are delightful summer reads, perfect for the beach or in my case, under the air conditioner in 42˚C heat!

Sarah Williams has always enjoyed being an au pair in her small Aussie rural town, but when the family move to Slovenia, she’s not really up for that. Fortunately her employer knows someone looking for an au pair in New York City, so in a dream come true, she flies over to be interviewed by the Worthingtons. It’s not the ideal interview as two of the women are as cold as ice, but the third is warm and insists Sarah is perfect for the job. She just has to remember one thing – don’t ask questions. Sarah is naturally inquisitive and stands up for what’ right, but she’s got this. Plus, it’s New York City with a cute little baby. There will be walks through Central Park, strolls to the Magnolia Bakery and a wonderful rooftop space to enjoy the sunshine.

Um, not quite. Grace is a cute baby, but she’s not into sleep. Plus her father, Ben is an enigma. His preferred method of communication is short, sharp texts or emails. He generally avoids Grace. But then sometimes he’s warm, funny and genuinely interested in Sarah. Sarah can’t make him out and begins to ask questions. Which occasionally Ben answers before he shuts down. What will it take for Ben to open up to Sarah and Grace? Will Sarah make it out of New York City with her heart intact?

New York Nights has a slightly more serious tone than Paris Lights, possibly because Sarah has much more responsibility with Grace and Ben doesn’t like to talk. It’s still a satisfying ending, perfect for the couple but there’s a lot more at stake here. There is Ben’s past to be revealed, which isn’t all that pretty, plus the family dynamics of the Worthingtons. They are not a happy family, with multiple divisions and secrets ramped up to CIA Top Secret levels. Finding out their secrets was nearly as fun as reading about Sarah and Ben. I did get slightly sick of Grace being fussy, probably because she’s pre-cute baby stage and just sleeps, poops and cries. Fortunately the focus moved from Sarah and Grace to Sarah and Ben at just the right time for me. This was also when Ben began to open up more, changing him from a brooding enigma to sultry hero. The glimpse into the au pair scene of NYC was equal parts horrifying and fascinating. I liked that New York Nights had more happening that just the romance, which kept me reading and reading and reading! It’s a fun, easy read which delights and the detail about New York is extra gorgeous. It’s obvious that a lot of careful research went on here!

Now my biggest problem is waiting for the third book in the series, London Bound, which is released late March. C.J. Duggan’s book are the perfect treat for me, combining beautiful locations with a fun, sexy read.

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