Lucky by Kris Bryant is a sweet romance that highlights a writer who continues to grow her art form. This is Bryant’s first story in third person format and it shows that no matter what style she chooses to write in, she has the winning combination every time.
Serena Evans has won the Colorado lottery, and it is literally the best thing that could ever happen to her. Gone are the days of living paycheck to paycheck. She quits her crappy job, buys a reliable car, a spacious house, and the sweetest dog to keep her company. But more than anything, Serena’s excited to open Pet Posh Inn, a pet hotel that will fulfill her dream of caring for and being surrounded by animals. All she needs now is a talented architect to turn it into a reality.
Gabrielle Barnes has worked her way to the top of Arnest & Max Architecture, the most lucrative architectural firm in Denver. However, the glass ceiling is firmly in place with the board, and Gabrielle just needs a chance to prove herself. That time arrives when one of the partners retires, leaving a vacancy. Gabrielle wants that coveted spot so badly she can taste it. When a lucrative contract falls into her lap, Gabrielle knows this will be the job that will land her that promotion, but she wasn’t expecting it be a place for animals, nor the client to be so attractive.
Can Serena and Gabrielle bring the Pet Posh Inn to life? Or will their conflicting ideas keep them on the boundaries of a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Serena is one of the nicest, compassionate people you will ever meet. Unfortunately, she’s had a hard life. Her mother is a recovering alcoholic, so Serena had to give up a lot of her dreams and desires to take care of her younger sister. As an adult, Serena is just trying to stay afloat, but that hasn’t diminished her beautiful spirit, and she’s now seeing the fruits of her sacrifice. Her sister is an accomplished chef, she has a great group of friends who look after her, and her mother…well, it’s a work in progress. Then on a whim, she decides to buy a lottery ticket instead of a Diet Coke for lunch and her entire world is turned upside down. Now she has all this money to do whatever she wants, and what she wants is to nurture a love she didn’t have the ability to do so until now: her love for animals. With this money, Serena wants to open her home and her heart to all four-legged creatures. She hires the best firm and the best architect to fulfill her dream. If only they could see eye-to-eye to get the ball rolling.
Gabrielle lacks for nothing in her life, except maybe a girlfriend. She is driven and desires to become the first woman partner at Arnest & Max Architecture, so she has no time for romance. Quick hook-ups are all she needs with her busy schedule, but other areas of her life are pretty fulfilling. She has a tight group of friends (even a couple you may recognize), her family is very supportive and loving, and even though she works long and arduous hours, her job is satisfying. When she is hired to design Serena’s dream pet hotel, Gabrielle knows this will be the job that will lead to her partnership with the firm. What she doesn’t expect is to find that one thing she’s been missing in the one person that is totally unexpected.
Both women want the best for Serena’s vision. It’ll take some compromise, some negotiation, but in the end they may just walk away with something more wonderful than what they plan on paper.
The Writing Style
For those of you who have been waiting for Bryant to write a story in third person, wait no longer! While I always love Bryant’s first person stories, there are times, as a reader, I wish I knew what the other character was thinking at the same moment I’m in the main character’s point of view. There’s no better time for Bryant to take on this new perspective than with Serena and Gabrielle. Both women have so many nuances and layers that this story really only can be told from both perspectives. Bryant’s style is still visible throughout the story yet telling it from this perspective expands her creation in the best way possible.
I was really happy to see Bryant highlight the practicality of winning the lottery. Yes, Serena does “splurge” in buying a new house and a new car, not to mention the cutest dog on the planet. But she gets a financial planner, she hires a law firm to look after her interests, she invests in her sister’s future. She’s not the type to blow her money on frivolous things. She wants sensible things, yet has no issues going forward and using that money to make her overall dream come true. A dream, true to Serena’s character, that brings her a lot of joy and also benefits her community.
I feel like Bryant gets a little something from tourism companies because her descriptions of the scenery, whether it’s Alaska or Colorado, just make me want to visit a travel agent and book a trip. And if she’s not getting something, well…maybe she should.
I hope this is not Bryant’s last story in third person. By giving us both Serena and Gabrielle’s perspectives, she brings a complexity that heightens your anticipation of their coming together, as well as the desire they feel for one another. Definitely pick this one up and tell Bryant she needs to seriously think about keeping this style in her repertoire for future stories.
Excerpt from Lucky by Kris Bryant
“It’s nice, it’s just not as exciting as I’d hoped.” Serena liked the design Gabrielle came up with, but thought it was a little flat. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s everything I asked for, it’s just too much like a shelter instead of something warm and cozy.”
“Okay, well, this is just a starting point. We can take each area and talk about improvement,” Gabrielle said.
Even though Gabrielle had a smile on her face, Serena could see the tension in her shoulders and the tightness in the corners of her mouth. She regretted being so candid with her. Maybe being sequestered from society for over a few months had broken her filters. She needed to dial it back…
“Maybe we can have a field trip to a doggie daycare and pick up some ideas.” Again, Serena saw Gabrielle visibly stiffen. She automatically put her hand on Gabrielle’s forearm. “This is a good start. I mean that.”
Gabrielle nodded. “Let me google a few places and we can hit them today if you have time.”
“Of course. I’ll even buy us lunch,” Serena said. She instantly regretted the offer when Gabrielle’s shoulders stiffened again. “Or not. We can just go to the places and take notes.”
“I refuse to let a client pay for lunch. It’ll be my treat,” Gabrielle said.
“Deal.” Because of the escalating uneasiness of their conversation, Serena decided to keep the words to a minimum for fear she’d continue to upset Gabrielle. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t trying.
“There are two doggie daycares close by…I think we can hit one before lunch and the rest after. Does that sound good?” The look that Gabrielle shot Serena was one that made her heart beat quicker. Not because it was sexual, but because it was intense.
“I can follow you,” Serena said.
“Absolutely not. We can take my car. That way we can discuss it on the way there and on the way back.”
“Okay.” Serena grabbed her bag and followed Gabrielle out of the conference room. She felt bad that they were going to places with animals and Gabrielle was dressed in a suit again. With heels. No wonder she was perturbed.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635555103
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Kris Bryant Online
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