It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey is the first of a two book series following the Bellinger sisters. This one focuses on Piper, a bratty LA party girl who’s famous for doing nothing but being part of the LA elite. She spends her time spending her rich stepfather’s money and partying until one party goes too far and Piper gets arrested. Her stepfather, Daniel, comes up with the idea to ship Piper off to Westport, where her father was from, for three months as punishment. Her sister Hannah joins her to help her figure out how to survive.
Piper ends up reluctantly acclimating to her new surroundings, determined to make it work out for herself to get her ticket back to LA. What she didn’t consider was Brendan, the angry crab fisherman who wrote her off the second she arrived at Westport but couldn’t ignore or shake off no matter how badly he wanted to.
After spending some time in Westport, Piper and Hannah decide to redecorate the bar their father owned, No Name, in an effort to prove to Daniel that Piper had learned her lesson and would cut her three month sentence short. In that project, Brendan stepped in to help her, and thus began their steamy love story. At first, Brendan didn’t want anything to do with her when she arrived, but he couldn’t help being drawn to her and later he realized he was interested in her. Very interested in her.
While fixing up the bar, Piper and Brendan kissed. After that very hot kiss in the bar, Piper wasn’t sure if she wanted to pursue it as nothing more than a casual hookup. She knew Brendan wasn’t the causal type but she was, and to ensure she’d be able to leave for LA either early or when the 3 months were up, she convinced herself it needed to be casual. And as I said, Brendan was not the casual type. So after their very very spicy first hook up, they decided they were more than friends but didn’t want to put a label on it – though Brendan knew Piper was his girl, and Piper didn’t want to acknowledge that or else she’d have to come to terms with the fact that things were getting serious and her life might go in a different direction.
This story is very much about Piper finding herself. She thought she was just a vapid, Los Angeles party girl with no job and no other ambition, surrounded by fake people who cared more about their image than anything else. After landing in Westport and having to figure out how to survive, she realized she’s so much more than that image she so carefully cultivated in LA. She wasn’t just a pretty face who enjoyed a good party, she had depth and she didn’t realize it until Westport and Brendan. Though she does acknowledge that she is high maintenance and likes nice things, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. She, like many other women, are multidimensional. She struggles with accepting that if she becomes serious with Brendan, it means that she’s completely abandoning her old life in exchange for a chance at real love.
The “finding themselves” theme also applies to Brendan to some degree. His whole life changed when he met Piper – he broke most of his routines for her because he’d do anything to make her happy. On an unrelated note, he was also very communicative and emotionally available which makes me sad that he’s fictional but also very clear that a woman wrote this man 😂😭. Anyway, Brendan finally found someone who filled that hole in his heart and he became a different version of himself as a result of that. A stubborn man who wasn’t aware he was capable of change did just that to keep the love of his life.
Shenanigans ensue where Piper and Brendan’s relationship is left up in the air as Piper continued to struggle with having to choose between her old life in LA or this new one with Brendan. However, they end up coming back to themselves in the end (duh) to continue their life together and have rough, steamy sex regularly.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
Overall, I enjoyed Piper and Brendan’s story. It very much gave me a Schitt’s Creek vibe where I could totally picture Alexis as Piper – though Alexis didn’t date the fisherman version of the Brawny man on the show. Piper’s shift from LA party heiress to down to earth small town girl happened pretty fast, as did Brendan warming up to her. It was cute to read their banter and see them be honest with each other and about their feelings. It made me wish Brendan were real or rather that there were more men like Brendan out there. Piper was able to figure out her purpose and welcomed the shift in her life to get it with open arms. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars and peppers for the steamy sexy scenes. Don’t let the cartoon cover fool you!
Did you read It Happened One Summer? Let me know what you think in the comments!