No More Wasted Time by Beverly Preston for the second time. I love this book SO much. It's a romance novel, but it's not the typical, annoying girl-meets-boy (who happens to be a gazillionaire), and poof they're in love and married within days. This does have the gazillionaire male lead, but even that is treated differently.
Warning: I can't talk about this without being all spoilery, so be aware. Although, it's a romance. Happily ever after and all that so you should go in knowing how it ultimately ends anyway.
Tess is the main character. She is a 45 year old mother of three children, ranging from ages 18-23. Her husband of almost 25 years died a year previously. The book opens in the airport, where she is sending her daughters off to Europe for a group tour, and she is leaving herself for Bora Bora. That was the favorite vacation spot of hers and her husband's, and she is taking his ashes there for a final goodbye and closure.
The first morning there, she encounters Tom, a famous movie actor, and the next morning finds out he has stolen her private boat tour that was their favorite activity on the island, and when she was going to release his ashes. She is livid, and unleashes her temper at him. Ultimately, they share the trip and she is glad he's there.
Moving on - Tess and Tom are very attracted to each other. She has read in the tabloids he doesn't commit, ever, and she isn't looking for a relationship. She feels like she was lucky enough to have her husband for so long, and to have been happy with him throughout their marriage. She doesn't think she'll find that again. They have a vacation fling, but as they get to know each other better it turns into more. Since she had suddenly lost her husband, Tess had developed a mantra of "life is too short to waste time being unhappy."
Here is what's different, though: Reality. Tess, understandably, deals with guilt about her husband. Also, she has her kids. True, they are mostly grown, but they are still part of her life and the "total package." Tom likes to do things for her, but she adamantly doesn't want his money. She and her husband were careful with theirs, and she has her own. She doesn't need him to take care of her, and has to learn to let him give her things. There is conflict with her kids, who only know the tabloid version of his life and want to protect her. But, they deal with everything together. He gives her space when she needs to grieve for her husband. They talk about him and her memories. Another big difference between other typical romance novels is the couple's ages. Tess is 45 and Tom is 49. They are mature enough to deal with relationship issues. Tess is a fireball, though, and one major conflict she actually drives over her phone to keep Tom from calling, but in the end they have a real discussion and work things out.
Ultimately, Tess and Tom have their happily ever after. Tom, who has never had a family of his own, develops relationships with all three of Tess's kids, and Tess blends seamlessly into Tom's A-list life. And the message of the book, reflected in the title, is universal, regardless of financial status: Life is short. Enjoy your time with your loved ones. Treat yourself well, and your loved ones well. And Tess and Tom's financial motto is a good one - give some, save a lot, and truly live with the rest.