Guest Review: Lay It Down by Mary Calmes

Paradise can be hell.

Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.

Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.

Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.

Guest Reviewer: Adam

Over the top, odd circumstances, insta-love, family drama, and a HEA. In other words, it’s classic Mary Calmes.

To enjoy a book by Mary Calmes, just sit back and let it happen.


Stranded by his twin brother, Hudson Barber wakes up in a villa in Ibiza. Without his passport and with no way to get back home, Hudson decides to make the best of the situation and puts his business degree to use to turn around a few failing businesses on the island that belong to the villa’s owner, and his brother’s ex, Miguel Garcia Arquero.

When Miguel returns from business from mainland Spain, he finds his villa and staff in order, and his businesses on the way to thriving. He’s also not that cut up about his ex trading spots with his brother, and decides to convince Hudson that they’re meant to be together.

Honestly, I was a bit weirded out at first by the brothers swapping their lovers. It’s just odd, and the family reunions are probably going to be a tad awkward. But I got with the program pretty quickly. Especially when Miguel returns home and we get one of those signature love-at-first-sight scenes that Mary does so well.

I can’t help but root for Mary’s couples, no matter how quickly they go from strangers to soulmates.

I do have to say that Dalvon was a complete prick. No matter how many excuses Hudson made for him, I didn’t see him as anything other than a gold-digging immature brat. Plus, there was that whole drama at the end that Dalvon didn’t see fit to inform his brother and ex about. I didn’t understand how Miguel, let alone Hudson, put up with Dalvon for so long.

The reason that I’m not giving this book 4 stars is because I don’t think readers really get a good look at Miguel. He doesn’t show up in the book until after the first third, and then there are just a series of events strung together that don’t give much time to actually get to know Miguel. The book is fairly short to begin with, so he doesn’t get all that much page-time.

I think either bringing Miguel in earlier or adding a few more pages that focused on Miguel and Hudson together would have rounded everything out better.

In any case, ‘Lay it Down’ is a quick and enjoyable read, with a sweet romance, a bit of action, and some steamy sex. Recommended for fans of Mary Calmes.

Dreamspinner Press

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