I enjoy this cozy-style romance series and look forward to each new installment that carries me away to a southern small town, Last Chance and its quirky, but lovable characters. I did let it sit for a while, but that was because I forgot about it so was glad to dust it off again and have it come out for the TBR Pile vote. This was an interesting installment in the series because it had a strong suspense element and because it divided the romance in two as it followed the life and love of two sisters.
As I said, this is part of a series. I feel this series is one that can be read out of order or as standalones for the most part. Yes, there are mentions of past situations and the inclusion of past characters, but it isn’t enough to confuse the reader or affect the current story line. I can attest to this since I started around book five and had no trouble. Someday I will go back and get the earlier books.
So, this story starts with town matchmaker, Miriam Randall, entering Sabina Grey’s store and giving her a cryptic message about her love life. Sabina’s mother overhears some of it and races off to make big plans and scatter the news.
Sabina is disconcerted about the advice from Miriam- get her sister’s love life settled first and then it will be her turn. Ever since the fire back when they were kids, Sabina has felt guilty and responsible for her younger sister, Lucy. Lucy has a long-time boyfriend and Sabina is happy for her if not slightly jealous and frustrated because Ross is a fantastic guy and Lucy doesn’t seem to appreciate him enough. Sabina now has her own chance with a guy she treated poorly back in high school if only she can keep from comparing him to Ross and not sneaking kisses and dances with Ross.
Ross is fire chief of Last Chance and he loves his work. He is returned to Last Chance after growing up and going away to college, getting married and divorced to a woman who strung him along before finally leaving. Now, he’s with Lucy. She has control issues and keeps a list of things that have to happen before they can be married, but all in all, he’s okay with that since he’s in no rush himself. If once in a while his mind strays to Lucy’s older sister who shot him down three times before pushing him at Lucy and if he gets carried away and gets Sabina out on the dance floor and exchanges a kiss with her that rocks his world, well then.
But what he doesn’t need now is Lucy’s mother up in his grill about rushing the marriage because some old lady said that Lucy is standing in the way of Sabina’s happiness because suddenly the town has an arsonist and the Feds have rushed in putting even Ross on their suspect list even as the county is cutting budgets and his job is in jeopardy, too.
Lucy begins to panic as her well-laid plans and her need to control everything go up in smoke with Miriam Randall’s prediction and an arsonist on the loose. Rumors fly that something is going on between Ross and Sabina which she doesn’t believe and then Ross is thought to be the arsonist which she doesn’t believe, does she? Ross is deviating from the plan by getting a dog without her permission and looking at houses when that was a year off on her list’s timeline not now. And what is she to do with that attraction she feels for the flirty ATF guy investigating the fires who she secretly has the hots for and exchanged a kiss with and has her firmly in his sights as suspect or something else?
Alright, so this one felt a bit like I was dropped into Shakespeare’s crazy Midsummer Night’s Dream or something. Miriam makes a pronouncement and then the mayhem ensues. This one got a bit crazy and I figured out quickly that I couldn’t take it too seriously or I’d get frustrated fast with this group of oblivious and confused people that are all with the wrong person and feel stuck in the situation they are in. Thank goodness for fires, danger, and happenstance to rattle them out of their idiocy. LOL.
But seriously, I did have a like/dislike thing in equal amounts going with this book. I’m honestly surprised that I finished it. One of the heroines never did earn even mild liking, the characters and their issues were problematic because I found them all somewhat wishy-washy. And the romances that involved all of them cheating- albeit mildly, kisses only- were off-putting as a result.
So why did I finish? While the current cast of characters and their romances were issues, the overall story was not. The setting has long been a favorite. The humor I feel toward the nutso quirkiness of this town and its characters was still there. And even though I wasn’t a hundred percent into the main group and their tangled relationships, it wasn’t loathing and I did want to see them untangle it and get sorted out. I also wanted to see those who were manipulating things get their comeuppance.
Though this one won’t be a favorite in the series, I still enjoyed my visit to Last Chance and look forward to what comes next. I would recommend this series to those who enjoy gently-paced touched with humor and a bit of romp small town contemporary romances.
My thanks to Forever-Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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