Genres: Contemporary Romance
Released on November 3, 2015
I love a good underdog story and it’s even more fun paired with a tempestuous romance. I had a good time watching a dying town slowly come to life, its people coming together to help each other out, and, eventually, I enjoyed the romance.
The story opens with wedding planner, Jenni Beth Beaumont, deciding to leave her solid, stable Savannah job to go home and help support her grieving parents who have let everything go so that they are in danger of losing the family home. Jenni Beth has to come up with a money earner to restore the finances and feels the old plantation house is the answer. She’ll turn it into a destination wedding location. Her plans are ambitious, but doable if the local bank will give her the loan, or so she believes until she really takes a look at her hometown and realize it is dying. But she sure plans to keep an eye on Cole because she is sure he can’t be on the up and up.
Cole Bryson was Wes Beaumont’s best friend and was used to Jenni Beth tagging along as the kid sister. He hurt her badly back in high school when he stood her up for the prom and then later when he really screwed up by sleeping with her and running. Now she is in difficulties and she doesn’t even know the half of it. Jenni Beth is getting set to gamble everything on her ability to pull off her dream even while a scheming banker and his confederate are planning that she fail so they can snag her lucrative bottom land. He has to help her even if she is dead set against letting others help and particularly him. Maybe if he does this, he will finally figure out what to do with the fear and feelings he has for the feisty Jenni Beth.
I found this one a story that was overall enjoyable, but it wasn’t a complete win. The heroine drove me nuts for well over half the story. I thought her plans were a great dream and I was rooting for her. I also thought she was a wonderful giving person the way she was respectful and caring of her grieving parents and the people of her town. She came home and never resented dropping her life in the city to clean up her parents mess and work hard for others. But that was one side of the coin. I also thought, like the hero, that she wasn’t being realistic about how big of an endeavor she was putting into motion. She seemed to have the idea that because she was giving her all that would automatically deliver victory. So when others want to help -particularly in their fields of expertise where she’s an ignoramus- and she gets cranky and grudging about it, I wanted to thump her. Her childish quarreling with the hero, refusing to be a grown up and let him apologize for his past behavior and show that he wants to make up for it, is what really annoyed me. She made him work so hard (not that he didn’t deserve a bit of that) and yet the way she was acting I was hard pressed to see why he bothered.
That said, when things started working out, I loved their time spent together. Jenni Beth was so resentful that it was rewarding to see her spend lots of time with Cole and slowly realize that there is a lot more to him than she ever imagined. He’s a handsome, cocky guy, but he isn’t arrogant. He likes to quietly help people and he has a passion for his reclamation and salvage business. While her temper frustrates him, he is also amused by it. And he respects her drive to succeed and doesn’t try to take over. The descriptions of Cole’s renovated barn home made me want to visit for real like lucky Jenni Beth. Cole had commitment issues and got hung up on Jenni Beth being his best friend’s little sister, but he was still a great guy and took care of others. I was glad when Jenni Beth got over herself and saw this side of him.
The conflict over the deliberate efforts to sabotage her added a nice conflict beyond what was going on with the romance. There is an obvious villain, but also one that is hiding in plain sight. I enjoyed seeing Jenni Beth and the others working to counter the bad guys’ efforts. The whole town was working together and that was neat.
So, for the most part, I was delighted by my intro to a new series and author. It’s a fade to black type of romance that borders on mostly sweet with a touch of spice. This is for those who enjoy a heartwarming, small town contemporary romance.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #192 CR
Mt. TBR #81
New to Me #78 author/series
Blogger Shame #23