Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on January 7, 2014
Who says you can’t go back? Emma Burnett learned a hard life lesson that still leaves a mark and also a determination to stay away from men since she obviously can’t choose them right. But now she is living her dream of owning her own veterinary practice back in her home town. She has her parents and her best gal pals and she is resigned to a long cold spell with her love life until attractive Luke McCormack brings in his police dog, Boomer, in for a strained leg. Not long after that, she’s on a Just Friends date and its tough to remember why she put a moratorium on men. Luke isn’t the guy who hurt her, but she doesn’t dare give up the hard fought for independence and she can’t possibly lean on a man for help ever again no matter that a rash of robberies around town even a break in at her own vet office makes her nervous.
Luke swore ‘Never Again’ when he saw the back of his ex-wife. He didn’t get women and he wasn’t putting his heart out there ever again. Hook-ups? Sure Relationships? Not Happening. So why was he constantly thinking about the sweet attractive vet and why was he going out with her again? Between dinners with the folks, dogs getting along like family, baseball game, weekend at the lake, shooting lessons and sleepovers, his resolve weakens and he starts to want something with the skittish Emma if only she would want him back.
This was a first of series story set in small town, Hope, Oklahoma. It was a gentle story in pacing, plot and development. The scenes move along in a lazy manner that was a pleasant thing to experience though I will admit to wanting to pick up the pace sooner than it did. The small ranch town atmosphere and the glimpses at fun activities like the minor league ball game, the pet adoption fair and the weekend at the lake were so well drawn and engaging. There was a little mystery for Luke and Boomer to work on with the prescription drugs thief. The inclusion of time with family, friends, and those adorable dog pals was great too.
The romance was nice and by necessity slow developing even though it had a sultry build of tension as they fought and yielded to the attraction. Both of them got burned in the past. At first, there was this thing about laying off the opposite sex forever just because of one mistake for each and that is a way of thinking that drives me nuts, but I let it go discovering that it was more than that. Luke was abandoned by his mom and his wife after his wife showed her true colors and it had all been a lie before so he did have the sense that this is what women did once they hooked a man’s feelings. Emma only had one bad relationship experience, but it was a doozy. It was very abusive and not just physically. She was mentally abused as well which took the heftier toll on her psyche. So in the end, I was really rooting for these two to overcome their fears and believe what the facts and their own eyes were telling them about each other.
[quote]“And these fries are awesome.”
“Thanks. I never have anyone to fix them for, and they’re my favorites, so you actually did me a favor.”
“So what you’re saying is that you had an ulterior motive for inviting me to dinner.”
She waggled her brows. “Maybe.”
He shoved in another, chewed, and then cast a smile her way.
“I can accept that I was used to satisfy your lust for bacon cheese fries. I’m glad to help you out. You let me know whenever the urge strikes. I’ll help you satisfy your cravings.”
- 71 Emma and Luke from Hope Flames[/quote]
All in all, I found this a nice cozy read and would recommend it to those who love small town settings, slightly spicy romance and a gently developing plot.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mt. TBR #78
Romance Roundabout #154 CR
New to Me #80 series
Cliché Klatch #77 ‘live in fear’
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