by L.P. Dover
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Number of pages: 212
Source: ARC from Net Galley
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 3/29/19 to 3/30/19
Aubrey Reynolds is a small-town girl who’s made it big. A successful Hollywood director, Aubrey doesn’t have time to linger on what could have been. But when a routine blood test comes back with a false positive, she decides to take some time off to do the things she’s always wanted to do: taste the famous chocolate chip cookies at the Minnesota State Fair, hike the Grand Teton National Park, scuba dive in the Caribbean. But after Aubrey admits to herself what she’s really missing, she heads back home to Dusty Valley, Oklahoma . . . and the man she left behind.
Cole Haywood is a small-town fireman and that’s just fine with him. Sure, when the love of his life left their hometown to chase her dreams he was heartbroken and—he’ll admit—damn mad. But Cole would have never forgiven himself if he had held Aubrey back from success. So the last thing he expects after all these years is to walk into his favorite bar one night and find the girl he’s always loved—there—looking for him. Maybe now’s the time to make his dreams come true.
Sometimes I think I’m a glutton for punishment. Sometimes I know I’m just one for giving second (and third, and fourth) chances. As much as I enjoyed the chemistry of this author’s characters in her Breakaway series, there were a lot of things that drove me crazy with her writing. After the last in that series I really thought I’d leave her behind. Then this title popped up as available on Net Galley and I loved the description. I hemmed and hawed, but ended up giving in since I really had wanted to give this author a chance with something other than a hockey romance. (I read one other standalone by her that I wasn’t crazy about, but not enough to make a true judgement.)
I’m happy to report there were no timeline issues in this story. Yay! That has been one of my major issues with her stories in the past. While I still think there was plenty more research she could do with her back story on her characters, it wasn’t as glaringly obvious in this story and I was able to suspend my disbelief for much of the tale. These are all positive things. I lamented that I hadn’t seen much growth in her as an author when I got to the last book in the Breakaway series. Well, I now see that growth in her writing in many ways.
Both Aubrey and Cole are loveable characters. They have a definite spark. Not as much heat and chemistry as I’m used to with her love interests, but there was an undeniable connection. More than anything, their love and this story are sweet. In a good way.
If you regularly read my reviews you know I hate to give spoilers and therefore I often have to be vague in my thoughts. That’s going to be hard for the next part, but I’m hoping I don’t ruin anything. As much as I’m ecstatic that Cole and Aubrey didn’t have the stubborn standoff of not being open and honest yet getting upset that the other was holding back, I also felt the story was somewhat resolved by halfway through. The rest of the book there were little things here and there, but all the real conflict came more from each character having an inner struggle. Not that I want every story I read to be predictable and follow the exact same pattern, but there is a basic outline to how a story flows for a reason…it makes sense. The flow of this story threw me off and left me feeling a bit empty.
Overall all, I think this author has learned a lot since the first stories I read by her. She has a decent size library of work so there are obviously fans of her other work, too. I can’t say for sure if I’ll give her another go, but this time she didn’t totally scare me away. Baby steps.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**