Tempted by Love
by Melissa Foster
Release Date: September 9, 2020
Publisher: World Literary Press
Book #1 in the Steeles of Silver Island series
Part of the larger Love in Bloom series
Number of Pages: 325
Source: Pre-ordered through Amazon
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 9/13/20 to 9/15/20
Years ago, bestselling author Jack “Jock” Steele lost his girlfriend and baby in a horrific accident that drove a wedge between Jock and his family, keeping him from sharing a devastating secret. An aging philanthropist saved him from the brink of despair, and for a decade Jock cared for his ailing friend who became his family. Now his friend has passed away and left him a fortune—on the condition that he publishes another book. Jock is floundering, unsure how to rebuild the life he’d walked away from, much less find his muse, have another relationship with a woman, or even think about having a family of his own. But he can’t get his sweet, sexy new friend, single-mother Daphne Zablonski out of his head, and her adorable toddler must know something he doesn’t, because she wraps her tiny fingers around his heart and won’t let go.
Daphne has been through the wringer with her ex-husband and doesn’t believe true love is in the cards for her. Friends she can handle, but letting a man see her mom bod naked? Especially someone as strikingly handsome and unbelievably sexy as Jock? No, thank you. Besides, she has a toddler to chase after and enough fictional boyfriends to fill her lonely nights. If only her book boyfriends could make her body tingle the way one look from her mysterious neighbor does.
As Jock and Daphne’s friendship turns to something too tempting to deny, their lives take an unexpected turn. Can a man who has lost everything find redemption with a woman who has everything to lose? And then there’s that secret…
This book is so amazingly sweet and sexy and heartwarming and beautiful. It’s really all the good adjectives. If you’ve been reading the Love in Bloom stories, you already know both Jock and Daphne. And, although these books are written so they can be read as standalone stories, I feel like you’d get so much more out of the story if you, at the very least, read Bayside Fantasies for a bit more insight into Jock and his situation.
I love the relationship Daphne and Jock build once Jock makes up his mind to work on his issues. But I even loved them both before that. The horror Jock felt at possibly hurting Daphne or her daughter Hadley squeezed my heart. And that mama bear inside of Daphne was so true and real.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this story was getting to know Jock’s family better. I can’t wait to see where things go for his siblings, especially Archer. I’m excited about the citizens of Silver Island and where this locale can be blended into so many future Love in Bloom stories.
Of course, I love all of Daphne’s friends, but they would sometimes upset me when they didn’t see how much she was being held back. I understood their reasons for not wanting to expand. They have found their HEAs and want time with their families, not more time working. But nobody seemed to realize what it meant to her and offer to help her come up with some other ideas to stretch her mental muscles and find fulfillment. It was a joy to see Daphne find the courage to go for what she wants, in many different ways. As the story progressed, she found more and more confidence and learned to speak up. Part of that was unlearning things that she learned in her first marriage to a man who never helped to build her up. I was cheering for her throughout and so happy to watch her growth.
Another winner from Melissa Foster.