Review: The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone

thesummerhecamehomeSummer He Came Home (Bad Boys of Crystal lake #1) by Juliana Stone
Contemporary Romance
April 2, 1013
Sourcebooks

Reviewed by Tori

Favorite Quote: “We were kings back then and didn’t even know it. We had no responsibility and the world at our feet.”

Cain Black, one of the original bad boys of Crystal Lake, shocked the town when he turned down a full ride football scholarship to college in order to chase his dreams of rock and roll stardom. Now, ten years later, he’s come back home to attend the funeral of a good friend. Fame and fortune has shined brightly on him but he finds himself at a crossroad-ready for something different in life. When he meets Maggie O’Rourke, he feels like he has finally come home.

Single mother Maggie O’Rourke came to Crystal Lake to start over and found a town more than willingly to embrace her and her son. Financially broke with a battered heart and a dark secret, love is not a luxury she can afford right now but Cain Black pushes all her buttons and she soon finds herself swept up in his orbit. While she enjoys the ride, she can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen when Cain goes back to the hot lights and even hotter women of L.A.

As Cain and Maggie find themselves falling deeper into a relationship they never planned on having, they both learn that fate has a way of giving us what we need when we least expect it.

Juliana Stone’s Summer He Came Home is a sensual romantic contemporary set in the small town of Crystal Lake. Part of a trilogy that follows the lives four childhood friends. I will admit, while reading this, I kept hearing the theme song from the Jason movies.  Humor and angst run side by side as we slip effortlessly into the lives of these residents and the stories they have to tell us. While there are multiple storylines running abound, the main attraction is Cain Black and Maggie O’Rourke.

The rockstar and the maid.

Cain Black is the frontman for his band, BlackRock. On his way to international stardom, Cain finds out the hard way that fame and fortune often come at a heavy price. In this case, his ex wife and ex best friend played him for a fool and he is beginning to feel like there must be something more out there than just existing in this lifestyle. He needs to feel wanted for more than just his rockstar status. Coming home has made him realize he is ready for the next chapter of his life-a home and a family.

Maggie O’Rourke is a single mom with a young son and hiding a dark secret. She is slowly trying to piece her life back together and provide a safe home for her son; cleaning houses in town. She first sees Cain at the reception after the funeral of hometown hero, Jesse. The attraction is instant but she has no romantic plans in her future, especially with a notorious womanizer who will be leaving town soon.

Maggie and Cain ignite at first meeting. You have no doubt they WILL get together, it’s just the WHEN that is in question. I liked that neither Maggie nor Cain played games with one another, though Maggie isn’t as easy to trust Cain as he is to trust her. Which surprised me a little. I would have felt he would have been more closed off due to his celebrity status. He is pretty much an open book. Cain is a very sensual man which makes the romance is pretty steamy and we are inundated with plenty of internal and external dialogue to support this.

“I want to know what you think about before you fall asleep. I want to know who you think about when you’re alone in the shower. What makes you laugh. What makes you scared. I want to know you.”

“I want…you.”

I found myself able to connect more with Cain then Maggie. He has no problems with verbalizing what he wants from life and Maggie. He has a way with words and actions that leave you no doubt he is a good man. Maggie, on the other hand, is more reserved, which is understandable once her secret is revealed, but most of the book I felt she was more swept up in Cain’s feelings for her rather than experiencing her own. I also found her stubbornness to be irritating after a certain point. She claims they are going too fast but she wants long term promises at the same time.

Personable secondary characters add depth, background, and a sense of continuation to the story. Cain reconnects with his childhood friends and we are given clues to future storylines involving them. Jake, Jesse’s twin brother, is having a hard time dealing with his brother’s death, his time spent in Afghanistan, and his brother’s widow. Mac is also fighting his own demons; dealing with his abusive father. I enjoyed meeting the various residents of Crystal Lake, whose sage and often unsolicited advice brings humor to the story.

While I overall enjoyed the story, I did find it pretty formulaic. The romance follows a predictable path and the main conflict resolves itself in a fairly sedate manner for the lead up. I would have liked to have seen more of Cain’s life in L.A. in order to fully appreciate the point he is at now. Also, I’m curious to how Maggie will deal with Cain’s fame and everything that comes with it. I was also unsettled that we didn’t really learn much about Jesse, the friend they all came home to bury. We get bits and pieces but no real insight into his personality.The story ends on a happy note but with just enough left open to lead us into book two-The Christmas He Loved Her-which releases October 2013. Though I wasn’t blown away by Summer He Came Home, I was intrigued enough by the secondary character’s possible storylines to want to read the next one.

Overall Rating: C

Recent Reviews:
Dear Author – C
Happily Ever After-Reads – B+
Delighted Reader – B+
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