Reviewed by Helyce
Favorite Quote: “I didn’t tell you his story to resurrect your demons,” she said before he’d taken a single step. “Just thought you should know that someone sees you. Even if it is a little late, Donovan, I see you.”
From Goodreads: For Donovan Pate, the lake town of Evergreen Cove is a minefield of tough memories—including the day he had to let go of Sofie Martin. Years later, he still can’t forget the taste of her lips and the feel of her killer curves. He knows he’s too damaged, that he should stay away for her own good. But what the head says and the heart wants are two very different things…
Seven years ago, Donovan broke Sofie’s heart. Now her career depends on playing nice in order to pull off the charity fundraiser of the decade. She vows to keep things professional…yet working by his side every day doesn’t make it easy to fight temptation, and it isn’t long before she finds herself falling for this bad boy all over again. But loving Donovan means helping him face his past–so they can fight for a future together.
Donny Pate returns to his hometown when he learns his grandmother has died and has left him Pate Mansion. He has no attachment to the house; in fact he intends to clean up the place and sell it to his friend Alessandro who plans to turn the huge mansion into a Bed & Breakfast. He hopes to do all this as quick as possible, and leave Evergreen Cove as quickly as he can.
His plans are ruined when he learns that his grandmother had signed a contract to host a charity dinner at the mansion that would benefit abused children. The irony that his grandmother would be involved in such a cause after allowing her own son to beat him infuriates Donny, and there no way is he going to delay his plans for a quick turnover of the mansion. He plans on telling the event coordinator that she will have to find a new venue.
All his plans for a quick escape fly out the window when he comes face to face with Sofie Martin. The contract is ironclad and she is not going to back down. Donny, realizing he has no recourse is forced to go along with it. But he makes it clear that he’ll be there cleaning out the place and getting it ready for sale. The moment the charity dinner is over, it’ll change hands.
I loved Sofie and Donny individually and together. Due to the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, Donny has clearly built up some walls and is completely unable to form any kind of commitment. He feels he is unworthy, a bad seed and a bad bet for anyone. Especially Sofie, who he’d already hurt in one of the worst ways a boy could hurt a girl. But there is no mistaking the chemistry that these two share, seven years later.
I liked the ‘level’ the author used with respect to child abuse. It’s such a sensitive subject and could have really weighed down the story with an overload of emotion, taking away the focus from Sofie and Donny. While the reader knows of the abuse Donny experienced, Sofie is completely unaware and I loved how the author used certain events to send Sofie hints so that she put two and two together before Donny ever reveals the truth. I loved Sofie’s strength. She is sure of herself and knows what she wants. She fully admits that she still has it bad for Donny and as they begin to work together to get the house ready for the charity dinner, they cannot help but open up their feelings from the past. I liked that Sofie tried to talk herself into accepting the fact that she could spend time with Donny, be with him and then be okay with his leaving once the mansion was sold. Sweet Sofie, with the huge heart…yea, she’d never really be okay with it. But she just couldn’t stop herself from taking what she wanted for as long as she could.
We see a lot of growth in Donny and he redeems himself near the end in a really imaginative way. It was a lovely scene and went a long way to cement the relationship between Sofie and Donny.
We revisit all the characters from the first book. I am especially enamored this time by the character of Connor. A big, burly man who loves plants made a huge impression on me because he never let Donny get away with anything. In fact, he is almost totally responsible for the way the HEA comes about in this story. The rest of the cast keeps the teasers from the first book alive as we see that Gloria is still pissed at Asher and Faith may have finally found a man who is worthy of her.
There was only one thing that bothered me, so much so that it kept popping up in my head. I feel like it was a super important and relevant issue that warranted a much more detailed conversation between the H/H than what we were given. For me it was a really big deal and the fact that it was treated as such surprised me. It’s much too spoilery, but I needed to mention it because it was affected my grade.
I like this author’s voice and really do look forward to reading the next book A Bad Boy for Christmas in late September.