I can’t believe it’s August already. In a little over two weeks, my daughter will return to college for her sophomore year. I had high expectations that college would mark some kind of turning point for her, and it did in small ways, but not to the extent I’d hoped. I’m crossing my fingers that she is ready to take on new challenges, be a little braver and have a more positive experience. My son will be a senior in college and he’s ready to be done with school-but I don’t think he really has any idea what he wants to do next. It’s really hard not lead every conversation with, “if I knew then what I know now…” and attempt to impart some wisdom to them from my own mistakes or regrets….shoulda, woulda, coulda and all that. They really do have to experience it and figure it out on their own. Hardest part of being a parent, I think.
But on to books! I was able to finish one new release this week.
Phoenix Rose is trying to find her way back…to herself. After being attacked and robbed at her landscaping store, she lost a lot of her self-confidence. She broke up with her fiance, and has been adrift as she tries to heal both mentally and physically. Needing to do something to get her life back on track, she takes a job as a landscape maintenance person at a lakeside resort called Cooper’s Charm. It’s peaceful and beautiful and she’s doing exactly what she loves to do. It’s the perfect place to reassess her life and get back on track.
Cooper Cochran is the owner of the resort. He senses that Phoenix is a bit skittish, but he can’t deny his attraction to her from their first meeting. He knows he has to go slow, but all his protective instincts go into overdrive when weird, destructive things start to happen at the resort and it looks like Phoenix is the target.
Lori Foster has been a favorite author of mine for years, so it’s always a pleasure to read a new release. This story hit all my romance buttons. Phoenix is a strong woman, determined to take her life back. She’s not letting what happened to her hold her back, but she is taking it slow and doing things in her own time. Cooper suffered a tragedy as well when he lost his wife 5 years ago. He hadn’t been interested in a relationship of any kind since then, until he meets Phoenix. This is a lovely story about two people overcoming different kinds of life tragedies who come learn to trust and love again.
Foster gives us a bonus secondary love story when Phoenix’s sister Riley comes to the resort to check on her. Riley is also a bit out of sorts. Recently divorced, she’s struggling to make sense of everything that led her to this point. She doesn’t need to work, she received quite a hefty divorce settlement, but she takes on the open housekeeping position at the resort. She finds that she feels really good after a day spent working and is happy with herself and her accomplishments. It doesn’t hurt that she’s caught the eye of one of the resort’s instructors either.
Cooper’s Charm is a feel good book that combines just the right amount of emotion and humor with a bit of mystery thrown in. I look forward to seeing some of the secondary characters we met find their happily ever after in future books.
Grade: B Kindle
“You’ve been mine since the day we met. We may not have always been together, but that didn’t make you any less mine.”
I purchased and threw myself into another Vi Keeland book. I love Keeland’s storylines and characters so much. This story features Layla, an attorney who is attempting to get back into the good graces of the partners at her firm after breaking the number one rule of client confidentiality. She had good reason, but the law doesn’t care. She wasn’t disbarred, but she’s had to do a lot of ass kissing since then and a lot of community service. When a new client specifically requests Layla handle his affairs personally, Layla is thrilled–until she realizes it’s Gray Westbrook.
Layla had to work off community service hours in restitution for her faux paux by teaching a class at a minimum security prison. It’s there that she meets Gray and they begin to get to know each other. Gray is in prison for securities fraud, though there is a side story there that I won’t get into here, but he really is innocent. They have an incredible connection and though they meet under some pretty weird circumstances, they fall for each other bigtime. Unfortunately, Gray leaves out some pretty important details about himself and when Layla finds out, she never wants to see him again.
A year or so later, Gray is out of prison and he’s trying to rebuild his career with a new business-which puts him right back into Layla’s path. Of course he has a lot of explaining to do, but it’s clear these two belong together.
I’m new to Keeland’s writing, but to date, everything I’ve read I have really enjoyed. Her characters don’t really fall into any kind of category and her pairings are always unexpected. This story is funny and sexy and emotional; and at the same time has a strong element of the theme “don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Gray is not at all what you may think from first impressions and his story is really done well.
Grade: B+ Kindle