Mattie Gaines has so much to be thankful for—three beautiful children who are well on their way to making great love matches, a successful family business that keeps her challenged every day. But a part of her will never forget her first love, and she longs for her own romance du jour.
Wanting a new start, Will Jordan returns to Freewill and wonders whatever happened to that firecracker Mattie Gaines. When he spies her at the first annual Thanksgiving cook-off, old feelings resurface. Will can’t forget Mattie’s kisses from long ago, and he wants to make her remember, too—even if it costs them both more than they bargained.
Genre: Western romance, holiday, interracial/multicultural, foodie romance
Heat level: 3 Word count – 13k
The street dance. She had forgotten about it. The food competition may be new—a way to get the word out about a newly-minted Internet-something-or-other millionaire and his bullshit company that would soon be moving its headquarters to Freewill—but the street fair and dance was a tradition. The last big hurrah before winter set into the little Wyoming town.
And they did tend to have a hurrah. She hadn’t been to one of the street dances since Brady was six. She didn’t like to remind herself how alone she’d chosen to be. She would probably slip home after the competition winner was announced. No reason to torture herself looking for Will Jordan, who obviously wasn’t as interested as she’d led herself to believe.
“Are you going to the street dance?”
She recognized Will’s voice without turning around and used the opportunity of not looking at him to inwardly scream like a high school girl. She thought he’d given up.
Mattie glanced over her shoulder. There he was, in all of his magnificent, wide-shouldered, athletic glory. His arms were even more obviously toned in the gray, wide-necked T-shirt he’d donned. She had a sudden urge to run her fingers over his muscles.
“I hadn’t planned on it.” She faced him fully and air-Vanna’d her clothing. “I’m not exactly dressed for dancing or anything like that.”
In his hands, he held one plate of Kyle’s pretty Thanksgiving creation, and another she didn’t recognize. It wasn’t until then she realized she hadn’t even been paying a slight iota of attention to what her brother had been doing. But from the looks of it, Bud had done his typical. It looked a little like a cafeteria plate, but on a smaller scale.
She nodded at his hands. “Have you tried either one yet?”
Will shook his head. “I was looking for somewhere to sit down and taste both plates. I know I’m a judge, but in truth, I hate making choices like this.”
“Having to choose between two good things.”
Now this is what I’m talking about. An older couple that has a great back story that finds love again. I love stories like this and Vengeful Gaines has it in spades. A mature older woman who lived through an awful marriage until her spouse dies but she is left with three beautiful children and the ranch.
This is where the story gets really interesting because her brother is thrown into the mix with his talk about the family ranch and how he would see her in court. I really liked this angle in the story. With Will coming back to Freewill as a judge, it was assumed that he would rule over the decision. Does he? Don’t know really but I would love to know how it plays out. There is some really bad blood between Mattie and her brother Bud and I would have liked to have explored that a bit more in this book.
On to the hero and heroine…Again, love a mature couple in a romance book. There’s no bullshit with them and they have the experience too. Plus with Will and Mattie their backstory was interesting and heartbreaking at the same time. I like that Will didn’t sugar coat his distain for Mattie’s husband and how they ended up together. Mattie gave as good as she got, too. She didn’t let Will decide how the relationship was going to work.
While this book was spicy, it wasn’t the sex that drew me in. I just loved watched Will and Mattie circle each other and relive what had happened before in their lives and how it would work for them now. They communicated and talked with each other. No bullshit between them. Both were very strong characters, too.
Classic though was when Jamie caught them kissing in the alley. 🙂 Mattie blushed but Will didn’t care. Woot!
Again, this is the second book in the series and its just as good as the first. Don’t miss out on a great story about a mature couple that would give some younger couples a real run for the money. 🙂
Camryn Rhys grew up on the border of Canada and the US, and still hasn’t decided which country to call home. She splits her time between the Alberta and Montana Rocky Mountains, with friends and family in both beautiful locations. After running her own restaurant for several years and acquiring advanced degrees in writing, foodie romance seemed the only logical option. When she’s not watching the Food Network, she’s reading a romance novel, or if absolutely necessary, working as a consultant. Someone has to put really excellent food on the table.