by Becky Flade
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
Jenna Gavin is searching for a fresh start, but more importantly, balance. Her heart, and perhaps the hands of fate, has led her and her young son to Trappers’ Cove, Minnesota. Settling in the small, quirky town, she’s not in the market for a casual relationship yet finds herself in one with the young widower next door.
Former shortstop, Gabriel Foxx, is drawn to his difficult new neighbor. The more the prickly divorcee attempts to keep him at arm’s length, the more determined he is to break down her walls. He can’t avoid the passion she inspires but he won’t allow himself to feel more.
When friendship grows complicated by stronger emotions and mutual desire, it just isn’t enough. Will love be worth the risk?
His hand dropped to the pocket of his jeans. This woman damn near had a neon sign over her head flashing “Get Bent.” She wasn’t looking for anything from anybody, let alone a relationship. His attraction to her was perverse and based on his inability to ignore a challenge. And she represented the most interesting challenge he’d seen in years. Satisfied with his rationale, he approached her.
“Last time I joined you out here did not end well. At least this time you thought to put on a coat.” She turned away from him, her hands swiping over her cheeks. She’d tried to hide it, but she’d been crying. Damn. “You want to talk about it?”
“No. I don’t.”
He stood beside her, facing the meadow. The night swallowed the picturesque field; not six feet from the bottom step the world went black as pitch until the tree line broke away to a rich, deep blue besotted with stars. He’d never seen a woman cry so quietly; he’d been watching her for several minutes and hadn’t witnessed any hiccupping sobs or heaving bosom; her shoulders hadn’t shaken or bent under the weight of her emotions. If he hadn’t caught the move to wipe her tears, he’d have never known she’d wept. He knew—God, did he know—a body could only be strong for so long before it broke.
This book. I read it a couple of weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. First, let me tell the tropes that are going on: older woman/younger man, enemies to lovers, widower, athlete, Tortured Hero and that’s just to name a few. And boy did these tropes match to Gabe and Jenna. Lord, Jenna was a very hard character to like in the book. Seriously, it wasn’t until the last few pages that I finally warmed up to her. I would call her a shrew throughout when it came to Gabe. She never gave an inch in the relationship until feelings started to surface. However, she was given a very raw deal with her ex-husband. What a douche canoe. Even when she sorta kinda stood up to him, I didn’t think it was enough. He deserved so much more. She is a great mother to her kids, though. We never got to meet her daughter but teenage Sawyer and adorable Finn were great. Finn plays a huge part in the romance between Gabe and Jenna. Ms. Flade does an excellent job with this throughout the book. Finn is a handful and Jenna stands her ground but with Gabe, it is instant love for the boy. And it is genuine.
The other thing that I have really enjoyed with all three books in the series so far is that Ms. Flade spaces out her books. With Maggie and Aiden, they are the old married couple with a teenage daughter, Tala that is best friends/maybe lovers with Sawyer. Henley and Carter have settled into a routine and her bookstore is booming. We get caught up with them and get the interaction that Carter has with his sister Jenna and how all of them are friends with Gabe way before Jenna is introduced. And that makes for a somewhat awkward situation with Jenna when she moves to town. And let me tell you, Maggie and Jenna, despite being friends since childhood, their relationship is real. They fight, hold a grudge, and don’t speak for a while in the book. In fact, Jenna has a better relationship with Aiden, the Grump. And yes, I still love Aiden, the Grump. He makes me happy. I know, I’m weird. And at times, I really wanted to slap Jenna with her treatment of her sister in law, Henley. Trust me, Maggie had every right to berate Jenna for her behavior. Ms. Flade has these relationships down pat with their realism and emotions.
Gabe and Jenna take a long time to get to the end. When they finally decide to bit the bullet and have a relationship, its rocky from the start. Emotions are NOT supposed to surface but unfortunately, they do. I learned from another author when my heart was ripped apart from a book she wrote, she told me personally that love is messy, sex is even messier and falling in love is the best mess that you can be in. It takes work and when they finally decide to work at it, I felt relief. I was emotionally exhausted by the time I finished reading the book and parts still haunt me today. That’s what makes this book so special to me. Ms. Flade pulled me in, twisted me with all the emotions and I’m still thinking about it. That’s a great writer in my opinion. She’s nervous about this review and she shouldn’t be. I loved the book. Everything about it. Jenna isn’t supposed to be liked. We have to get through all of her disappointments, the betrayal from the ex-husband, and dealing with Finn and his shenanigans. Gabe isn’t much better. He never dealt with the death of his wife and it haunts him to this day. I won’t go into Gabe’s hurt except that I understood why he dealt with it the way he did. It made sense to me. Nothing like the wake-up calls he got and then to learn that Jenna…oops. Almost gave away a HUGE plot point. My bad.
All I can say that I didn’t want this book to end. Like, seriously. I could read more books about Gabe, Jenna, and the gang for years to come. I do know that Tala’s book is coming up and I can’t wait. Maybe Maggie will calm down (doubt it), Aiden will still be a grump (Please, please) and we will finally get to understand the fairy that is Tala. This series needs to be read. Don’t be afraid of the paranormal elements in the book. 😉 You will stay for the characters and Ms. Flade’s writing.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A city girl, born and bred, I tend to place my stories in and around southeast Pennsylvania, or at least have a character or two from the area. Home is where the heart is and I make mine with my very own knight in slightly tarnished armor, three beautiful daughters, my son-in-law and two grandsons. When I’m not busy living my own happily ever after, I’m writing about someone else’s.
I’d love to have you visit with me at any of my virtual homes or write to me directly at email@example.com
The book will be on sale for only $0.99.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Fated-Souls-1-Becky-Flade-ebook/dp/B07XWF65XJ/ref=sr_1_1
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Becky Flade will award a randomly drawn winner a $20 Amazon/BN GC.