Advanced Reading Copy
Published: September 9, 2013, Ranae Rose
My rating: 3.5 of 5 ⭐
She was step-daughter to one of the most important men in town, he was a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Their love was young, but deep, complete and unbreakable. Or so they thought.
The only time in the past seven years Clementine had been back to small town Willow Heights, was for her grandmother's funeral, and she was in and out of town so fast, she barely saw anything or anyone. Back now with a degree in her pocket, a place to stay, and the hope of a good job in her future, Willow Heights is only supposed to be a temporary stop. And the last person she expects to see when she pulls into her grandmother's old driveway just to have a peek at the house, is the man she left behind seven years ago.
Back after a stint in the Marines and three years in Florida, Donovan now runs the local auto shop and has recently bought the house that used to belong to Clementine's grandmother. When he sees Clementine standing in the driveway, his first emotions are shock and anger. She obviously is as surprised to see him here as he is to see her. He left Willow Heights a few months after she did, wanting to pull himself out of the drug-infested hell hole he grew up in. And he did, although he never got over Clementine.
Due to storm damage, Clementine is forced to stay with Donovan in her grandmother's old house until her planned accommodations are brought back in order. Their proximity is cause for a lot of old hurt and unresolved emotions to surface. Leaving had not been Clementines choice, she was forced to and never had an opportunity to speak to Donovan or contact him. This is the first chance they have.
It becomes clear that although certain things remain unresolved, their feelings for each other have remained unchanged during all this time, and now they try to see a way to build a future. But when a disturbing presence from their past is found dead in Willow Heights, and the police is looking at Clementine and Donovan closely, their hopeful future may be over, before it has even started.
A not unfamiliar trope of love revisited, but with some interesting twists and turns, adding PTSD and a familial suspense factor as additional points of depth and interest.
I enjoyed the book, was a little taken aback with the fairly quick turn of events once both Clementine and Donovan had expressed their still existing feelings. I think I actually enjoyed the story better before that happened, the tension build up was very good, you could feel there was more than was being expressed. But once the words were out, the story flattened out a little. Until we came to the 'twist' in the story, the old nemesis who returns and starts building up tension again.
The suspense, the false accusations in the final portion of the book, was promising some fireworks, but ended up a bit anti-climactic. A bit more might have been done with the ending.
The situation with the parents, where we have no contact for seven years and then suddenly a weak apology from Mom, which in my opinion was 'too little, too late', and suddenly we are talking again? I'm not a vindictive person at all, but it would take a little more than that to get the bitter rock out of my esophagus, if I were in Clementine's shoes.
Initially the chemistry and passion between the main characters was hot, but at some point it became a tad repetitive and almost unnecessary. And I love a good sex scene...... the more, the better.....but only if they make some sense and have some variety and descriptive value.
All in all, this was a good read, a worthwhile read, and I would definitely read one of Ms. Rose's books again.
***ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the author in return for an honest review.***