by Shannon Richard
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 1st, 2013, Forever
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐
Growing up in an abusive household with an alcoholic father and almost non-existent mother, Jaxson Anderson spent most of his time from elementary school on at his best friend Brendan's house. Eventhough theirs was not a traditional family, it was a house filled with love and he received all the nurturing and care that was sadly lacking in his own home. It gave him the strength to overcome his measly roots and work his way to deputy sheriff, a job that suited him perfectly, since he always had a drive to protect and defend the innocent. Starting with his best friend's little sister, Grace, back when they were kids.
Grace King wouldn't leave town for anything. Not even the town bullies who have been on her case since grade school. Working in the bakery of her grandmother's cafe, she loved being creative with in the kitchen and especially enjoyed feeding delicious town sherrif Jax Anderson, the man she has been in love with since she was about fourteen years old. Of course, Jax will never see her as anything other than Brendan's little sister, but Grace is determined that is going to have to change. She is no longer a child at twenty four, and it's about time he noticed that!
Not a morning goes by that Jax doesn't pop into the cafe to pick up a coffee and something to eat, and for his daily dose of Grace. He can't get through his day without one of her bright smiles to boost him. Oh, he has noticed her, he has noticed Grace for many years, but no matter how much he wants her, or how much his friends encourage him to make his move, he can't have her. He simply has nothing good enough to offer her.
In an unguarded moment when his defenses are low, he lets Grace slip in and with one kiss she slowly starts breaking down the walls the has built up. Grace won't let herself be deterred for long when he tries to step back. But when Grace ends up in the middle of a crime scene and becomes the subject of the biggest town dirt ever to be unearthed, there is nothing that could pry Jax from her side.
Great small-town feeling, complete with evil gossip, local hangout, solid group of friends and favorite coffee stop!! Can't get any better!! Love the feel of this book.
Grace is a pretty strong character, despite her less than easy history. Not so much because of her home life, which was loving, but because of the way she was treated by some. Daughter of a single mother who died young, father remained unknown to this day and Grace herself always an easy target for the town bullies. With strong support from her grandparents, her brother and his circle of friends and her own buddies, she finds herself in her culinary creations, and despite the occasional run in with said bullies, she really enjoys her life. With one thing missing to make it complete, and she is determined to get it.
Jax has great strength as long as he stays out of his head. He can deal with all things that don't concern him. As soon as he is confronted with his parents or his past, he is immediately transported back into the emotional state of the young boy he was, feeling unworthy, a misfit and good for nothing, regardless of all he has accomplished to prove differently. His heart desperately wants and needs what his head won't let him have......Grace. There are times his buddies are getting pretty fed up with him, trying to convince him he is as deserving as anyone else. Frankly, there were times I was getting a little tired of his constant inner dialogue too, the yoyo-ing was giving me a neck-strain! Ultimately the heart, the friends, common sense and of course, Grace, prevail........thank goodness!!
I really enjoyed the story, am enjoying the series..... I read and reviewed the first book: UNDONE, and finally discovered the purpose of the character of Chad, I was questioning in that first review!!! It becomes clear when reading THIS book!!! Other than that slight overlap in the series, these books could easily be read as standalone books if you choose to do so, although personally, I am glad I read both.
✨A touching and sexy small-town romantic mystery.✨
**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Forever in return for an honest review.**