(Country Roads #3)
by Shannon Richard
Published: December 3, 2013, Forever Yours
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Since returning injured from active duty two years ago, Air Force veteran Bennett Hart has slowly readjusted to life in Mirabelle, working construction and renovations. He has even started building some furniture and is scheduled to help out at the local high school with a project, something he is looking forward to. He loves working with his hands and he also enjoys hanging out with Mel, the math teacher who spearheaded this project and happens to be a friend.
She's had a bit of a crush on Bennett ever since he helped nurse her back to health, but Melanie O'Bryan isn't quite sure if she is willing to stick her neck out and risk their friendship. Especially since they will be working closely together in her classroom in the near future. If anything happens it will have to be initiated by him, because the signals he is putting out are all over the map. Mel doesn't have a whole hell of a lot of experience with men, but she knows that when there is one as skittish as Bennett, one wrong move will have him running.
Urged on by his friends and unable to suppress his craving for her, Bennett finally makes his move and Mel is cautiously over the moon. It took him long enough and she wants to carefully test the waters. Who is she kidding, her heart was invested long before her mind ever caught up, and Mel knows it. as long as she keeps it to herself because she is quite sure Bennett isn't ready to hear any declarations of love just yet.
For now Bennett is enjoying being with an amazing woman who is doing all kinds of wonderful things for him. In and out of the bedroom. But he prefers not to think too much or too far ahead, he does better when he stays in the here and now. Not something that goes unnoticed by Mel, his holding a big chunk of himself separate. A part of him that he won't let her see. The part that eventually might grow too big and split them apart......
What a wonderful, sensitive, yet quick-witted novel. A story that shows the ease with which we tend to throw up our own barriers when it comes to finding happiness.....it never is something to be found elsewhere or in others. Happiness is always something you have to allow yourself to feel, to be.
The town of Mirabelle and its inhabitants are slowly becoming a familiar backdrop for these stories and we get better a quainted with the group of friends that meander through the series. In the second book we managed to get brief glimpses of Mel and even Bennett, both of whom are taking centre stage now. Although all the stories are loosely connected, they can also be read as standalone novels.
As a veteran of war, it is not surprising that Bennett suffers from some form of what might be considered PTSD. Enduring nightmares and panic attacks would be considered part and parcel of the symptomology, as are mood swings, which is something else affecting Bennett. Mel instinctive sense not to push him to hard is probably wise, however frustrating it must be for her. She is not aware of the full effect his experiences in the military have left him with, but realizes it is not something he should be keeping bottled up. However, she is not willing to make herself subject to his push and pull attitude and has the backbone to stand up for herself, demanding full committment in a relationship.
Shannon Richard writes the third novel in her Country Road Series with again more depth and confidence. I have read, reviewed and enjoyed the previous two books UNDONE and UNDENIABLE and although all were good, this one is at the top of my list. The story and the insightful, yet resilient and upbeat manner in which it is written is an absolute treat!
If this growing trend continues for Ms. Richard, there will be a point where I run out of stars
✨A warm, insightful and spunky romance!!✨
**ARC provided by NetGalley and Forever Yours in return for an honest review.**