Whoever claimed it’s better to have loved and lost has never met Jess Palmer.
Small business owner and metalworks artist Damon Brand finally has his future in sight when his past rattles into town in a broken down car stuffed with designer clothes and sky high heels. The last time he saw Jess, he declared his undying love. In return, she stranded him by the side of the road, taking his boots, pants and the tattered remnants of his heart.
So much for the bright lights of LA. Failed actress Jessica Palmer arrives back in Cherry Lake, Montana homeless, destitute, and desperate. She’s hoping her grandfather will let her have her inheritance early so she can make a fresh start—anywhere but Cherry Lake. No deal. She has to stay for six months and get a job to prove she’s matured. Not easy in a town where she flamed all her bridges in order to flee a wild child reputation and her high school sweetheart.
With every door that’s slammed shut in her face, Jess grows more determined than ever to prove she’s changed, even if it means she must turn to her first love, Damon, for a job at his gas station. Surely 10 years is enough time for him to forgive and forget…
Source: Review copy from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
Oh, Jess. There was so much about her that I expected to dislike, yet somehow, someway, I ended up really liking and admiring her. Yes, she’s a spoiled little rich girl in so many ways, who grew up as the mean girl in school, cultivated quite the reputation amongst the boys and thoroughly humiliated the teenage Damon, and yet there’s so much more to her than that. Not least her dyslexia that she’d been taught to feel so ashamed of. She’s also surprisingly loyal and when she loves someone, it seems there’s very little she won’t do for them.
Coming back to Cherry Lake isn’t easy for her, not least because her big dreams of becoming an actress haven’t been realised. It doesn’t help that everyone thinks she was some rich old guy’s mistress and has now been dumped. Well, she was an old guy’s mistress, but there was so much more to her relationship than the money and no one realises that she’s actually heartbroken at his death. Now she has nothing but memories and heartbreak, which is the only reason she’d ever go home to Cherry Lake. So when her grandfather insists she hold down a job for six months before he’ll give her her inheritance, she has no choice but to agree.
Luckily Damon is on hand to prove what a great and gorgeous guy he is. And he really is. Gas station owner and mechanic, he’d be easy to dismiss as a small town guy who never lived up to his potential. But Damon’s also a talented artist and seriously loyal to his family and friends, none of whom seem to deserve it. He, more than anyone, has good reason not to want Jess back in town, yet he’s the one who offers to help. He’s a genuinely good guy and it’s impossible to see how anyone could resist him.
At heart this is a lovely second chance romance between a man who can’t say no and a woman terrified of saying yes. Neither of them are good at asking for help, both of them feel things deeply and get hurt too easily, and both are hugely likeable. Their road to romance isn’t the easiest, but it’s also sweet and satisfying and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them. Another enjoyable offering from Cherry Lake. I can’t wait to read the next one.
Her Secret Love is Out Now!
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