She’s not running anymore…
After a decade away, Jacie Rose has returned with her daughter to Cherry Lake to renovate a historic hotel…and to lay some ghosts to rest. She knows she’ll have to confront mistakes she made in the past, but she didn’t expect to be living right next door to the guy she once asked to be her husband.
When Brett Jackson was approached ten years ago by Jacie Rose with the wild scheme of marrying her to help her out of a jam, his white knight instincts kicked in and he agreed to be her emergency groom. The only problem was that the bride didn’t show up for the wedding. How’s he supposed to get used to seeing the woman he’s never forgotten every day now that she’s his neighbor?
Determined to provide the secure home life for her daughter that she never had, Jacie is not about to bring a man into her life—even one that she sometimes thinks should have been there all along. But Brett and Jacie soon discover the spark between them is even stronger than before… Now that their paths have crossed again, will they lead them back to the wedding that almost was?
Source: Review copy from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
The Secrets of Cherry Lake series comes to an enjoyable end by pitting a worried single mother up against a gorgeously honourable guy. Oh, and featuring a return of the horrible mayor that once again made me wonder how he got elected – no one seems to like the guy, with good reason.
Jacie is a tough one. On the one hand she’s clearly a good mother and has done everything she can to create a loving, stable home for her daughter, Darby. On the other, she treats Brett really badly. After her bad teenage years when her mother got married and essentially devoted herself to her new husband at the expense of Jacie, it’s easy to see why she is reluctant to allow a man into her life. She really has lived entirely for Darby since her birth. However, Brett is a really good guy and she lets her fears excuse the various ways she tries to use him and grows angry when he doesn’t want to play any more.
I really liked Brett. He’s sweet and decent and isn’t intimidated by Jacie’s tough attitude. In fact he does everything he can to support her without ever undermining her power. I also liked the way he was forging his own path away from his family, without shutting them out entirely. He’s just a nice guy and I liked how he and Darby became friends. I liked Darby too and could understand why she might want something different to what her mother thinks she needs, especially when she doesn’t know all the details.
For the most part this is an enjoyable read, though that will likely depend on your reaction to Jacie’s behaviour. When she relaxes the romance between her and Brett is pretty sweet, so on the whole I didn’t mind too much. I do, however, wish certain aspects of the hotel plot had been more clear at the end (Georgia) and as with the last book I don’t think the mayor got all he deserved. And while it was nice that events with Robert Jackson from The Secret Son finally got a mention in this book, I can’t help being annoyed that the details were wrong – Will wasn’t there; Robert went finishing with Jack.
Still, those things aside, this was a fine end to an enjoyable series. I’ve really loved spending time in Cherry Lake and hope this isn’t the last I’ll be seeing of the place.
The Secret Bride is Out Now!
Visit Jeannie Watt for more details.