When Caleb McGraw sweeps Snow Cameron off her feet, she never expects their whirlwind romance to lead to a Vegas wedding chapel. Before she can catch her breath, Caleb starts talking kids and college funds while his wealthy parents make their disapproval painfully clear. Convinced she was blinded by lust, not love, Snow takes off for Ardent Springs, Tennessee, two months into the marriage.
Heir to a media conglomerate, Caleb never experienced struggle or rejection, until Snow sends him on a wild hunt for his runaway bride. When he finally finds her—managing a curiosity shop beloved by the quirky locals—she agrees to give the marriage another chance, but on one condition: no sex for a month. Can their love stand the test, or will they give in to their attraction?
In this humorous and heartwarming Ardent Springs romance, two lost hearts start over in a town where everyone deserves a second chance and love always wins in the end.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This second chance tale takes the theme of marrying in haste and repenting at leisure and mixes it with small town charm for a sweet and enjoyable read. Although Snow didn’t wait too long before running from her marriage, Caleb has been searching for her throughout the eighteen months, giving him plenty of time to think about what went wrong – and why he didn’t see it coming.
I really liked Caleb. I wasn’t sure I was going to at first, since he’s a trust fund baby who was so oblivious to his new wife’s feelings that he was completely blind-sided when she ran out after only two months. Yet Caleb’s actually a really sweet guy. True, he doesn’t see his parents in the same way as everyone else, but he knows he’s privileged and also knows he’s been wasting his life not wanting to fit into the mould his father has prepared for him, but not quite knowing what he wants to be either. He’s been stifled, but it isn’t until he finds Snow and settles in around Ardent Springs that he truly realises it.
I also really liked how he saw Snow and was willing to fight for their marriage. He’s never had to fight for anything in his life before, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He’s cute and stubborn and quick to learn, so once he figures out what will make Snow clam up or push him away, he changes tactics. All because he wants to stay with her far more badly than he wants to go home. He’s also an easy going guy and I loved how he fitted into the town – whether he wanted to or not.
As for Snow, I was intrigued by her in the last book (His First and Last), so enjoyed seeing her secrets unravel in this one. There were a few things about her I didn’t like so much (the way she hid from her parents for so long, the way she never really explains to Caleb why she ran), but I had to admire the way she built a life for herself after she left Caleb. She definitely has a lot of issues to work through, particularly in the inadequacy stakes, but it was good to see her face them and overcome many of them too. She’s a lot stronger than she ever realised, and though she’s a bit feisty at times, I did like how she finally saw Caleb for who he was, once the wealth and gloss were removed. The pair of them are so sweet together, I enjoyed seeing them work everything else out.
Surrounding these two are a cast of fun and interesting characters that add further colour to the tale. It was great seeing Spencer and Lorelei back from the last book, as well as the mutual friends they shared with Snow, and I also loved getting to know Miss Hattie – especially her scenes with Caleb. Although Caleb’s parents – particularly his mother – provide a nice hint of conflict amidst the otherwise sweet and fun stuff, I wish there had been a little more light to their shade. They seemed far too cliché – rich, entitled, controlling, arrogant – and it might have been nice to have seen where Caleb got all his good traits from (like that uncle that is mentioned at the start and swiftly forgotten).
Overall, though, this is another lovely read that brought more of Ardent Springs to life. It’s sweet and easy, with a nice romance and plenty of fun friendships. So if you’re looking for a second chance romance that shows two characters taking time to really get to know each other and a hero willing to fight to fix his mistakes, and you like a bit of small town charm, then you should enjoy this. I did and can’t wait to see what Ardent Springs will have to offer next.
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