Title: Caught Up In You
Author: Jules Bennett
Series: The Monroes #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 29th Nov
The Monroe brothers have their differences, but one project unites them: turning an antebellum mansion in their Haven, Georgia, hometown into a peaceful spa. It was the dream of their late sister—and it’s about to set off a major renovation in the life of middle brother Braxton…
Braxton Monroe’s taking a break from teaching to do some strenuous work on a Civil War–era house, and feeling the strain in every rock-hard muscle. Good thing he has to interview massage therapists for the spa—even if it’s embarrassing to meet a job candidate in his boxers. Cora Buchanan has hands so talented—and a voice so sultry—he wants to hire her before he even lifts his head from the table. But he’s shocked to meet her outside the massage room—with her seeing-eye dog, Heidi the yellow lab.
Cora has left her family—and fiancé—in Atlanta to make her way in this small town. All her parents’ money can’t restore her sight, but it’s up to her to restore her independence. Though she bristles at Braxton’s protectiveness, she too feels lingering effects from their intimate touch. Now that he’s her boss, it’s strictly hands-off….Until a secret she’s keeping destroys his fragile trust, and they must find the courage to knock down the walls between them.
Source: ARC from Zebra (Kensington) via NetGalley
This was a lovely comfort read full of family, healing and hope for new futures, with some really likeable characters and a few tricky issues and secrets thrown in to keep things interesting.
Braxton is a peacemaker, a good guy whose bad breakup has turned him into something of a player. He has real darkness in his past, but that doesn’t stop him from loving his family and seeing Cora for who she really is. I loved that beyond his initial hesitations about her blindness, he quickly becomes her biggest supporter, constantly looking for ways to ensure she can do everything she wants, while also providing things she needs. He might not think he wants a longterm relationship, but he’s pretty amazing at it.
Cora is great too. Sure, she’s had some pretty big advantages in life, but clearly she’s also had difficulties too – not least losing her sight. But she’s determined to be independent and strong, which does include keeping her family at a distance. I fully understood why she kept certain things secret, especially once she learnt about a few of Braxton’s issues, but I also appreciated that she isn’t perfect. She has a few issues of her own, not least dealing with trust and her tendency to run away from trouble.
I loved Heidi her seeing-eye dog (or guide dog in the UK). That dog is awesome and I loved how she shows just how important these dogs can be to their owners. I also liked getting to know Braxton’s family. They might not be united by blood, but that doesn’t mean their bond isn’t every bit as strong.
It might have been nice to have seen Cora working with someone other than Braxton, though, and I felt things with her parents weren’t really resolved – except in a slightly convenient way. I also feel like Braxton may have overreacted at certain moments.
On the whole, though, this was really good. The romance is lovely, the characters are great and Cora’s blindness was handled with sensitivity. It’s my first read from this author, but I’m certain it won’t be the last.
Caught Up In You is out November 29th.
Visit Jules Bennett for more details.