Grumpy loner Sam DeLuca came to Misty Bottoms, Georgia, for solitude, but his bubbly neighbor Cricket seems intent on shining her happiness into Sam's heart, like it or not.
Cricket O'Malley can't wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she's returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory, and become the go-to place for bridal bouquets to set the tone for the perfect wedding day. The only blemish? Her neighbor's house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.
Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he'd have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet small town of Misty Bottoms, but his precocious neighbor seems determined to spread her perky positivity into Sam's life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise.
Readers are falling head over heels for the Magnolia Bride series:
"The charming side of small-town living and some creative flower-arrangement tips make this sweet romance a delightful read."—Publishers Weekly
"All about small towns, community, and sweet and sexy romance."—Booklist
Austin's engaging second Magnolia Brides contemporary (after The Best Laid Wedding Plans) brings a Yankee into the heart of the South. N.Y.C. detective Sam DeLuca rides his Harley into Misty Bottoms, Ga., to claim the neglected house he inherited from his aunt. Wounded both mentally and physically by the betrayal of a woman, Sam needs a place to heal, and where better than the small town where he spent boyhood summers? He feels like he's being watched, and his city instincts scream danger, but across the country road, trusting Cricket, the new owner of the flower shop in town, doesn't even lock her doors. Sparks fly when the two meet, and the attraction increases as Sam, claiming he'll only stay long enough to fix up his old house, gets sucked into Southern life via an old man, an abandoned dog, and a juvenile delinquent. The charming side of small-town living and some creative flower-arrangement tips make this sweet romance a delightful read.
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for fans of romances that are plausible and possible
The second in the Magnolia Brides series from Lynnette Austin returns to Misty Bottom and focuses on Cricket and Sam: arriving with their own dreams and intentions.
Cricket has always wanted her own floral shop, and her move has made that dream come true. Kind-hearted and open, Cricket is a glass half full girl: not afraid to step out of her own comfort zone if that means she will make someone else’s day a bit brighter. With her new space and plenty of work to do, the last thing she expected was a grumpy hot neighbor with a ‘stay away’ attitude.
Sam has retreated to Misty Bottom to regroup after an undercover operation gone horribly wrong. He’s less trusting and more wary of new people, understandably. The town is a childhood favorite place filed with summer memories and laughter when he was with his aunt. She has passed, and left the house, desperately in need of refurbishment, to Sam. Unused to finding anywhere that feels like “home”, Sam is confused by the lack of ‘you need to move on now’ that he has when Cricket is around.
The relationship between these two, aided by moments and gentle nudges from characters met in the first book, develops gradually and organically. Cricket isn’t pushing to insert herself into Sam’s life, and he’s softening – even assigning her the nickname of Bug…. A bit of a mixed smile here – she ‘bugs’ him and makes him face things and changes he’d rather not, and of course her name.
When you add in a wandering and homeless dog who has adopted them as his own, and has particular quirky traits, the growth for Sam in realizing that Cricket and the town have opened his horizon to more than just moving on, and a wonderful sense of community and friendship that oozes through the pages, this story holds strong for fans of romances that are plausible and possible if you take the time to slow down.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.