Welcome back to Sweetwater Springs, North Carolina for a heartwarming second-chance romance between a quirky café owner and a handsome park ranger.
With summer just around the corner, Emma St. James is eagerly planning a 5K run at Sweetwater Springs National Park. But first she needs the help of one charming, rugged, and handsome park ranger. Her brief high school romance with Jack Hershey may have ended in heartbreak, but Emma can't deny that he still gives her butterflies. So when Jack responds to her request with an all-too-tempting plea to pretend to be his girlfriend for the summer, how can she say no?
Jack would do anything for his sister -- even pretend to give up his bachelor life to care for his nephew. Passing his days with his high school sweetheart guarantees one long, hot summer -- but only because every moment together leaves him wanting a real relationship. He can't imagine spending another season without Emma by his side. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance before the summer draws to a close?
Includes the bonus novella A Fairytale Bride!
Rains (Starting Over at Blueberry Creek) makes a heartwarming return to the charming town of Sweetwater Springs, N.C., with this tale of a wary coffee shop owner and the hunky park ranger who's been in love with her since childhood. When Jack Hershey stood Emma St. James up for her senior prom after a night full of mishaps (including a painful confrontation with Emma's father), he inadvertently ruined their chances of being more than just friends, despite mutual feelings that linger into adulthood. Now Emma's 30th birthday looms and she needs a friend more than ever; her mother died of breast cancer in her own 30th year. Emma turns to Jack for support, and though their chemistry is intense and both want something more, neither is brave enough to make the first move. Readers will have no trouble falling in love with Rains's realistically flawed hero and heroine as they do their best to overcome their pasts and embrace their futures. A strong cast of supporting characters especially Emma's stepmother, Angel, and the many returning faces from earlier books underpin Rains's engaging prose and perfectly paced plot. Lovers of small-town tales won't be able to resist.
A couple to cheer for
I’m always happy to visit Sweetwater Springs, or really any Annie Rain’s fictional world, because I know I’m always going to get an engaging story with complex characters.
Emma is a very tough but to crack. She is a successful cafe owner who’s well liked, so it seems on the surface like she’s got it all together. But years after her mom has passed, she not any closer to coming to grips with her loss. And the possible effects that her mom’s death may also have on her own health are keeping Emma from having a full life.
Jack would love a chance with Emma, but he’s not going to get one unless he can explain standing her up on the night of the big dance. Jack has his own issues he has yet to share with Emma or any other friends, and now he has his nephew in town, while Jack’s sister wages her own battle. As expected, complications ensue!
While there are some serious themes in the book, there is a lot of love and laughter, as well. Jack and Emma need to open their eyes and really see the other. They need to trust others as well as themselves to be able to move on with their lives. They are a great couple that the reader can’t help to cheer for.
Yet another great addition to my library from the wonderful Ms. Rains.
Another great visit to Sweetwater Springs
Emma and Jack's story was way more angsty than I was expecting but it had so much love and support that I was completely sucked in.
There's two pretty heavy topics in this book that sometimes can be hard to get right but both were dealt with respect and dignity. Without giving any spoilers, it's clear that these were handled with care and some research was done. One of them I can be pretty judgey about but I have zero complaints.
Every visit to Sweetwater Springs has been a heartwarming escape. Every book introduces more characters that I want to see get their own HEA.