I’d like to give a special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for letting me participate in this exciting tour event! =^.^=
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date Released: May 31, 2016
Series: Cottombottom Novels #1
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…
Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…
Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?
This was a sweet read that I think most contemporary romance readers will enjoy. It’s great for reading by the pool, or during a lazy weekend afternoon, or when you need something light with a touch of humor after a hard day. For those who are looking for a new read this summer or have been curious about Trentham’s books but don’t know which one to try, I’d like to ask you all to give this book a try, murr!
I liked Monroe, she’s a good-hearted soul who works hard to keep those she cares about safe, can kick butt when the need arises, and has managed to succeed in life when there are those who experienced what she did would have given up. Teaching the teen girls in her town to learn to defend themselves against unwanted advances is commendable, and I loved that she’s willing to drop what she’s doing when one of her girls calls for help. The only problem that I had with her was how she felt like she couldn’t tell any of her close friends about her mom, Cade, and how they met. Yes, I understand her reasons for keeping quiet, but she could have saved herself some heartache had she reached out to her best friend for support. As for Cade, he first struck me as massively arrogant, but as I learned more about him and his past, I started to like him more. He is a strong, independent man who deeply cares about his siblings and only wants the best for them, and I have to give him props for not only raising his siblings on his own, but also later managing to build his own business from scratch.
Their relationship is rather sweet, though I lost a bit of respect for Cade initially at the end when he so easily assumed that Monroe would drop everything just to move to Seattle with him. Talk about being presumptuous. But at least he considered an alternative in the end which worked well for the both of them. Overall their relationship is initially one of unspoken desire, and in Monroe’s case a childhood crush, but once they admit their feelings they turn out to be perfect for each other.
The setting for the story is great. I really enjoy small town romance stories that allow for multiple stories due to the closeness of everyone living there. Cottombloom has history not only in the town itself, but in the residents that call it home. The only downside to this setting is that the book doesn’t feel like it has a solid ending. While Monroe and Cade’s book has technically come to an end, their story feels like it is still open for more to be shared in the remaining books in the series. And the overall story arc hasn’t been completed, namely the competition between both sides of Cottombloom. The openness of the ending makes the reader feel compelled to read the remaining books in the series in order to find out what happens in the end to everyone, and while I do plan on reading the other books at some point, I was disappointed that the book was set up in this fashion. I’m all for including characters in the book who will appear in the later books in the series, but I dislike leaving conflict between those characters as opened as Trentham did with this one. And the fact that it won’t be until the third book that the big conflict in the story is concluded drives me a bit crazy. On the plus side, books 2 and 3 in this series come out within just months of this novel, so readers don’t have to wait long to find out what happens in the end.
So when all is said and done, I definitely think that this is a book that is worth giving a read and is great for the first in a new series. I highly recommend to those readers looking for something sweet to read that you give this book a try. Once you visit Cottombloom you’ll definitely want to come back. =^.^=
In that instant, she was primally, uncomfortably aware of him as a man. A man who looked like he knew what to do with a woman in bed … or out of it for that matter. She’d entertained fantasies, of course, but they’d been confined to hugs and kisses. Innocent. He was knight in shining armor material. Not down and dirty lover material. But she was a grown woman now, not a naive girl.
She dropped her gaze from his mouth to her clipboard. The words made as much sense as Mandarin Chinese. “I assume you’re staying with Sawyer?”
“Does Tally know you’re home?” She raised her gaze again but focused on his hands.
“Course she does.”
Monroe wanted to march over to the gym and give Tally a good shake. Of course, it’s not like Monroe had ever confided in her. Monroe had never confided in anyone except Cade. Tally had no idea what Cade had done for her, and her interest might seem weird and borderline stalkerish without the facts.
Focus. She needed to focus. A professional wouldn’t think about how his beard made him look rough and rumpled and sexy, like an action star trying to go incognito. A professional wouldn’t notice how big his hands were or the fact that they were nicked and callused and as rough-looking as the rest of him.
She glanced down at her paperwork again. “Did you break your leg?”
“Thank God, no. Overextended my knee and strained some apparently useful tendons. The orthopedist said it would heal on its own, but physical therapy would speed the process.” His voice didn’t reflect any of the angst and confusion running rampant through her. And why should it? Her strong reaction was only spurred by the remnants of a childhood crush. Reality would stamp it out.
“When did this happen?” Her voice was solid, brisk even. Better.
“Couple of weeks ago.”
“Am I to assume you haven’t seen a PT yet?”
“Figured I could rehab it on my own.”
“And how’s that working out for you?” She cut her eyes to him under her lashes. It wasn’t unusual for people–especially men–to disregard their doctor’s instructions for physical therapy.
“Not so good. I pushed too hard and made things worse.” His lips quirked but fell into a frown. “Anyway, my leg’s not the main problem. It’s my hand.” He held up his left hand, palm up.
“Ohmygoodness.” Monroe set the paperwork aside and took his hand in both of hers. A four-inch-long gash ran from the meaty part of his thumb toward the base of his pinky finger. It had been a jagged, deep cut, the resulting scar thick and raised and angry. She ran her thumbs along either side, and he flinched. “Does it hurt?”
“Constant pins and needles, tightness, lack of grip strength.”
“How did it happen?”
“A safety bolt came out and I grabbed at whatever I could. Caught the sharp edge of a rock. Sliced my hand, but it wasn’t clean. Got infected.” He turned the full force of his green eyes on her, and she rocked back in time. The tease left his voice, leaving desperation and a hint of pain. “Can you help me?”
“Cade,” she whispered his name on a sigh. Hearing herself, she cleared her throat and tucked an escaped piece of hair behind her ear. “I mean, Mr. Fournette–“
“No, call me Cade. I don’t think I could ever call the little girl I met under the cottonwood tree Miss Kirby.” He shifted on the chair. “Or are you something else now? Are you married?”
Her ringless left hand pulled into a fist around her lapel. “No. Not married.”
“Good.” A smile tugged at his mouth, at once disarming and mischievous.
Was he flirting with her? Her stomach tumbled, her knees shaky. Men occasionally asked her out after one of their sessions or flirted to the point of making things uncomfortable. Monroe had learned how to ice her demeanor to discourage forward behavior. But Cade was different. Special. And now her client. It would be dangerous to let a childhood infatuation color their professional relationship.
She dabbed her lower lip with her tongue. “Take off your pants, Cade.”
About the Author:
Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has finaled multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
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