My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Elle runs from her abusive ex, taking their son, Toby, to Houston to start a new life and a new business, her very own bookstore/café. Since her ex-boyfriend, Dean, showed no interest in Toby while they lived with him on his family’s ranch, she can’t imagine that he will care now.
On opening day at her new store, Elle begins to worry she may be in over her head, understaffed and underprepared for all the clientele. One of her waitresses calls in sick and her musician has a family emergency. When her pro bono lawyer and his friends show up to see how she’s faring, they end up offering to help. And especially helpful is his friend George Jones, a manager in the music business with an eye for a beautiful damsel in distress.
Elle hasn’t had any contact with her own family in years, even though she tried to reach out to them after Toby was born. And since Dean made sure that Elle never told anyone and his parents never witnessed any abuse, they can’t understand why Elle left with their grandson and doesn’t want to be found.
Needless to say, Elle is very reluctant to take a chance on another man, even uncomfortable to be around anyone who seems interested. And George is definitely interested in getting to know Elle and Toby, too, who is an adorable almost-kindergartener. George can’t help his knight in shining armor complex and looking for ways to make Elle’s life easier, but he’s also willing to go slowly and give Elle as much time as she needs – within reason. He’s falling hard and fast for Elle and Toby and finding that he likes the idea of a ready-made family.
Nicely written characters and interesting relationships among a close knit group of friends, most of whom are very likeable and believable. It’s impossible, however, to like Dean’s mom, Lindsay, who may be a wonderful grandma but seems about as unhinged as her abusive son when dealing with Elle! I also was a little put off by George’s sister calling him “Georgie-boy” — just couldn’t picture that being said with a Texas drawl! This is the third book in a series but works well as a stand alone read.
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.