Series: Haven Point #8
Published by HQN Books Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Snow Angel Cove, Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail
Also by this author: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, Snow Angel Cove, The Christmas Ranch, Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, The Holiday Gift, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail, The Rancher's Christmas Song
Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth.
Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become.
Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
RaeAnne Thayne returns to Haven Point and the Bailey family with the story of eldest son Elliot Bailey and Megan Hamilton, the owner of the town’s inn and the former girlfriend of Elliot’s deceased brother Wyatt. As youngsters, Elliot was also good friends with Megan’s older stepbrother, Luke… which didn’t keep FBI agent Elliot and the other Baileys in law enforcement, including Elliot’s father, from suspecting Luke of murder when his wife disappeared.
Seven years later, Eliott is back in town, on leave with a shoulder injury. And Megan is both attracted to him and angry that he didn’t stand up for Luke years ago… and, like many of the town’s residents, seems to still suspect Luke.
As always, Thayne does a good job with the relationship between Megan and Elliot, creating a realistic and appealing portrayal of their attraction as well as their internal and interpersonal conflicts. Elliot is a bit too reserved for his own good, something that causes others to think of him as a robot, but it’s not that he doesn’t have feelings, only that he keeps them inside. Megan, on the other hand, wears her heart on her sleeve but tries to hide deep insecurities, something I found very relatable.
Thayne touches lightly on the unintended consequences of parental expectations, and a little more on the results of childhood emotional and sometimes physical abuse. Where she falters a little is in Megan’s belief in Luke’s innocence; Megan’s trust is steadfast and understandable, but her stated reason conflicts with strong statistical evidence to the contrary, which bothered me a little. (I’m stepping around this, trying to avoid spoilers; that’s the best I can do.)
One thing I love about series like this—besides the small-town setting—is the recurring characters. Many make appearances or are at least mentioned, from the rest of the Baileys and their spouses and various children to a few characters from the related Hope Springs series, though of course we don’t see any of them in depth. The focus stays firmly on Megan and Elliot, and secondarily on the question of what really happened to Luke’s wife all those years ago. But be forewarned: for the full answer to that question, we’ll have to wait for another book… and it’s not the next one, darn it! I’ll just have to console myself with the annual holiday Haven Point romance, coming in late September.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Birthday Bash 2018