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Shannon Stacey today! Defending Hearts is out tomorrow and it's one I really enjoyed. Small town romance *sigh* Okay so the heroine in this one. Loved her. Gretchen is a bit on edge around the hero. She's a pretty tough cookie and change isn't easy for her exactly and, well, prickly happens...
Alex ran his fingertip over her lips and down her chin, making her shiver. "If I kiss you, are you going to be all prickly about it later?"
"Should I let that stop me?"
Gretchen rested her hand at his waist and shook her head. "I'll probably be prickly about something later, whether you kiss me or ont, so we might as well enjoy this moment while it lasts."
This just made me smile. They were having their first night alone together without the dog or her gram at home and, well, strip cribbage came up and that led to races to a bed and the loser having to strip and maybe some cheating. lol I loved her compromise ;)
"That was a tie."
"No way. My butt hit the mattress first."
"Because you cheated."
"I cheated? Maybe if you'd stayed in the kitchen and made more rules instead of yelling out go with no ready or set, I would have known what those rules were."
"I think we can compromise." She propped herself on her elbow and looked down at him. "You have to strip because cheating disqualifies you, so clearly you lost. But I'll admit the start of the race maybe wasn't totally fair. So you have to strip, but as a penalty I should have to help you."
He pretended to think about that for all of about two seconds. "I can live with that."
Ahhh Shannon Stacey. She's long been a favorite of mine and with this new series won me over all over again with a heart warming story of survival and hope. The quick of it is that Alex has come home to do what he does best...tell a story with photos. And this small town that's trying to save itself is one he needs to tell. It speaks to him. Just like the woman he's rented a room from for his stay...
- I loved the hero and heroine. Gretchen has had a hard life and she keeps her emotions tightly under wraps. She's a hard worker, self sufficient and a spot prickely but only because she really doesn't want to be hurt. And Alex. He's sexy and fun and I loved watching him settle into farm life even though it was so far from his usual globe trotting lifestyle. They were wonderful together. The chemistry was delightful and yum when things heat up it's nice (though not tooooo much).
- I liked their careers too! You don't see pumpkin farmers too often in romances. lol Especially when it's the HEROINE who is the farmer! The hero was a photojournalist which was neat to see as well.
- Cocoa! The cutest pup is in this book. She's wild and crazy and loves her people and she gives high fives obsessively. She was so dang adorable and I loved that the three main characters (hero, heroine and her gram) all doted and indulged her. Totally had me falling for each of them.
- The small town. One of the things I love about this series is the feeling of hope. This town is broken. The Mill closed up and most of the families have been struggling and fiercely. But there's still a hope in them. Things are slowly turning around. They're fighters and doing everything they can to roll with the punches and survive. I love that about them. Seeing small bits of hope shining through. Families finding their feet again. The heroine and her gram's hard work and how they get through the day together. It's just touching.
- The one thing that bothers me about the series is the covers. Yes. It's something I kind of harp on but these covers do not match the series. They scream New Adult and sports romance. Neither of which the series is. The characters are in their 30s and the only connection to sports is that the guys played together in high school and in book one the town came together to rally behind the current high school football team. But the actual heroes and heroines? So far a police officer (heroine 1), construction owner (hero 1), photojournalist (hero 2), pumpkin farmer (heroine 2) and in book three the heroine is a teacher (not sure what hero 3 is). The covers just do not fit.
All in all, Defending Hearts stole mine completely. Stacey has created an incredibly touching and heart warming series that doesn't shy away from the realities of life but leaves you hopeful and completely smitten.
*covers link to Amazon
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