“I stare at her, my mouth impersonating a fish. Words crowd my mind, then riot down to my throat. Tears, ones that I haven’t allowed to fall in months, gather. Finally, I blurt, “I dropped my basket, Nana.”
Violet Rae Givens is about to fall apart. Escaping to the small town in the Deep South, where her nana lives is the only thing she can think of doing; a place to hide. Running just seems easier than facing all of the horrible truths of her recent past; if she can keep it together, no one will ever have to know how deep her pain runs. But Violet “Rae” can only be silent for so long, sooner or later her life has to resume…contracts to fulfill, a new member of the family, her career to save. Trouble is, she just wants to be done, be ordinary and have privacy, a normal life. So, what’s up with the cocky gentleman at the grocery store with his kid sister at the crack of dawn, acting like a jerk one second and a sweetheart the next? And why can’t she shake the thoughts of him in her mind?
“Go out with me,” I blurt, like a first-rate asshole. What am I, fourteen? “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she says and my heart sinks. “But I might be back here, at this very spot tomorrow at eleven.” I grin, keeping the excitement all tampered down. If I don’t watch it, I’ll be doing jumpy claps while shouting ermigawd.”
Oh Cole, sweet, sexy and completely cocky Cole. I love him. He’s the town screw-off with a brother and sister to support because his druggie mother can’t seem to stay sober long enough to care for herself, much less anyone else; plus she hates him, no matter how hard he tries to help her. Cole runs the family bar and is always itching for a fight; a way to gain release from all the stress he’s under. The only other way to de-stress is sex…and he has a lot of that too. Then he meets the pixie-cut blonde with a diamond stud in her nose…
“You’re amazing.” I mean it. Nothing about my words are meant to seduce, meant to tantalize and tease. Yes I want inside her, but even more I want inside her head. I need to know this girl. What makes her tick; what she likes and dislikes. I need to know all of this, despite knowing how long she’ll stay here.”
So it begins. Rae and Cole start as friends, for totally different reasons. Her reasons: bad break-up history, she’s worried he will find out who she really is (famous of course) and what she’s done, therefore would want nothing more to do with her. That reason alone has her weary, he’s captivated her and that’s scary. Cole on the other hand will take whatever she’s willing to give to him…hoping someday it will be more than just friendship. He knows it’s a long shot and she will leave, but he still has to try.
“I have nothing to offer anyone, especially someone like Rae. Every woman past, present and future, is better off without me and my baggage. Hell, I doubt any woman wouldn’t want to handle the truth of my life, much less hear about it. But as I gaze at Rae, something sparks inside of me. “Always.”
A journey of rediscovery and trust as well as learning to let go of the past to focus on the future; leaving the guilt and pain of things that cannot be changed behind. Cole and Violet Rae each give the other something that was missing before—hope. The way their relationship developed felt very real and made me fall in love with not only them, but the author. Her pain is very real as is his. I love how they are both dealing with forms of rejection and heartbreak while forging a relationship based on honesty (mostly) with each other. This is a series I can see reading over and over again…looking forward to more!
**4 Country-Loving Stars**