Amazon (free on KU)
This was such a fun, light-hearted romance! I love small town romance, especially when one of the two MCs are from the city, so you get to see them adjust and realize the beauty and value of living in a smaller environment. It was really exciting to see the characters develop over the course of the book, going from enemies to friends to lovers - very swoonworthy and emotional. As a closed-door romance with a homey feel to it, it felt very much like a Hallmark movie, so if you love Hallmark, you will love this book. I could easily see it being made into a movie, and in fact, if it's not, Hallmark is seriously missing out. It's a later book in the series, so I was worried I wouldn't fully appreciate the story without having read the previous books. However, I felt it could definitely be a standalone, if you want to start reading here.
Climbing up the corporate ladder as a woman in a male-dominated industry is hard enough, but when you have a frenemy trying to climb alongside you and knock you off, things can get pretty competitive. So when Jackie Dalton is given the opportunity to obtain the coveted VP spot at her company, she will do whatever she needs to do - including shut down a low-performing hospital in the small town of Smithville. Under the guise of a journalist writing about the town, she never expects that it will be full of charming people who welcome her with open arms. And she especially doesn't anticipate meeting Mitch Sorrow, the local EMT and dubbed the Smithville Stud by the locals. When Mitch discovers why she's really in town, they make a deal - she will give him one week to convince her that the hospital is worth saving. Forced to spend time together, they butt heads and trade jabs at each other's egos, but eventually their hearts begin to see that it's not just the hospital that is worth saving. Maybe the love they have been waiting for is worth saving too.
Jackie had the biggest character development throughout the book, moving from a cocky city girl who thinks herself superior to the small town residents of Smithville to a vulnerable woman who sees what she has always wanted may be right in front of her. In her early 30s, she is starting to think about kids, but not being in a relationship has made her set those plans aside. When she meets Mitch, she sees the life she has dreamed of but always felt was out of reach. I loved seeing her change and realize how wonderful life could be. Mitch was an insecure guy with the body of a god, so it was funny to see how he acted around Jackie. Both had enormous egos and tempers to match, but Mitch always felt the less mature one of the two. While Jackie learned from her mistakes, Mitch took a lot longer to catch up. I was a bit disappointed in how he handled news later on in the book, never taking responsibility for his own part in the drama, and Jackie let him get away with that. I would have liked to see Jackie stand up for herself more, but that didn't happen. Nevertheless, this is a romance so it all works out in the end, and I was really happy to see how it played out. It makes me wish I could find a town like Smithville to move to, because I am definitely a country girl living in a city.
I look forward to reading more about Smithville, and I'll be going back to read the previous books in the series. Can't get enough of the small town atmosphere!
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**