Wow, I had no idea I could read a book so fast! I started this new story with enthusiasm and eagerness, as I do with any Annie Rains book. She is truly a masterful storyteller and one who has created a town I desperately wish were real. So I could move there. Right now. I dove into this book and didn't come up for air until the last page was read. It captured my attention from the first page and didn't let go. The firefighter hero and the conflicted baker/teacher heroine were such a cute couple, seemingly polar opposites and yet they just fit. Pair that with a cast of secondary characters that will make you laugh and have you feeling all sorts of strong emotions, and you have what I call an Annie Rains Classic.
Ever since she had to drop out of college to raise her younger sister, after their parents died in a tragic accident, Brenna McConnell has made it her mission to keep her sister safe and make sure she has a positive future. To Brenna, this means going to college and staying far, far away from anything related to the firefighting dream her sister is so focused on. When Brenna meets her neighbor, Luke Marini, who also happens to be the new Assistant Fire Chief in Sweetwater Springs, she immediately feels a spark. But she doesn't have time for romance and neither does he, especially since it would make for an awkward situation if things went south. Determined to keep their distance, Brenna's sister throws a wrench in things when she abruptly moves out upon getting hired at the fire station by none other than Luke. Luke is supportive and that infuriates Brenna. As sparks fly and tension mounts, their restraint wears thing and romance begins to blossom. But will it be enough to break through the walls these two have built around their tender hearts?
I loved the relationship between Brenna and Luke! They're the epitome of an "opposites attract" couple, and as the story progressed, you could see why it meshed really well. Brenna was anxious all the time, struggling to be both mother and sister to Eve, her younger sister, and she was running her mother's catering business when what she really wanted to do was be a teacher. Meanwhile, Luke is living his dream as a fire chief, struggling to work through his heartache from a past relationship, and gaining confidence as things in his life begin to fall into place. They were good for each other - Brenna taught Luke how to love again and Luke taught Brenna how to follow her dreams and let others follow theirs. It was a very symbiotic relationship, and it was clearly one they both desperately needed. Now, my only issue with this story was really just one character - Eve. She was 18 years old, so obviously rebellious, impulsive, and a brat. Teenagers are awful - I should know, I was one once. The way she treated Brenna was disappointing, and I didn't buy the whole switcheroo later in the story when she suddenly becomes mature and appreciates Brenna. Couldn't stand Eve, and I'm sorry, Annie, but if you make a romance for her, it's going to be a struggle for me to read. But if anyone can make me love a character I don't like, it would be you!
Eager to read more about the people in Sweetwater Springs! I can never get enough of this dream-like town.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**