by Lia Riley
Series: Brightwater #1
Published by Avon Impulse on June 23, 2015
Format: ARC, Ebook
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss.
A kiss is only the beginning...
Pinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is... messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town, Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.
Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real.
I loved everything about this book. I’m actually trying to think of anything I disliked, but I’m at a loss because it’s so well-written and enjoyable.
Annie Carson is a popular mommy blogger. From reading her blog, Musings of a Mighty Mama, you’d think that she has an ideal life. She has a successful husband and an adorable five-year-old son named Atticus. The beautiful photos that Annie posts are Pinterest-worthy. Her blog comments are filled with her readers’ admiration about what a wonderful life she has.
But the reality is that Annie’s life is not perfect at all. In fact, Annie finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. After the divorce, she and Atticus move back to Annie’s small hometown of Brightwater, California.
Annie intends to fix up her family’s old farmhouse and sell it so that she and Atticus can move to San Francisco, where she’ll have ample opportunities to advance her blogging career. They’ll also be closer to her sister, who lives nearby. But upon her return to Brightwater, Annie runs into Sawyer Kane, the local sheriff and cowboy who once broke Annie’s heart when they were teenagers. What happened between them years ago was a big misunderstanding and now Sawyer wants to make things right.
As a boy, he’d loved that bewildering, beautiful girl and lost her. Maybe this was his chance to be the man who finally got a shot at righting past wrongs.
The Carsons and Kanes have had a feud spanning multiple generations. Sawyer’s Grandma Kane believes that the Carson land rightfully belongs to the Kane family and makes no attempts to hide her disdain when Annie moves back to town. Indeed, some residents of Brightwater treat Annie poorly because her father was rather eccentric when Annie and her sister were growing up. Their dad was known as Kooky Carson, mostly due to the fact that he was quite a hippie and embraced all kinds of alternative practices.
But here in the present, Annie doesn’t give much thought to what people think of her or her father. She just wants to do what’s best for her son. It’s apparent throughout the story how much she loves him and wants him to be a happy little boy. There are plenty of opportunities when Annie could wallow in self-pity about the unexpected turns her life has taken, but she doesn’t. I think that’s why I liked her character so much. She’s no pushover and her son is her number one priority.
Something else that I loved are Annie’s blog posts. The book has a hilarious opening chapter. Several other chapters open with her blog posts, which she self-censors to show her best face on her blog. Her true thoughts are included (but struck through) so that we, the readers, can get an idea of how she’s really feeling. I really enjoyed Annie’s quick sense of humor.
Was it a kiss? What’s a kiss, technically? WHAT IS LIFE? Ah forget it. Who needs kisses when there’s a sale at Save-U-More on Ben & Jerry’s Funky Monkey?
Sawyer is a lovable hero and the definition of strong, silent type. And how could I not love a hero who’s a cowboy sheriff by day and amateur astronomer by night? *swoon* He has always held a torch for Annie, even after she left town years ago. He has a crazy ex-fiancee who tries to worm her way back into his life, but he only has eyes for Annie. It’s super sweet. Understandably, Annie is hesitant to get involved with Sawyer since she’s planning on leaving Brightwater in the near future. Also, she’s not sure how Atticus will be affected. But there’s a really lovely exchange between Annie and Atticus that shows how good for her Sawyer is:
“Do you love Sheriff Sawyer?”
The engine revved and she eased her foot off the clutch. “What makes you ask that?”
“Whenever you see him you smile.”
“Do I?” She mentally raced through explanations and arrived at the most simple. “I guess he makes me happy.”
“That’s good. I like you happy.”
At first, when Annie comes back to town, Sawyer is surprised to learn that she has a child and he admits that he doesn’t know much about kids. But the more that he spends time with them, the more easily he finds himself interacting with Atticus. In turn, Annie realizes what a good presence Sawyer is in her son’s life.
Annie and Sawyer’s chemistry just sizzles. There’s this delicious air of sexual tension whenever they’re together. So when their relationship turns physical, it’s just plain awesome. The fact that they had this history together from years ago makes the relationship that much more meaningful.
Life has a funny way of denting us all in ways that will never fully be fixed. But if you are lucky, one day you might find someone who loves those banged-up parts.
As I mentioned, I absolutely loved this book and I would recommend it to fans of Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series and Maisey Yates’s Copper Ridge series. It has a similar small-town setting and a really well-done cast of supporting characters, combined with a romance that’s fueled by humor and sexiness. This was my first time reading something by Lia Riley and I’m looking forward to the next books in the Brightwater series.
Rating: 5 stars