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This Heart of Mine - Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey Creek #8
Published by: Harlequin, on 31 March 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400, Format: eARC
Reading Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge, Winter COYER 2014 2015
First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both—if they can forgive the mistakes in their past…
This Heart of Mine took me completely by surprise! A beautiful second chance at love story, set in one of my favorite fictional towns is just filled with good stuff even when there are bad things happening, too.
When I started This Heart of Mine, I was prepared not only to not enjoy the story, but to not enjoy the heroine either. And I’m so happy I was wrong! Phoenix hasn’t only had a tough childhood, her adult life hasn’t exactly been a piece of cake, either. In prison for 17 years, never having met her son before she was finally liberated, she decided to brave it all and go back to the town where everything happened! Riley wasn’t thrilled she was coming home, but for once, he had agreed to finally let her meet their son, Jake.
I was amazed at Phoenix’s inner strength, after all she has been through, she still tried to see the best in people, help when she could, and getting by as best as she could. And Riley was less uptight than I thought he was as well. Their story is filled with trouble, though, as most people in Whiskey Creek do not want Phoenix back, and nobody wants to see Phoenix and Riley together. This Heart of Mine is beautifully written, and it was awesome to get to know the main characters better.
Another great surprise in This Heart of Mine was Jacob! He is such a great kid, only wanting the best for both his mom and his dad, and to hell with the rest of Whiskey Creek if they can’t see that these two are good for each other. Phoenix had to show restraint and seeing how she dealt with those who were willing to go to extreme lengths to make her leave again made me truly love her!
Written in past tense, third person point of view, This Heart of Mine showed me both Riley’s and Phoenix’s feelings, and to some extent Jacob’s as well. Reeling me in from the beginning, the story definitely did things to my heart as well, not only the characters felt the full impact of everything Phoenix had to fight for to get her life back!
A jolt of hope and happiness shot through her that he seemed to have enjoyed himself. The path ahead of them would not be smooth, but she’d survived her first breakfast with Jacob and did’t feel she was about to fall apart. It probably helped that she’d had a lot of practice with disappointment.
Was it an ego thing? Did he want her to continue to worship at his feet?
He’d obviously noticed how carefully she’d tried to circumvent him, but she pretended he hadn’t said anything. He didn’t understand what going seventeen years without that kind of touch did to someone. She was so… empty, so lonely. She didn’t want to end up doing exactly what she’d promised she wouldn’t do – crave his touch.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: