Highland Falls, Book 1
From the publisher:
Sparks fly between an L.A. career woman and a former Army Ranger in this delightful enemies-to-lovers romance from the USA Today bestselling queen of small-town love stories.
Welcome to Highland Falls, a small town where love is always in the air.
In just a few months Abby Everhart has gone from being a top LA media influencer to an unemployed divorcée living out of her car. So inheriting her great-aunt’s homestead comes at the perfect time. Abby heads to Highland Falls, North Carolina, to spruce up Honeysuckle Farm before putting it on the market for some much-needed cash. But instead of finding a charming getaway, she discovers a serious fixer-upper, complete with a leaky roof, overgrown yard, and a reclusive — albeit sexy — man living on the property.
Ex-Delta Force soldier Hunter MacKenzie has faced war and loss, but nothing has quite prepared him for an outgoing redhead who’s determined to turn his life upside down. Hunter doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, especially a city girl who plans to sell the only place he’s ever felt at home. But the sparks between them are undeniable. Spending time with Abby is easy. Convincing her to stay for good is another matter entirely.
I’ve read the second and third books in this series and really enjoyed them, so I went back and found the first book that I missed. Sometimes the first book in a series ends up being the best, but I actually liked the two that followed better. I think part of that is an author goes into a series knowing they have to introduce a bunch of characters who won’t play a big part in the story, but will in later books. So there are a lot of characters here that are briefly mentioned and sometimes I found that distracting.
Abby and Hunter are the most mismatched pair I’ve read about in a while. They both have tons of baggage but handle it differently. Abby is determined to get past her previous rejection and regain the fame and fortune that was taken from her. Hunter appears to have PTSD (my diagnosis, thank you very much!) and has chosen to withdraw from society completely. He lives on the farm and Abby’s Aunt bequeathed him most of the land and the barn, while leaving Abby the house and the backyard. Neither is thrilled about that but Abby desperately needs money, so she has to take on renovating the house to sell it. It is in very bad shape.
While Hunter was living on the farm, he somehow managed to avoid seeing his family or anyone, for that matter, by never going into the small town where they all live. Apparently he felt it worth his time to travel to the next town to do his shopping – a town where no one knows him or bothers him. At least that was my understanding. He is also an artist, a sculptor, and his barn houses all his creations as he refuses to show them or try and sell them.
Abby is a YouTube star with millions of followers. But when she gets dumped, the ex manages to take it all away from her. She ends up living in her car for a while, works as an Uber driver, and is just barely hanging on when she inherits the farmhouse across the country. Thinking it is the solution to her problems, she is determined to fix it up and sell it. Then she meets Hunter.
It’s pretty much hate at first sight. He hates women who wear high heels on a farm and carry a tiny dog wearing a dress. She hates that he is so taciturn and obviously has disdain for her, but she is a very friendly woman who likes to chatter, something else he hates. But grudgingly he agrees to help her fix up the place.
You can guess what happens but it takes a long time for them to get together. Usually the journey is the most fun, but it sort of dragged a bit for me. Honestly, if I had read this book first I might not have read the next two. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and I’m glad I didn’t read this series in order. There are plenty of laughs here though, and it is a sweet romance with a satisfying ending. By the way, the Kindle version is on sale for $2.99 for however long that lasts.
7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
SUMMER ON HONEYSUCKLE RIDGE by Debbie Mason. Forever (May 26, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538716946. 400 pages.