A Review by Wendy
3.5 Life Lessons Learned Stars
* * * 1/2
* * * 1/2
People underestimate the power of reading romance novels, in my opinion. I have mentioned this in past reviews. This format allows authors to showcase so many situations of why people are the way they are...and then have them learn to remedy these issues and move forward. Now all books may not be masterpieces of literature...and some may tell their stories better than others...But if you allow the messages to sink in...there are life lessons to learn.
Loris Foster is an accomplished author on many levels. I have read a few of her books and in all of them the crafting is there. In this book, she is dealing with a couple of issues; abandonment, shame, assumptions to name a few. She takes the neighbor attraction/helper and mixes it with the need of the object of desire to accept his help and then his interest. She couples this with another love interest couple which highlights the mistake in making assumptions...for everyone involved ....
Like we have all heard- Assuming makes an ass of you and me....
Our main couple is Jason and Honor.
Jason is part of a solid, loving family of brothers and parents who were supportive in every step of their upbringing. The brothers are close knit and when Jason's older brother's idealistic married life falls apart, he doesn't hesitate to have the brother and son move into the home he is refurbishing. Jason has bought into a neighborhood which had fallen on hard times... but is now on the brink of becoming vital again. Numerous people have taken on the task of bring almost shacks back with a lot of blood sweat and tears...to their new glory. The make up of the ones doing this is primarily some of the "alpha guys" of the town. It takes a lot to do projects like this. Good thing, Jason is one of those men who never met a tool he couldn't work. As talented as he was with his hands, his vision was equally strong in restoring.
Honor has had the opposite foundation in family support. At a very young age, her mother got up and left her father and never looked back. After a while the father decided he couldn't cut it...and brought in the wife's grandfather to take her. So at 12, Honor was left by the two people who should have been there for her. Granddad, though, had all the love in his heart for his granddaughter. He proceeded to show her what love could feel like...but Honor had already learned her most important life lesson... never depend on ANYONE... for you never know when they will leave you.
Honor loved her Granddad and he loved her... that was clear to her...What was also clear was every single relative on her mother's side hated her...and she was told in so many ways every chance they got. Honor learned how to be strong, do things on her own and fought to be independent no matter what. She learned to be a hairdresser, saved her money and didn't take any of the offers from her Granddad... she was determined to not give the other relatives any inch to their accusations she was stealing their birth right or funds.
Time passed and Granddad became ill with dementia. Honor took on the responsibility without any hesitation. Although it was clearly a burden financially and trying emotionally to see the one who truly loved her, she logistically was handling it all... Honor did whatever she could to make it all work.
Buying one of those dilapidated homes was her first step in feeling like she was planting her own roots. It also was much closer to the care center her Granddad was in... one which was the best for his condition. Honor knew by buying this home she was taking on something she had no real experience in....But she knew how to read, watch YouTube, learn and try. And by God, she was going to make this place her haven.
Luckily, she had her best friend Lexie. Lexie was there when a scared, closed off 12 year old entered the same school she was going to... and from their first meeting, they became "sisters from another mother." Lexie witnessed all the treatment the evil relatives inflicted on Honor...and was there to allow her to vent...But as open, caring, gutsy and loving Lexie was... Honor was closed off, distant and defined the word private. Lexie knew Honor loved her... and when Honor was in pain...she would reach out to Lexie...but there were also times when Lexie still felt there were barriers even after all this time.
We meet all these characters when Honor is moving into her new house. Lexie is there claiming she will be a huge help...As Honor is trying to maneuver the van to her house, she hits a garbage can near the next door neighbor's driveway... a driveway which looks perfectly done leading to a house which shows all the care which was put into its rebirth....And coming over to see what happened is a group of men ranging in age from youngish to perfect for her. Lexie is all ready to meet this man buffet...and starts to call out to them. With the friendly advances, the women learn two are brothers and one a son. Lexie continues to flirt shamelessly with all of them but also notices the oldest, Jason is checking our her quiet friend, Honor...and Honor is caught looking at him too...
Because Jason has on no shirt....
Honor pulls herself out of her daze, apologizes for the accident with the trashcan and offers to pay for it... Jason waves it off and when Lexie starts to talk about how Honor is going to be his next door neighbor...Honor immediately lets Jason know she will be doing everything and not to think she is a helpless woman needing rescuing. Jason continues to take it all in and Lexie manipulates the other fellas to assist with unloading... or at least it looks that way to Honor... yet Jason looks her dead in the eye and explains this is how neighbors do for others.
This is the key to the dynamic between these two...the attraction/love/hate/confusion is there from the start. Honor feels with her crazy family, evil relatives and responsibilities, she does not want or wish to involve anyone. Her life is just too messy. Jason is also thinking he will not be in relationships either...He had his older brother's perfect life as the template he wanted... and then that fell apart with the wife cheating and stealing all of the savings.. even the college fund for their son. If his brother's marriage fell apart... then there wasn't much hope for him... and he was just fine with it...
Then why was he so caught up in this little spitfire...why does she run out of her house in the middle of the night...and what is happening with someone blowing up her mailbox...Jason worries for her, feels protective and if he is reading all the signs Honor does not want to admit too... she is taken with him, as well.
While we are given Jason and Honor's romance, we are treated to Lexie and her interest in another neighbor of Honor's. The fella is someone who is dedicated to his program for at risk kids... something he knows a lot about... as he would have been wearing that label during his own childhood. He survived and now he runs a MMA program to give them an outlet for all of their rage.
Sullivan didn't miss how hot Lexie is and she let him know she is totally open to fun and games with no ties... but when Sullivan gets to really know Lexie, he realizes there may be more to her than the party girl he had pigeonholed her as...Unfortunately, Lexie heard him loud and clear when he discounted her... and it hurt. Lexie wasn't about his image of her to deter her interest... she would just have to be who she was and see what happens.
Foster weaves both of these two relationships with a way to keep our interest and desire for all to have their HEA. We get a bit of mystery and lots of emotional push/pull between Jason and Honor. They are hot for each other and Jason has the patience of a saint...understanding the huge trust hurdle he is up against with Honor... He feels she is worth it... and shows her over and over again... he is there for her. With the budding romance of Lexie and Sullivan, it is as hot as you would think with these two.
This is a quick read and Foster fans will appreciate her bringing these characters to life.
A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.
Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.
Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here: http://lorifoster.com/benefit-books/