Declan James has been Brockton Point’s most ineligible bachelor––happy with his short-term relationships and focusing on his business. But now that his closest friends have found their happily-ever-afters, he can’t help but wonder what that might be like. And then Sophia Strombi shows up on his doorstep.
Sophia’s life is––well there’s no other word for it––a mess. She’s grateful to have some work at her brother’s best friend’s bar, and a place to stay. Since she’s working hard to get her life back on track, she’s desperately trying to ignore the fact her boss makes her heart pound in a good way. Wait––no. That’s not good at all.
Besides, she has a huge secret she’s keeping from everyone––one that’s a life-changer.
He waited and the only sounds were the gentle buzz of the computer and their combined breaths. She hoped only she could hear the heavy beat of her heart.
His fingers came to her cheek and he turned her to face him. “Are you going to stay with your parents?”
Stretching her mouth into a phony smile, she shook her head. “No. Would you move back in with your parents at twenty-eight?”
He snorted out a laugh and dropped his hand, leaned back in his chair and gripped the arms rests. “Not in this lifetime. I love them, but no way would I bunk with them again. But that’s different. I haven’t been gone ten years.”
“I bet, even if you had, you wouldn’t crawl home.”
Declan stared at her, his dark eyes too intense for the rollercoaster of emotions Sophia was juggling. “Your parents—your family—love you, Sophia. Whatever happened, they’ll be thrilled you’re home. Why are you so scared?”
She hated that word. It was exactly what she felt, not that she’d tell him that. “I’m not scared. I’m an adult. I’ve moved back into town and I’ve secured employment. Next on the list is a place to live. Then I can show up and tell them I’m just fine.”
Declan reached our and took one of her hands. He rubbed his thumb over the back of it and sensations tumbled around like her emotions. It wasn’t even noon yet. How could she feel so freaking much?
Her eyes shot up to his. “Am I what?”
He leaned into her space again and she wondered what it would be like to press her mouth to his. It was hardly the first time she’d wondered if his lips were as soft as they looked. She wanted to run her hand along his strong, square jaw and feel the rasp of his stubble against her palm. Against her neck.
“Are you fine?” His voice came out a husky whisper.
Blinking back tears and taking a deep breath, she nodded. “I am. Stop worrying. I don’t need another big brother, Declan. I needed a job, you gave me one. And I stand by what I said, you won’t be sorry.”
As they turned back to the spreadsheets and he showed her his accounting program, Sophia wondered if she’d be sorry. Sorry for coming back, for staying away, for keeping secrets. Stealing little glances at Declan while he spoke, she wondered what her life would have been like if she’d stayed. Would she have worked for her family, settled down, married someone they approved of and had a happy little family?
Sophia put a hand to her stomach and swallowed the lump in her throat. No sense wondering “what if” when she had a whole hell of a lot of “what now” to face.
Story of Us is perhaps my favorite of the series…so far!
I loved Declan and Sophia’s story. Sophia’s “secret” takes a while to reveal–there are clues along the way, but Ms. Holford doesn’t hit readers over the head with them. It definitely adds one heck of a wrinkle to their journey to an HEA, though, and certainly helps out with the apparent goal of putting readers through the wringer… 😉
(Tears! The last line of the epilogue brought me to tears! Sigh…well done, Ms. Holford 🙂 )
You don’t have to have read the first two series books to enjoy this one–the characters themselves give you the bare bones details of their stories that help you to understand why they give Dec the advice they do. It’s just enough of a teaser that if you haven’t read them, you’ll probably want to–just a friendly warning… 😉
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.a Rafflecopter giveaway