When trouble strikes…Whistle Stop pulls together
For Ella Morgan, moving to Whistle Stop is a chance to start over, put her horrific past behind her. But now she’s living in a mountain cabin–in dire need of renovation–that her grandmother left her, along with a sizable tax bill. Her job teaching school isn’t going to cover it. She needs cash, and soon.
Volunteer firefighter Tony Granger has returned to Whistle Stop to run the family ranch and be guardian to his orphaned nephew, Johnny. But being a single parent isn’t coming easy, and he’s worried sick he won’t succeed with his plan to adopt the boy, especially if Johnny’s grades don’t improve. He needs a break, and fast.
When Ella finds out Tony doesn’t have a partner for the Dancing With the Firefighters’ benefit–which is offering a large cash prize–and he hits upon hiring her as Johnny’s tutor, it looks like their problems might be solved. But taking dance lessons to win the competition sets alight a burning attraction between them. Can they let go and learn to trust again, or will the scars of their pasts still haunt them?
A Moment to Dance is a sweet contemporary romance, second in the Whistle Stop series. It was a pleasant diversion, though the main characters made me a little nutty at times.
Both Tony (a firefighter! Definite check mark in the plus column) and grade-school teacher Ella had a tendency to be way too mamby-pamby about their relationship. While I’m all for letting things develop slowly and naturally, their back and forth, hot and cold, off and on attitude about their relationship–or lack thereof–went on way too long. Talk about mixed signals! Even their inner thoughts about each other couldn’t decide which way to go. Just when I thought they were making headway, one of them would do a one-eighty in the other direction.
And it definitely didn’t help that most of their reasons for not being together could have been resolved with a conversation or two. I found Ella’s obstacles in particular to be guilty of this–why on earth would she think the fire chief would 1) look down on her for having burn scars on her arms from trying to save her mother and brother from the fatal fire or 2) blame a child (her) for starting the fire in the first place? He of all people would understand the pain in her past, and of course would know that she wasn’t to blame for either.
Which he made clear, when she finally told him. But it could have all been fixed about 200 pages earlier.
His issues too seemed a bit silly, and were easily resolved–once they had a conversation about it. Frustrating.
The secondary characters were enjoyable–actually, there were times when I liked them better than the hero and heroine. Tony’s nephew Johnny and his mother were two of my favorites. And then there’s the puppy…you can’t go wrong with a puppy 😉 The heroines from the first book (A Moment to Love) and third and fourth (A Moment on the Lips and A Moment to Cherish) flitted in and out of the story; this one worked fine as a standalone though there’s definitely a strong teaser here to try and tempt you to read book 3 at least. (And it just might work–I mean, the heroine owns a bakery…)
So although the heroine and hero didn’t quite do it for me in this one, it wasn’t a bad read overall. I’d definitely give another book in the series–or another by the author–a chance in the future. Plenty of other people love this story without reservations, so this could just be a case of it’s not you, story, it’s me…
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.