From the outside, Cole Braden lives a charmed life. He’s a top orthopedic surgeon with a thriving practice, strong family ties, and friends he adores. But there’s a lonely spot inside Cole that no one can see. He has an enormous heart—and a painful past—but the desire to love and be loved is too strong to ignore.
A chance encounter brings Leesa and Cole together, and the attraction is immediate and intense. But a relationship is the last thing Leesa needs—and the only thing Cole wants. Long talks, heated moments, and deep connections are hard to resist, but the harder Cole tries, the more Leesa pulls away. Cole might truly be the right man for Leesa, but is Leesa the right woman for him?
Leesa/Annalise was a sympathetic character–she lived through what is pretty much every teacher’s worst nightmare and comes out still standing on the other side. I have to admit I thought she was crazy for her need to confront her accuser at the end, but it worked out well and the way it played out made sense both for the characters and for the story.
(However, as a former junior high English teacher–as Leesa was in the book–one aspect of the story drove me crazy. In all of her fond reminiscing of her past life, Leesa never once thought about all the work involved in teaching ELA at that level. To hear her tell it, she came home from work every day refreshed from imparting knowledge on bright and shining preteen and teenaged darlings and then spent the evening doing recreational reading in blessed solitude. When did she read and grade papers? Put together lesson plans? Deal with the common core? State tests? Surly hormonal children? Helicopter parents? I’m not saying it’s not a rewarding job–it definitely is. I did it for ten years, and loved both the job and my students. But it’s a lot of time-consuming, use-up-your-“free”-time work. I graded papers at just about every family function for all of those ten years; ask any member of my extended family. There’s waaaay more time for all the reading she claimed to do every day during summer vacation than during the school year!)
Though this is book 14 of the series, it worked fine as a standalone. It’s the second book featuring the Maryland branch of the Bradens–Cole’s brother and girlfriend Jewel from the first book ( Healed By Love ) play a pretty big role here, and I’ve added their book to my TBR because the bits we hear of their story make it sound like it’s right up my alley.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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