This time out, I have the latest from Karen Rose Smith, Once Upon a Groom (Harlequin Special Edition, received from author), second in her ‘Reunion Brides’ series. In this installment, Jenny Farber is reunited with her high school sweetheart fifteen years after he left her broken-hearted. She’s remained in their small hometown, working with first his parents and now just his father on the family ranch, while Zack Decker left Miners Bluff as fast as he could after graduation to do what he most wanted: make films. But he’s come back because Jenny believes his father is ill. He sees nothing different with his dad, just the same man who tried to stop him from following his dream, so his visit is brief. Still, he spends the next few months thinking about Jenny, until he gets another call from her, this one much more serious. When he returns home this time, things are a lot different, though his relationship with his father is no less difficult. Jenny has always held out hope that Zack and his dad could work things out between them, though after his mother died, that became an impossible dream. She’s also held a secret for fifteen years, one she knows she should share with Zack, even though it’s still extremely painful for her. With him home for an extended period this time, it may be the right time to share that pain with him. Zack has always wondered what would have happened if Jenny had left with him as he’d asked her to do. Now he wants to explore what is still between them, the chemistry and the tangled emotions. Jenny is afraid to do that, because she knows Zack still doesn’t intend to stay in Miners Bluff, and she doesn’t want to have her heart broken again. Ms. Smith is terrific at getting inside her characters’ heads and hearts and making readers believe in their dilemmas. Zack has some major issues to work through before he can think about a serious relationship, even though he doesn’t realize it early on. Jenny, on the other hand, knows her own issues and their causes, but risking her heart again is too dangerous when the man in question has no intention of putting down roots. Zack manages to surprise her more than once, which makes it impossible to deny her heart what it wants, and making it impossible for readers to not fall in love with him, too. I’m borrowing four of Cupid’s five arrows for this one. Zack and Jenny and their circle of friends and family will keep you reading until you reach that happy ending right along with them.
Until next time, happy reading!