by Casey Dawes
When Sarah Ladina purchased an old Victorian in Costanoa with plans to turn it into a high-end destination inn, she had no idea life could get so complicated. Well, maybe she did. As an unwed pregnant woman who couldn’t cook, she had her work cut out for her. A good-looking disabled veteran, a doctor who orders modified bed rest, and an ex who’s trying to get back into her life make her wonder if she’ll ever be able to stand on her own and open the inn in time for her mother’s best friend’s wedding.
After returning from duty in the Middle East wounded in both body and spirit, Hunter Evans is in search of employment and a home, but finding a job has been tough and housing doesn’t come cheap in Costanoa, the town that he loves the most on the California Coast. Can he strike a deal with the pretty innkeeper to trade a room for handy work?
Sunday morning Hunter pressed a shirt and put it on, along with his best khakis. He thought about picking up a bunch of flowers on the way, but laughed at himself. He was trying to find a room, not a relationship.
“Oh, it’s you again,” Sarah said when she opened the door, the dog standing next to her. She was frowning.
Against all reason, something about her made him want to scoop her up in his arms and hug her. Because her t-shirt and jeans were dripping with dust, cobwebs, and streaks of soap, it was probably a bad idea, but her short height and big brown eyes gave her an appealing elfin look. He’d always been a sucker for Eowyn in Lord of the Rings.
“I still don’t have any rooms,” Sarah continued and began to shut the door.
“Wait,” he said.
She stopped. “Why should I?”
He smiled. Considering their size difference, she really had no choice. But he bet she’d fight him with every ounce of her strength.
She’d probably fight like a girl -- nasty.
“This is an inn, isn’t it?” he asked.
She smirked at him. “It’s an unopened inn. No room. Get the picture?” She started to inch the door closed.
This time he shoved his foot in the gap. The swinging door clanked on his prosthetic.
Sarah gasped. “I’m so sorry!”
He grinned. “I’m not. It would have hurt a lot more on the other leg.”
Review Rating: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS
Review: Two people trying to start over just might find a chance at love. The story of California Homecoming introduces readers to Sarah and Hunter. Sarah has been having problems with an ex, although now he decides to show up and want back in the picture. Add to that her meddling mother who tries to have the best intentions, and it makes for a complicated life. She's ready to do something for herself and for the future of her unborn child, if only things would fall into place.
Hunter is a wounded soldier, feeling a little out of place and the strain between himself and his parents don't help much. He's coming around and finds himself very drawn to Sarah, even with all of her complications.
These two are perfect for each other, if they just open their hearts to love and fight the demons that threaten to surface within themselves.
I enjoyed this story. The characters are well fleshed out, the pacing is excellent and I love the quirkiness of some of the character and it's reflected in both the narrative and dialog. This is my first read by this author and most definitely not my last. If you love a good contemporary romance with well rounded characters and want to see two down on their luck people get their break, then check out California Homecoming.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author Casey Dawes lives and writes on the bank of the Clark Fork River in Montana with the love of her life and two cats who think they own the joint. To learn more about Casey, visit her website: www.stories-about-love.com.
Casey will be awarding a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (a wine served in California Homecoming)(US ONLY) OR a $25 Amazon gift certificate (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, as well as donating $20.00 to Fisher House (http://www.fisherhouse.org/donate/) in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the winner's choice. At each stop, Casey will be donating on behalf of one randomly drawn host $5.00 to Fisher House (http://www.fisherhouse.org/donate/) in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the host’s choice.
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