the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble
side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like
love…Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to
raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked
back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost
the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only
weak spot: the girl he left behind…Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her
from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that,
on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of
her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and
it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return
back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore
their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once
Don’t miss the next Cottonbloom romance
coming June 2016
author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in
Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was
convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most
logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed
boots for several years.
writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The
first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book
Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England,
she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt.
Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of
books on her nightstand.
“You left Cottonbloom without telling me. Without saying good-bye. I want to know why.” Monroe hadn’t meant for the words to come out at all, much less with such vehemence.
“It was complicated.” Cade broke eye contact. “You were a good kid in a bad situation.”
“Weren’t you a good kid in a bad situation?”
He shifted toward her, bracing a hand on the dash and laying his other arm over the back of her seat, invading her space. She didn’t retreat. His intensity spurred her heart rate into an erratic gallop, yet she wasn’t intimidated. Perhaps it was only echoes of the past, but he made her feel safe, even when he was the one she should be scared of.
“I grew up fast and tough.” His voice contained more than a hint of warning.
“You were nice to me,” she said softly.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking I’m nice. I wasn’t then, and I’m sure as hell not now.”
He ran a callused finger down her cheek, the rasp igniting her nerve endings like a flint. His hand continued south and wrapped itself in her braid, the slight tug on her scalp sending shivers through her body in spite of the sun bearing down on the truck. Her nipples felt tight, and she hoped her tight sports tank masked her sudden, inexplicable arousal.
He pulled her braid, forcing her toward him. She didn’t fight him. He dropped his face next to hers, his coarse beard hair caressing her cheek, his mouth close to her ear. “If I see something I want, I go after it and get it by any means necessary.”
“How very Machiavellian.” She tried a laugh, but it came out more like a stuttering sigh. His scent hooked her even closer, and her lips grazed the outer rim of his ear.
He pulled back, his green-eyed gaze roving her face. She returned the favor, noting the faint brackets around his mouth, the crinkles at his eyes, the thick beard. A full-grown man. Yet was he so different from the boy she remembered?
“Ovid.” The movement of his lips jammed the cogs of her brain. The word made no sense. Her confusion must have been obvious, because the mouth she stared at tipped up in the corners, deepening the grooves. “The Greek philosopher Ovid, not Machiavelli, actually wrote: The end justifies the means.”
“Ovid. Of course.” Apparently, Monroe had slept through that philosophy class at Ole Miss. The fact that high-school dropout Cade Fournette was quoting Ovid made her wonder what other mysteries she might uncover if she went digging.
Just when she was ready to grab a shovel, he released her braid and slipped away. His limp was less pronounced as he took the stairs holding the cane parallel to the ground. Although he’d physically released her, she felt bound to him in some other fundamental way, incapable of tearing her eyes off him until he disappeared behind Sawyer’s front door. Even then, she sat, unable to drive away for a long minute.
How could the simple brush of Cade’s finger ignite a fire when other men left her cold? As her arousal ebbed, she realized something else. She’d just been manipulated by a master. He hadn’t explained why he left.
She spent the evening going through the motions of her life, eating when her stomach growled and heading to bed when her eyes felt heavy. A few short hours ago, her life had been tidy and predictable and boring. Cade Fournette’s return had spun her into chaos.
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 Stars
The first installment in Laura Trentham’s new series is a touching and delightful story set in the middle of Cottonbloom, a small Southern town divided in two by the river : the wealthy Mississipi side and the poor Louisiana side.
Since the death of his parents, Cade Fournette lives with his younger brother and sister and their uncle in a trailer on the Louisiana side. His family is poor and he has to resort to poaching to feed them. One day, during his nightly activities, he meets Monroe Kirby, a young girl living with her mother on the Mississipi side of Cottonbloom. Terrified, she ran away from home after being molested by her mother’s boyfriend. Cade doesn’t hesitate to threaten the man to convince him to move out of town. Cade is a real knight in shining armor, protecting his younger siblings and his new friend Monroe. But Cade is forced to leave Cottonbloom, in search of a better future. Monroe has never forgotten him and still treasures the memory of their nights under the cottonwood tree.
Ten years later, Cade is finally back. A successful and ruthless entrepreneur owning an engine design company based in Seattle, his life is bigger and more exciting than anything Monroe could imagine. Cade has no intention of staying, but being around Monroe leaves him feeling off-balance. He is fascinated by her, she is honest, selfless and independent. During his absence, she has learned to protect herself and is a double black belt in jujitsu and karate!
Cade and Monroe complete each other perfectly. Circumstances have separated them, and they have been lonely for years. Now that they are reunited, their funny banter was delightful, their attraction intense. Both are confused about the storm of emotions they feel for each other. Their friendship is becoming so much more. But despite all his professional achievements, Cade still has feelings of inadequacy. Will he be brave enough to acknowledge that all he ever wanted or needed is still in Cottonbloom ?
Engaging characters, a beautiful story that kept me turning the pages, a perfect small town feel and flawless writing, this book has it all. So kudos to Laura Trentham for this new series and I’m glad Sawyer and Tally, Cade’s siblings, will get their own stories, because I wanted to stay in Cottonbloom for a longer time !
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks for visiting and happy reading !