Do you read at night? I confess that I do. In fact, that’s usually about the only time that I read. Doing so any other time of day makes me feel lazy. And, in truth, I find it hard to settle my brain enough to concentrate on a book during working hours.
I had planned to read a few pages of this new story before I fell asleep one night last week. Instead, I finished it around four AM. *Eye roll.*
Here’s the short version:
In this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.
She has the touch when it comes to food, but PJ McKinley’s dream of opening her own restaurant is one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home as prize to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes she was meant to win.
Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that a not-for-profit enterprise will be good for the community.
When the eccentric philanthropist weighs the proposals, she proposes an outlandish tie-breaker: PJ and Cole will share the house for a year to see which idea works best. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into an out-and-out rivalry—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. But could their magnetic attraction cost them everything they’ve ever wanted?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a straight romance. This one had palpable chemistry. More intense than any other Christian book that I’ve read. This was probably due to the overriding concentration on physical beauty. Cole constantly thought about her hair, her eyes, her legs. PJ focused on his muscles, his chest, his lips.
About three-fourths of the way through the story, the more permanent personality traits were mentioned, but I felt like the relationship was far more physically motivated.
That was a shame, in my opinion, although many consistent romance readers will likely disagree with me. But the plot provided plenty of opportunities for JP and Cole to admire each other in their compassion, personality, generosity, and hard work. Well beyond the typical physical attraction. With both of them being people of faith, I also felt the author missed an opportunity to deepen the relationship in that realm.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a good read. Obviously it held my attention, though I did scan through passages of repetitive internal thoughts. The ending satisfied and tied up loose ends.
I think those who regularly read contemporary romance will like this, including those who prefer mainstream romance, since the Christian themes are subtle.
This is the first time I’ve read anything by Denise Hunter, though I’ve heard a number of positive comments about her books. I could certainly picture this one on the Hallmark Channel! I appreciate her publisher and Netgalley for providing a free advanced e-book in return for an objective review.