Denise Hunter has a special talent for writing contemporary romantic fiction. Not only do her books contain a satisfying romance but they probe the depths of human emotion. As a reader I am able to easily identify with her characters and want only the best for them. I might become frustrated with their stubbornness and/or poor decisions yet can also rejoice when positive things happen in their lives. I deem it a good thing when an author can pull me into her stories in this manner.
As the final novel in Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, “Just a Kiss” may have also been the most touching. Riley is secretly in love with his best friend Paige but his plans to tell her ended with the loss of a leg in Afghanistan. He feels that Paige deserves a whole man but despite his self-imposed honorable intentions he fails to convince himself. Paige is happy to help Riley as he adjusts to his new life but finds his ever changing moods puzzling. She also has a few problems of her own. Is there any chance Riley and Paige can acknowledge their true feelings and find a future together? From the very beginning I was hoping Riley and Paige would get together but there were times that did not look at all promising.
“Just a Kiss” was one of those books you just don’t want to put down. Both characters were portrayed credibly with believable and deep emotions. The plot moved along at a steady rate with enough ups and downs to keep it interesting. This book is one that can bring its reader to tears then have her laughing at the witty dialogue the next. I also enjoyed seeing more of the characters from the first two books of the series and learning more about their lives.
“Just a Kiss” can easily be read on its own but to get the whole story, why don’t you pick up the entire series and start at the beginning? I don’t think you will be sorry.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by The Fiction Guild. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.
Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.
But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.
Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?