by Sharon Struth
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Rose Richardson is on the run from her dangerous ex-husband, a crime she didn’t commit—and the embarrassment of being an advice columnist with a disastrous personal life. Donning a fake identity, she escapes to a lovely lake house rental in rural Connecticut…only to discover her refuge is already occupied. Leo Drake is devastatingly handsome–and clearly wants to be alone. Rose stands her ground, even while she fears being found out for the fugitive she is. Plus, her sweet dog, Bella, seems to like the brooding widower, so how bad could he be?
A prize winning novelist, Leo lost everything after he lost his wife. But his mysterious housemate just might be the muse he needs to reignite his writing career. Despite his misgivings, Rose has secrets that only draw him closer, firing his imagination, even as his heart struggles with the attraction building between them. Plus, he kind of likes the quirky pooch. And as he tries to untangle his unusual predicament, Bella’s antics just might be the key to showing the loner that love is the only inspiration he needs…
A loud creak sounded from above. Her heartbeat picked up speed. Another creak. Footsteps? A light upstairs flashed on and cut a beam to the staircase wall. Bella’s ears perked at the same moment the slow rise of panic crawled through Rose’s veins.
Move. Move! Only she stood still, frozen in fear as her mind raced with images from vagrants to serial killers.
The dog emitted a guttural growl.
Slow creaks of the floorboards above magnified in the silent house. Rose stretched her trembling hand, snatched the leash off the table, and leaned over, just shy of snapping it on Bella so they could race like hell out the door.
Footsteps pounded. Fast and hard, they hit the staircase. Before she could grab the dog’s collar, Bella bolted.
Bella’s howl echoed in the silent house. She stopped at the bottom step and stared fearlessly into the face of danger. Terror, however, had cemented Rose’s feet in place.
A dark-haired man reached the bottom, gripping a baseball bat in a ready-to-launch position over his shoulder. “Don’t move!” He stood at the last step, too close for her to make a quick dash out the door.
Rose’s heart pounded against her ribs and her mouth went dry. She raised her hands in the air. “Please. Don’t hurt me!”
The intruder blinked back at her through sleepy eyes. Thick tresses of messy hair jutted from his head. The rugged edges of an unshaven shadow highlighted his tight angled jaw. Her gaze traveled past his wrinkled, loosely buttoned plaid shirt, his baggy sweatpants, and stopped at his bare feet.
Bella bared her teeth, glaring at him bravely as he towered over the short basset hound. Her nose lifted and she inhaled a sharp breath. Owoooooooooooo! Owooooooooo!
The dog’s war cry got the stranger’s attention for a split second, but he quickly returned his narrowed gaze to Rose. “I don’t know who you are, but you’d better have a damn good reason for breaking into my house.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Bestselling author Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers' Choice Awards for Best first Book. Her follow-up release, SHARE THE MOON, is book one in the Blue Moon Lake Novel Series and is a Barnes & Noble romance bestseller. The series also includes Twelve Nights, Harvest Moon, and Bella Luna. Look for the release of THE SWEET LIFE in September 2017, a story set in Tuscany, Italy.
She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut, along with her husband, two daughters and canine companion. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit her website
Subscribe to newsletter
The tour dates can be found here
4 out of 5 stars
Bella Luna by Sharon Struth is a contemporary romance with a bit of mystery that centers around Rose Richardson, who has fled her crumbling life and wants to hide out under an assumed identity in rural Connecticut. Her plans are complicated by an unwanted tenant in the house she is supposed to be leasing, but she and her Basset Hound Bella are going to stay in that house whether her new landlord, Leo Drake, objects or not. Leo is a writer who is struggling to finish his new novel and he doesn’t need any distractions, particularly not a woman who seems to have plenty of secrets. Neither wants any connection with the other, but something or someone seems to be forcing them together, until each has to decide whether to share painful elements from the past and explore the possibility of a future together.
This was an enjoyable tale that builds slowly with a mysterious heroine and a brooding, inhospitable hero who get off to a bad start but grow on each other, despite some fairly hefty obstacles. Each has significant personal problems stemming from the past and there is the shadow of a ruthless man out to destroy all that she has built but this is not a heavy angst-filled tale. The lovely small-town feel and the leavening effect provided by the personable four-footed character allow the reader to feel compassion for the characters but not weighted down by their tragedies. I thought a few of the scenarios were a bit forced and the seasoning necessary for a true evolution of the relationship was a little out of sequence but I enjoyed the story anyway.
This story is part of the ‘Blue Moon Lake Romance Book’ series but it can be read as a stand-alone tale without any problem. The secondary characters give hints of the other stories that are part of the series and make one curious about their tales and I am intrigued enough to want to read more books by this author. Those who enjoy gentle small town romances will appreciate getting to know these folks who allow one to boo at the villain and sigh happily at the lead characters getting a happy ever after.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review