by Claire McEwen
GENRE: Contemporary Romance - Category
His first taste of freedom was only the beginning…
Arch Hoffman has paid for his crimes. All he wants is to come home to rural California and start over. He's not looking to be a hero when he rescues a wedding cake from hitting the dirt at the ranch next door. But culinary artist Mandy Allen's irresistible smile makes him glad to save the day—and thankful that they're neighbors.
Mandy's just the distraction Arch needs. Her sweet voice quiets the memories that threaten his chance to be a better man, and he's determined to help her confront her fears. But the past is its own prison, and even love might not be enough to set them free.
“Your cake is okay, too.”
His words were small pieces of a miracle. How was it even possible? Mandy pushed herself up to sitting, every part of her stiff, shaky and stinging.
The dark-haired man was on one knee, as if he was about to propose. And in his arms, perfectly upright, perfectly intact, was her perfect cake.
Mandy stared at him, wondering if she’d fallen right into some kind of fairy tale. Because only in stories did someone this handsome show up out of nowhere and save the day. He even had the wavy black hair of a fairy-tale prince.
Holy cow, she was staring at him like a possum at a flashlight. She scrambled to her feet, brushing at her hands and elbows, trying to ignore all the throbbing and stinging. “Thank you!” Her throat was pebbled with gratitude, tumbling the words out ragged as she leaned over and lifted the tray from his outstretched hands. “I can’t believe you saved it!”
“My pleasure.” He rose from the dirt. And rose. And rose. There had to be over six feet of him.
“It was a really good catch.” She sounded like a kid meeting a sports hero, all awestruck. But he was overwhelming. Each piece of him, from his height to the sharp cheekbones that slashed across his angular face, was larger than average. He was hard to take in all at once. And he’d saved her cake.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb.
Claire enjoys discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling, and reading, of course! She loves to write complex heroes and heroines who grow and find themselves through their search for love.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The tour dates can be found here
4.5 out of 5 stars
Home Free by Claire McEwen tells of the return of Arch Hoffman, after a ten-year absence. A lot has changed since he was one of the despised and feared members of his family, including his younger siblings and the ranch they grew up on. Arch is trying to be a better man, and has to work hard to convince those who knew him in the past to give him a second chance, but fortunately, he finds inspiration in Mandy Allen, who inspires him with her own courage and her acceptance of his shortcomings. They each have a traumatic past to overcome, but have to decide whether they have the courage to reach for happiness.
This contemporary western romance is a story of redemption and atonement in a small town setting. I love the way the author was able to shift perception of a despised and hated person into gradual acceptance and eventual forgiveness, and found this story heartwarming and inspiring. For me, it was important that Arch not only paid his debt to society, but sought to make amends to those he had wronged in the past, albeit with occasional backsliding. The courage displayed by him and those who come to accept and love him is delightful, and I enjoyed watching the relationship slowly blossom into a passionate bond, even though I was irked by the setback they experienced. Mandy was pretty stunted at first, understandably given her past, but I was happy that she also managed to blossom into a self-reliant person and therefore become an equal partner. I had the pleasure of reading a previous book in this series, so I was familiar with some of the background, but there would be no problem reading this as an enjoyable stand-alone story.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review