Monday, March 11, 2019

A Romance That Sizzles and Shines

Title: Hometown Troublemaker
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Bright Publishing, LLC
Release Date: March 14th, 2019!
*eARC kindly provided by Brighton in exchange for a review*

From Goodreads...
Aurora "Rory" Haven's life is in shambles. Her ex-husband's living with the woman he cheated with, her oldest daughter blames her for the divorce, and she's broke. To make ends meet, she partners with the too-young, way too hot local contractor she has absolutely no business fantasizing about.

Nash King is working overtime so he can take over the family business. He doesn't need the distraction of his best friend's sister, but the hot-as-hell, pearl-clutching divorcée barrels her way into his everyday life. He's managed to ignore his attraction to her for a decade. What's another couple months?

The summer heat and forced proximity has tempers flaring…and their chemistry sizzling. But Havenbrook's gossip mill is churning full-force, and the last thing Rory needs is everyone finding out she's crushing on a man eight years her junior. Except crushing doesn't have anything on what's really going on...

What would happen if the townspeople found out paint wasn't the only thing being stripped?

My Review!
HOT DAMN! It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for a new book from Brighton even though Second Chance Charmer was out last year, so I was stoked when she dropped this in my inbox like SURPRISE. I’m a lucky reader. *heart eyes* Anyway, Brighton’s always been a favorite of mine, but this one hit it out-of-the-park!

I honestly cannot remember how I felt about Rory in book one, when it was a younger Haven front and center. All I could remember was that she was a bit of a snob, super judgmental, and didn’t have the best relationship with her sisters. And tbh, some of that is still true. But I LOVE HER!!! I have mad respect and admiration for people who rebuild their lives after they’ve burned to ashes. After her husband cheated and she got divorced, Rory had to come to grips with A LOT of things, and her insecurity could get the best of her. But I loved seeing messy, confused, and I don’t give a fuck Rory. She spent so long shoving her dreams down and doing what everyone else expected of her, but she found her footing eventually, even if she stumbled along the way. And I could understand her determination to do everything herself, to be independent. But I also hated seeing how she beat herself up over things, how she stayed humble when she should’ve bragged about her accomplishments, damn it, and how she wouldn’t let people in and see who she really was. Because who she really is a damn good mother, sister, daughter, and friend, and she deserved to know that she was perfect just as she is.

But it’s okay, because Nash had zero problems telling her that often, and reminding her that she didn’t have to have it all together, that it was okay to break apart sometimes. He was there to catch her when she fell and needed a hand up, and he was so incredibly supportive of her. Fuck, this boy!! I love him so goddamned much. At first I wasn’t sure if he’d be another of those “I’m a lone wolf, I don’t need to be tied down to one woman, hooooooowl” heroes, but he proved me wrong. He fell head over heels for a woman eight years older, and he didn’t give a fuck about the age difference or about how badly he could get hurt. He just wanted her. He had to work through some things too, though. He grew up almost like an outsider, and it burrows into him, that sense of not-belonging, and the judgment people shoved onto his family name. Just because his dad is trash, it doesn’t mean he is!!! Nash needed to understand that he was good enough as he is, that he has done so well for himself and he should be so proud of what he’s accomplished. The family business boomed when he took over, and it’s all he’s ever wanted in life. Well, that, and Aurora Haven, the town princess.

They were SO GOOD together and omg this was hot. Nash has got a dirty, dirty mouth. I love it. But not only was the romance aspect delicious, but their relationship was just so solid. It was super fun and passionate. And Nash adored taking care of Rory, even when she insisted, no really, that she was fine and didn’t help, he wouldn’t force her or step into her space. He gave her room, but stayed at her side just in case. And Rory was a bright spot for him, the person he could trust to have his back and make him take needed breaks. I also loved that Nash got to know her kids, that they grew to care for him too. omg when he was teaching Ella how to fix the front porch, my heart just fucking MELTED. I’m not a big fan of kids in books (I’m just not a kid person), but somehow Brighton is the exception. I’ve loved her books with a mom MC the most out of them all!! Go figure! Of course, it was hard watching Rory almost self-sabotage their relationship, but Nash was right there telling her not to give up. And she didn’t, but she did need time to figure out who she was and what she wanted. Her ex really did a number on her, but Nash was patient and kind, and gah. *more heart eyes*

Another aspect I adored about this was the relationship between the Haven women. Rory was always at the top of the tier, and so she didn’t know her sisters well for most of her adult life. She didn’t really care to, and that was on her. But she’s growing as a person, and throughout the story, it shows that she’s put in time for Mac and Willow, and even Natalie, who just absolutely refuses to take her calls. The book had such a huge focus on what it means trying to keep up with friendships and relationships as an adult, on what it means having to put in the energy and time to cultivate them. And just how fucking complicated family is, and how sometimes, you’re still dealing with childhood trauma and insecurities. I still hate Mayor Haven, to be honest. I don’t care that he’s finally being called out for his shit, he’s a terrible person and he’s really screwed with his daughters’ heads and made them feel worthless time and time again. But their mom is trying, and their grandma is AWESOME, and Rory finally feels like she has people in her corner. People who will drop everything to make sure she is okay, and if she isn’t, to be there for the hard stuff and kick the asses of those who dare to hurt her.

While I don’t love big age differences like this, it totally worked for me. Because I loved this one! It was the perfect mix of angst and sweetness, and I adore the characters so much. Not just Nash and Rory, but all of them. And I can’t fucking wait for the next one! I need all of their books, but especially Mac’s, and Drew’s.


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