Series: Return to Briarwood #1
Publication Date: July 14th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
For readers of Shannon Stacey and Susan Mallery, the heartfelt new Briarwood series begins with a tale of forbidden love, broken promises, and second chances.
Growing up in Eastbridge, Connecticut, Carolyn Rivington was a young debutante who did whatever her parents asked. So when her father demanded that she break things off with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks or else, she did. Now Carolyn’s family is deep in debt. She’s no longer a member of the Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club, she’s an employee. And the tanned, tattooed, dangerously handsome stranger who saunters into her lobby isn’t just her new boss . . . he’s also her first love.
The last time he saw Carolyn, Jake Gaffney was in the back of a police cruiser, handcuffed and humiliated. But seeing her again stirs other memories: a blanket on the beach, the moon above their heads, and the most expensive bottle of wine he could afford. Now the tables have turned. As a real-estate magnate and Briarwood’s new owner, Jake doesn’t have to answer to anyone. But now that he’s back home, he’s finding it hard to live down his old reputation.
Before they can move forward, Jake and Carolyn must face their pasts. But it’ll take more than sizzling chemistry for them to heal old wounds and return to the love they once shared.
Carolyn Rivington was a pampered country club princess who had it all until it was all lost. With the load of her father’s debts weighing her down, she was forced to get a job at the country club. Now her past has come back in the form of the new owner of the club and her first love, Jake Gaffney.
Fifteen years ago, Jake was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks involved with the society princess, an involvement that ended badly with him being carted away in the back of a police cruiser. Now the tables have turned and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks is a real estate mogul and the pampered princess? His employee.
ONCE AND AGAIN is an easy and enjoyable story of strength, grace and second chances. Fifteen years ago, Caroline was a malleable young girl floating through life, secure in the knowledge that all was well in her world and she had everything – money, cars and access to all the right places. Then she lost it all and has spent the last year working her behind off to pay the family debts. Jake’s return as her new boss shakes her foundation as she’s concerned that their past history could cost her her job. But Jake needs her in his corner as he battles opposition to his plans for the club. And if working closely with him rekindles their old fire? Well, it doesn’t hurt.
ONCE AND AGAIN is not just a story about Carolyn and Jake’s second chance but it’s also Carolyn’s story of personal discovery and growth. Before things changed, she was just a girl going through life aimlessly, unaware of who she really was but what happened has forced her to dig deep into herself and find inner strength that she didn’t know she had. Now she’s working at a job she loves and making friends who like her for herself and not her bank balance and her pedigree. Jake’s return and their relationship is just the icing on a really great cake.
This story does not have sizzle and steamy passion but is rather a mellow and easy tale of both characters rekindling their first love and exploring connections with other people. This is the first book in the series and it shows. There are also other side stories of secondary characters that set up the following stories and while they do distract a bit from the central story, they actually have me excited about the rest the series. There is also story arc of her father and his dealings that was unresolved and I would love to see the resolution in upcoming books.