September 1, 2017
The Wild Rose Press
Contemporary Romance
217 pages
Rating: 2 Cups

When Cassie Edwards, a former foster child, purchases an old Victorian Mansion to renovate, it happens to be the only place she felt part of a family while growing up. Rayne comes upon her while working outside, at first she is hesitant, but in time and some influence from a friend, agrees to hire him as a temporary handy man. She finds him attractive, but wants to know more about him and his secrets and why he has those shadows in his eyes. Despite those shadows and knowing that his time there is limited, she cannot help falling for him.

Rayne Tucket, a photojournalist, is haunted by his time in Afghanistan where he lost his best friend; a death he blames on himself. Since then he wanders, never staying in one place for long while he suffers nightmares and PTSD flashbacks, though Cassie’s voice is able to bring him out of them. It seems she is the balm his soul needs to start healing from the horrors he witnessed while overseas. The time to leave comes and he finds himself torn between his vow to a dead friend or the feelings he is starting to have for Cassie.

Cassie and Rayne are drawn strongly to each other, but their hang-ups hold them back. As if that were not enough trouble, the natural son of Cassie’s foster mother, Carl, shows up acting weird and making it sound like both the house and Cassie belong to him. After protecting Cassie from Carl, Rayne feels that it is a sign that he should pursue his feelings for her. Outside influences work to tear them apart, but their biggest threat is themselves. Will they be able to reconcile their feelings before it is too late—or lose each other forever?

This story has a promising setup where the handsome but damaged man is healed by the love and kindness of a good woman. But parts of it just did not work for me. At times Cassie seemed eerily intuitive when it came to soothing Rayne during his episodes, and at other times she seemed really dense or oblivious as to what would bother him. Cassie and Rayne were okay characters for the most part, but the conflicts, beyond the main one about their relationship, and the villain seemed a bit overdone. In all this was a decent story, if hard to follow at times.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

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