Can one man’s crowded, messy life fill another man’s empty heart?
Raising a family was always Adam Mills’ dream, although solo parenting and moving back to tiny Garnet Run certainly were not. After a messy breakup, Adam is doing his best to give his young daughter the life she deserves—including accepting help from their new, reclusive neighbor to fulfill her Christmas wish.
Though the little house may not have “the most lights ever,” the Mills home begins to brighten as handsome Wes Mobray spends more time there and slowly sheds his protective layers. But when the eye-catching house ends up in the news, Wes has to make a choice: hide from the darkness of his unusual past or embrace the light of a future—and a family—with Adam.
From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.
Book 1: Better Than People
Book 2: Best Laid Plans
I absolutely ADORED the first two books in this series. And I liked this one a lot, but it didn’t feel like it was on the same plain as the first two. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a great book, it was. Let’s dig in.
Adam, newly single dad moved home to Garnet Run because their sibling offered to help with Adam’s daughter. She was born his niece, but his sister was unwilling and unable to care for her, so Adam took her. Adam’s husband wasn’t too thrilled with the situation but somehow stuck with it for 8 years. I don’t know how he then pretty much cut off contact with her after being a dad to her since birth, but hey. Not everyone bonds with a child, not everyone loves children.
The neighbors warn him of the strange guy who lives across the street. Turns out he isn’t so much strange as he is socially awkward and wanting to be invisible. But Gus (Adam’s daughter) wiggles her way in.
I would have loved to see more trauma evident from both Adam AND Wes. But Adam seems to be adjusting to the single dad life pretty well and after just a few visits, Gus had Wes wrapped right around her little finger. But, as been noted before, I love angst and drama and trauma. It was a little too tidy for me, but I get that this is a Christmas story and most of holiday stories don’t have a lot of that. I won’t say that the past traumas of these characters are wasted, but they aren’t fully realized either.
And precocious Gus. Eight year olds can be pretty amazing and mature. But she was a bit too mature. I love how Adam parented her- no lying, looking things up, etc. But she needed to really be a kid more. Her letter to Santa was a brief glimpse into what she really feels and that also needed to be explored more.
This all might sound like I didn’t like the book- but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have just come to except a certain depth to the characters that Roan Parrish writes. It’s one of the things I love about her writing. ONE of the things.
This was still a great story. The social media aspect, a single dad wanting to make his daughter happy, small town life, two men finding each other…it was all very swoony. And I liked that although the conflict was expected, it didn’t linger on.
I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Garnet Run. I’d especially love to see River get their happily ever after.
4 pieces of eye candy