Gwen Bailey has been busy taking care of everyone but herself. After a tragedy tore her family apart, she put her dreams aside to be with family. Now that her life is getting back on track, and her new Chocolaterie is open, she can concentrate on snagging the handsome, mysterious customer who has her dreaming about her own happily-ever-after...
Doctor Luke Thomson has spent the last five years filled with guilt. He hopes to make amends in Shadow Creek, however he doesn't count on falling for the adorable and gorgeous Gwen Bailey. He vows to not get involved with her, but she's too sweet to resist. It's only a matter of time, though, before the truth comes out. Luke knows there's no way Gwen will look at him the same way once she discovers his secret...
Victoria James sure knows how to tell a story so that all my emotions are involved and I am invested in the outcome of the story. I adore this series, and how all the stories are twined together, how that one tragic day changed the lives of so many people, yet these stories tell how hope, love, and new life can be born from a tragedy.
Gwen Bailey had been there for her family when everything fell apart. She had neglected herself while taking care of others and finally felt it was time for her to get a life, as well. Now it was her turn to be happy, loved, to have a meaningful relationship. She felt sorry for herself, unattractive, and was uncomfortable in her body. Yet her attraction to The Muffin Man gave her inspiration to do something about it, to change things, to pamper and focus on herself. She was ready for a relationship, looking actively for one, and shamelessly pursuit The Muffin Man, whose name she didn't even know. I didn't know if I should have been cheering her on for her boldness to go after what she wanted or appalled of her brazen attempts to get his attention.
Doctor Luke Thomson, also known as The Muffin Man, carried a heavy guilt and pain from the past. A remorse that brought him to Shadow Creek in the first place. He is a good man, with deep emotions, good intentions, caring and kind. He also has no desire to be in a relationship, to get married, or have a family again and he is not afraid to vocalize this to Gwen.
Yet there is this sweet, adorable connection between them. The pull is unavoidable, the attraction is burning hot. The draw they have to each other is stronger than the reasons they should stay apart. Until the secret Luke is holding in, hiding behind of, finally comes to light, a little too late, and has explosive consequences.
There's a lot of gentle, delicious lustfulness in the story that had me smiling and sighing. Luke and Gwen are a great match, they are perfect for each other. They support each other, they share interests and are not afraid to voice an opposite opinion. I wasn't sure at the beginning if Gwen was actually attracted to Luke, or just to the feeling of falling in love, but those feelings are put to test and have to survive the fire.
Love, angst, joy and regrets are all mixed in and churning in the hearts and minds of the protagonists as they are working towards healing, a better, happier tomorrow. Atonement and forgiveness take time, time to mend and accept the past mistakes and casualties, but falling in love can change everything and it can happen in the blink of an eye.
A sweet, appealing, and alluring tale, a part three to the poignant and touching series that has won my heart over completely.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side