This review is posted as part of TLC’s Book Tour for Honeysuckle Dreams
~ About the Book ~
Brady Collins is juggling full-time fatherhood with the booming auto repair business he runs out of his barn. His ex-wife’s sudden death has shaken him, but the devastating news that follows leaves him reeling: Sam is not his biological son.
When Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents decide they want custody of the child, Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: the stability of an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancée.
Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and she’s finally been offered her dream job—in Atlanta. Unfortunately, her arrangement with Brady requires her presence in Copper Creek, and she is faced with missing the chance of a lifetime or standing in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.
Both Hope and Brady would give their lives for beautiful Sam. But can they give their trust to one another? With this new novel in the Blue Ridge Romance series, Honeysuckle Dreams shines light on the complicated and beautiful angles of love.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #2 Blue Ridge Romance
Release date: 1 May 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
~ Excerpt ~
He could hear Heather murmuring softly to Sam through the baby monitor, though he couldn’t make out the words. His eyes burned at her tenderness. Apparently she’d exhausted that particular trait in the Parker gene pool, leaving nothing for Audrey. He had no idea how Heather had turned out to be such a wonderful person, but he was glad she’d found a good match in Jeff.
He heard her on the stairs and looked up in time to see her pressing a knuckle to the corner of her eye.
“He’s so precious,” she said as she took a seat on the end of the sofa closest to him. Her feet barely reached the floor. “I could just stare at him all night. Is he doing any better?”
“I think so. He’s not fussy like he was. And he slept through the night a few days ago.”
“I hate that he’ll grow up without Audrey. I know she had her . . . faults. But she did love that little guy.”
“I know she did. And I’ll make sure he knows that. And so can you. We should set up a schedule for visits. I want him to know his family, Heather.”
She averted her eyes, reaching for her coffee. “I’d like that.”
“Do you need milk or sugar?”
“No, this is just fine.”
“How are Jeff and the kids?”
“They’re faring well. The kids are keeping me busy with baseball and swimming lessons, and Jeff’s business is thriving.”
“Glad to hear that. How are your parents? They seemed pretty grief-stricken at the funeral, understandably. I hardly knew what to say.” The Parkers had never seemed to like him much, though he hadn’t a clue why. But they weren’t the warmest people, so maybe it wasn’t him at all.
Something passed over Heather’s features that made the foreboding unfurl in his gut again.
“Well. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” She set her coffee on the coaster and laced her fingers tightly in her lap. Her brown eyes were filled with pity.
“What’s wrong? Do they want visitation rights or something? I don’t have a problem with that. Like I said, I want Sam to know his family.”
According to Audrey, the Parkers had been distant and unaffectionate parents, but visitation was only fair. He wanted his son to know his grandparents, and they did love him in their own way. Plus, Audrey’s death had hit them hard, and the baby was the only piece of her they had left.
But judging by the dread rolling off Heather in waves, this wasn’t about visitation rights. “You’re scaring me, Heather. What’s going ton?”
“Brady . . .” She closed her eyes and gave her head a shake. “I’ve been round and round with myself about coming to you with this, but I just couldn’t keep it to myself another day. They’ve hired a lawyer. They want custody of Sam.”
Brady reared back, his thoughts scrambling. A useless cloud of fear spread like poison through him.
“They’ve already filed the petition. You’ll be getting served in a day or two, and I just felt you deserved to be forewarned.”
“That’s ridiculous, Heather. I’m his father. They can’t take him away.”
She gave him a troubled look, her fingers twisting in her lap. “That’s just it, Brady . . . They’re saying you’re not Sam’s biological father.”
Taken from “Honeysuckle Dreams” by Denise Hunter
Copyright © 2018 by Denise Hunter
Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/
~ Review ~
This romance melted me into a puddle of languid endorphins. Brady and Hope’s relationship had everything I love most in a romance: a strong friendship, genuine respect for one another, flirtatious banter, and heart-pounding chemistry. Add in a storyline like Brady’s—he’s just taken full-time custody of his son following his ex-wife’s death, only to discover he’s not the biological father—and you’ve got yourself a heart-grabbing read.
In our romance-centric culture, it can be difficult to create a convincing scenario for a marriage of convenience, but I thought Brady and Hope grew into the idea fairly convincingly. They had some candid discussions about expectations and entered into the relationship with their eyes open, committed to one another regardless of the outcome of Sam’s guardianship. If anything, I wondered that an attraction hadn’t already developed between them, but I guess when you’re in the place they were in their lives, you don’t really have time to think about it.
I floated quite happily through the story on my cloud of endorphins, so weaknesses didn’t really occur to me until after I finished, but looking back now, the complications that arose at the end of the story relating to Hope’s fears and her job did feel a little sudden and somewhat out of character. I think it would have been less abrupt if Hope had been struggling with her fear more in the lead up to the action she took. (Sorry for being vague. Trying to avoid spoilers here!) Brady was also possibly a little too good to be true, but to be completely honest, none of that mattered while I was swept up in the story. I was too busy swooning to be pragmatic!
If you’re after a contemporary story with a strong romantic thread, this one’s definitely worth a read.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
Read my review for Blue Ridge Sunrise
~ About the Author ~
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including “The Convenient Groom” and “A December Bride” which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.
Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the experience of falling in love vicariously through her characters and can expect a happily-ever-after sigh as they close the pages of her books.
In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband will soon be facing an empty nest.