~ About the Book ~
Ex-model Livy Hensley has exactly three talents: making coffee, landing herself in the most awkward moments known to man, and failing miserably at relationships. But when the sweetest southern boy on the planet offers to be your dating coach, who could say no? Between struggling to open a café and trying to atone for a consequence of her past, Livy can use all the help she can get. Besides, what could possibly go wrong on a few practice dates with your best friend?
Chase Thompson’s no stranger to hard work. If that’s what it takes to prove to Livy they should be together, then he’s all in. He can handle pretending he’s not hopelessly in love with her. Sort of. Almost.
Okay, nowhere close. But with a conflicting solution to his family’s greatest trial on the line, the stakes of keeping his dating coach plan from backfiring have never been higher.
Up against the countdown of choices, Chase and Livy must find the courage to risk what they fear most for the someday they’ve always hoped for.
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Series: #4 Home in You (can be read as stand-alone)
Release date: 1 October 2018
~ Excerpt ~
“So, about our arrangement…” He returned to his chair and peeled the lining off the cupcake. “If we’re going to do these practice dates,” he said through a bite, “I need to know what Pretty Boy’s into.”
She nibbled on a chocolate morsel, ignoring the name calling. “Music, obviously. Coffee…”
They looked at each other. “Obviously,” they said in unison.
“Um.” She picked at the cupcake top. “Anything outdoorsy, I think. He’s always talking about these camping trips the band goes on together.”
Chase stuffed the rest of the cupcake in his mouth to block his laugh. “That one might be a little tough.”
“Hey, I go camping. Okay, went camping. Once. And vowed I’d never go again.” Laughing, she flicked the balled-up wrapper at him. “Stop.”
“Say a word. Yeah, I know.” She dusted the crumbs off her hands. “Only with those enigmatic eyes of yours.”
“Enigmatic?” He slanted a brow, and her cheeks turned ten different shades of pink.
Looking out to the woods, she ran her fingers down her mug handle, down her braid, and finally folded them in her lap. If her toes weren’t tapping fast enough to drill a hole through the concrete, she might’ve pulled off the unfazed look.
What else did she think about him?
She hopped up when he rose. “You’re leaving?”
“I have dates to plan, remember? These things take time.” And patience. Both of which he was willing to invest to win her heart. “But…” He uncurled a strand of mud-speckled hair from behind her ear. “It’s never to soon to start practicing.”
The vein on her neck gave a little flutter, and he had to summon all his energy to stay smooth. “If I were saying goodbye to a girl I liked, I’d kiss her on the cheek.”
Livy tilted her head. “You always kiss me on the cheek, Chase.”
“Maybe.” He leaned in and let his lips linger against her skin more softly than he ever had. “But not like this,” he whispered.
When he drew back and saw her flustered reaction, there was no point hiding his own spiked heart rate. “Like I said, you’re not the only one who needs practice.” With a dip of his hat and a wink to match, he turned to leave before he gave too much away. He might not have all the details of his plan etched out yet, but unlike Bandit, Chase knew how to finish what he started.
At the corner of the house, he peered back toward the blush still claiming Livy’s cheeks. A gamble or not, things were definitely about to get interesting.
~ Review ~
Oh, sweet heavens have mercy! I’m a goner. Totally and completely smitten. Chase Thompson is a strong contender for book boyfriend of the year. Decade. Century. Whatever. If I had been the main character in this book, there wouldn’t have been a book, because my heart was a puddle at Chase’s feet from page one. Having said that, I also don’t have the kind of emotional baggage Livy needs to process, and putting aside one rather epic book-boyfriend crush for a moment, there is such a lot of heart to this story. And humour. Oh, my goodness. Livy! A little bit hapless, a lot bit sweet, and just the kind of friend I’d love to have in my life—every awkward, rambling, animal-challenged inch of her!
I’ve been a fan of Crystal Walton’s writing from the first book of hers I picked up. Her characters may as well be four-dimensional they’re so realistic, and the dialogue is always lively, witty, and heartfelt. But as much as I’ve loved her previous stories, this one has outdone them in my opinion. Best friends to more has always been one of my favourite tropes and this book reminded me of all the reasons why. You already have that incredible foundation of friendship that has the potential to become so much sweeter, and when that involves Chase… well, ‘nuff said.
But even more than all this (yes, there’s more!) Crystal Walton’s characters are always on a meaningful personal journey, and Livy and Chase not only need to consider some life-changing career choices, but work through emotional issues involving dementia and adoption. And learn about accepting grace and letting others share your burdens. I’m not sure what more you could possibly want in a story. Unless it’s a mischievous dog called Bandit. In which case that’s another tick for this book!
This is a sweet, sweet read, friends. Don’t miss it!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Crystal received her bachelor of arts from Messiah College in PA, married her exact opposite in upstate NY, and earned her master of arts from Regent University in VA, where she currently resides with her husband, David.
She writes modern clean romances with humor, broken characters, and emotional plots full of grace and hope. When not working her accounting day job, she’s delving into the wonder of words, supporting her Starbucks habit, or laughing over movie quotes & singing eighties songs with her husband.