~ About the Book ~
Love is Never Best Played Out on TV…
Adalyn Stalling’s clients convinced her to be a contestant on their reality TV show, The One. Milllions of viewers tune in each week to watch a group of bachelorettes try to win one bachelor’s heart, and then during the next season, watch bachelors do the same.
Adi appeared on the show twice—once as a potential love-match for the bachelor, once as the bachelorette. As a marketing executive for the firm who handles the show, Adi initially became a part of the cast in order to learn more from the “inside.” But as much as she wanted to stay professionally removed, she ended up giving her heart to both Adam and Connor.
Both times, the men broke it off.
Now America’s most famous “loser at love,” Adalyn is trying to pick up the pieces of her life. Given the media frenzy and the paparazzi that chase her, she’s finding it difficult. And just as she learns she may have picked up a stalker, her childhood friend, Chase Rollins, tracks her down at last. He informs her that her beloved grandfather is ailing and needs her help, in more ways than one.
So begins an epic summer in which Adalyn needs to decide where she belongs, what she is supposed to do, and with whom she might find true love at last. All Once Upon a Montana Summer…
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 3 December 2018
Publisher: Stonewater Books
~ Excerpt ~
It was an odd feeling. The sense of being home and yet a bit of a foreigner at the same time. But she liked the growing sense of urgency, purpose she felt gathering in her mind and heart. At Smith & Jessen last week, she felt like the partners had just been feeding her minor tasks to keep her busy while they figured out what to do with her; here she felt needed in a hundred different directions. Vital. And she knew this was exactly where she was supposed to be for the summer.
How long had it been since she had felt that?
Since before Connor, she decided, running her hand along the rough-hewn beam to her right. Since before Adam, really. No, before she ever sat down with the producers of The One for their extensive interviews, including psychological and physical testing. From that day on, she’d felt like she was living someone else’s life.
Here, she wasn’t Stalled-Out Stalling. She wasn’t the most famously rejected girl in America. She was just Adi. The same Adi who’d been here at five and fifteen. Did she remember that girl? Could she recover a bit of her again, after all that had happened? A bit of her hope, her enthusiasm, her gumption?
~ Review ~
Normally, I would say there is nothing LESS real than reality TV, but for Adalyn Stallings, the pain of rejection—TWICE—is all too real. In the hands of some authors, this might result in a heroine who hobbles around on emotional crutches feeling sorry for herself, but Adi’s stronger than that, thank goodness! That’s not to say it hasn’t been a blow to her self-confidence, but I really can’t abide romances where the tension relies on the heroine continually telling herself she can never let herself feel anything for another man because she’s been disappointed in the past. Hurrah for characters who keep things in perspective!
Another plus for this novel is the time we get to spend in the great outdoors of Montana with the oh-so-easy-to-fall-in-love-with Chase Rollins—in between Adi’s efforts to give her grandfather’s cabins a much-needed makeover. Chase is the kind of hero I can really get behind. He’s loyal, and he’s very thoughtful in the way he pursues Adi in the wake of her public rejections. This wasn’t quite a best friends to more scenario, but they had their childhood friendship to build on, so it had that same feel to it—that comfortable friendship that slowly develops a sweet extra layer. And there are some great non-kiss romantic moments in this story. I love it when authors can take simple moments like hand-holding and turn them into something special, and that happens in this novel.
But that stalker . . . yeah, he’s a bit delusional. I don’t always enjoy having the point-of-view of the “bad guy”, but in this case I think it worked because Adi wasn’t aware of his efforts to find her once she disappeared to Montana. It added a good layer of suspense to the story, even if I do find the stalker trope a little clichéd.
An enjoyable read for those looking for an inspirational/clean contemporary romance with a dash of suspense on the side!
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.
~ About the Author ~
Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She’s the author of the Christy Award-winning “Waterfall,” RITA®-finalist “Firestorm,” bestselling “God Gave Us You,” and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She’s also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.