Friday, 11 December 2015

Spotlight & Review: Christmas At The Cove by Rachel Brimble

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Temptation Cove #4
Rachel Brimble
Released November 4th, 2015
Harlequin Superromance

More family for Christmas?

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

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She squeezed her eyes shut. “I’ll stay for another couple of days, but then I have to go home. I can’t stay here for Christmas.”
The soft whisper of his exhalation drifted over her folded hands on the table. “That’s great. It’s more than great. Thank you.”
She swallowed, wanting the words she needed to say out of her body as soon as possible. “You have your life, and I have mine.” She opened her eyes. “Neither of us has to change our plans because I’ve told you about Belle. You can still do what you want to do.”
His eyes ever so slightly darkened. “If I’m a father, it changes everything.”
Be strong, Carrie. Lay down the ground rules. “I disagree.” She straightened her spine. “I get it, Scott. Truly. I understand you think knowing about Belle means you have to change your entire life, but that’s not true.”
That’s not what I’m––”
Let me just say this, please.”
He closed his eyes and she took that as permission to continue. She inhaled a deep breath. “I like, and appreciate, you thinking what you should to do and how to do it, but I’m not asking you to change your plans overnight. This is going to take time. I want it to take time. Belle doesn’t need to know about you yet. You can go on with your life and when the time’s right, I’ll tell her about you.”
Carrie swallowed against the dryness in her throat. When she’d been standing outside the holiday park, the decision to see her mission through to the end burning like a flame inside her, she’d thought her words would be strong and clear, delivered with a reverence he couldn’t argue with. Yet now, her stomach trembled with nerves and her hands longed to take his.
Why did he make her feel so torn and her reasoning unfair? Belle was hers. He had no obligation to her unless he wanted one. “I’m not saying that to be cruel, you know.” She sighed. “I’ve looked after her the last year without a partner beside me. She’ll be okay…whatever you decide.”
His continuing silence raised the hairs at the back of her neck, made her fear she drove a bigger wedge between them, but she wouldn’t falter. She had come to Templeton and achieved what she came to do––the gates were open and Scott could step through them whenever he was ready. As long as he realized the hinges wouldn’t creak back and forth on a whim.

 The idea of this story is full of promise, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Carrie Jameson and Scott Walker had a week long affair resulting in a pregnancy. Carrie is now seeking out the father on behalf of her young child. She hopes he'll want access, to cement a relationship with his daughter. However she's secretly wishes to rekindle the brief affair and turn it into something more. In the time since meeting Carrie, Scott has been focused on building his business and supporting his mother and sisters. He has ambition and no desire to hook-up with a woman to tie him down.

I would have preferred more verbal dialogue and interaction between the protagonists instead of knowing their inner thoughts after every scene. I wanted to feel the sparks of attraction, to validate their understand how intense their previous time together was, to justify why they'd to want to try again. This constant internal analysis made the plot go around in circles, making me skip pages to keep my interest and the story flowing.

The reactions of the characters were way over the top dramatic too. I could almost envisage some of them appearing on a Jerry Springer show! Far too much time spent on Scott's family issues and his apparent burden of responsibility. Although when he gets confirmation of paternity, his reaction is touching, emotional and mature.

I really struggled to like Carrie. She constantly tries to manipulate Scott into doing what she wants, using her daughter as bait. She is rather selfish putting her own needs before her daughter's with regards to Scott.

If you like plenty of drama and angst, then this is a Christmas story for you. For me personally, I prefer something more heart-warming, even though there is a message of hope throughout.

3 stars

***arc generously received in exchange for an honest review***

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and three Victorian romances by eKensington/Lyrical.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!