The Summer Cottage by Annie Rains
Title: The Summer Cottage
Author: Annie Rains
Series: Somerset Lake #1
Page Length: 423
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Synopsis: Somerset Lake is the perfect place for Trisha Langly and her son to start over. As the new manager for the Somerset Cottages, Trisha is instantly charmed by the property’s elderly residents and her firecracker of a new boss, Vi Fletcher. But Trisha is less enchanted by Vi’s protective grandson Jake. No matter how tempting she finds the handsome lawyer, Trisha knows that if Jake discovers the truth about her past, she’ll lose the new life she’s worked so hard to build.
Jake Fletcher left Somerset Lake after a tragic loss, but he’s returning for the summer to care for his beloved grandmother, hoping Vi will sell the run-down cottages and finally slow down. There’s just one problem: Trisha, Vi’s new employee. She’s smart, beautiful, and kind, but Jake’s job is to protect his grandmother’s interests, and his gut is telling him Trisha’s hiding something that could jeopardize Vi’s future. However, as they spend summer days renovating the property and bonding over their love for the town, Jake realizes that Trisha is a risk worth taking–if only she can trust him with her secrets . . . and her heart.
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Annie Rains writes such wonderful contemporary romances, and I loved The Summer Cottage. The first book in the Somerset Lake series, the story follows Trisha, a recently divorced single mother who, in seeking a fresh start after her ex’s very public incarceration, runs the cottages owned by Jake’s grandmother. Jake has returned to Somerset Lake to convince his grandmother to sell, and he is immediately suspicious of Trisha’s intentions. However, he quickly sees how wonderful she and her son are. Trisha and Jake are both fantastic protagonists, and they have the best slow-building romance! Jake is so understanding and patient, and I love how kind he is to Trisha and her son. And Trisha is wonderful. She’s a hard worker, a great mother, and a kind person. There’s so much chemistry between them, though Trisha tries to fight her feelings. Totally understandable after what she went through.
Jake’s grandmother is fabulous, and I love that she is often the voice of reason in the story. She is a wise woman. And Trisha’s new friends are a delight! I love how they make Trisha part of their friend group. I think they see the tentativeness in her and know she needs a support system. I can’t wait to learn more about each of them, as I think they’ll probably be the focus of the next books in the series.
This is a lovely romance that focuses a lot on relationships – friendships, family connections, community relationships, and romantic ones. I like that it shows how much Trisha and Jake are able to heal from the trauma in their pasts with the support of so many loyal and encouraging people in their lives. And the relationship Jake has with Trisha’s son is so sweet! If I weren’t already swooning over Jake, I would have swooned when I saw how wonderful he was with kids. Loved it!
Second Chance Cowboy by A.J. Pine
Title: Second Chance Cowboy
Author: A.J. Pine
Series: Crossroads Ranch #1
Page Length: 321
Publication Date: Feb. 27, 2018
Synopsis: Ten years ago, Jack Everett left his family’s ranch without a backward glance. Now, what was supposed to be a quick trip home for his father’s funeral has suddenly become more complicated. The ranch Jack can handle—he might be a lawyer, but he still remembers how to work with his hands. But turning around the failing vineyard he’s also inherited? That requires working with the one woman he never expected to see again.
Ava Ellis broke her own heart the night she let Jack go. She was young and scared—and secretly pregnant with Jack’s baby. Now that he’s back and asking for her help, Ava sees her opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. But how will he feel about the son he’s never known? Could this be their second chance—or their final heartbreak?
This is an engaging second-chance contemporary romance with a chemistry-laden love story. Ava is such a strong and loving mother, and Jack is a good man struggling with grief and guilt. Though I’m not a huge fan of the secret baby trope, and I didn’t really agree with what Ava did, I understood her decision. However, Ava and Jack never really got over each other, and it’s clear there are still feelings between them. It’s interesting to see how they work on all the issues between them and decide if they want to take a chance with each other again.
Their son Owen is adorable, and I love the time he spends with Jack and his family. It’s so sweet and heartwarming, and it’s obvious Owen craves the love of a father figure. I liked Jack’s brothers too. There’s so much fun and positive banter with the brothers, their wonderful aunt who took them out of an abusive situation a decade ago, and those they love.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read with a second-chance romance filled with longing, chemistry, and some scorching sexy scenes. The story does deal with some heavier themes, so I would recommend checking out the content warnings before starting the story.
Special thanks to Forever Publishing and Hachette US for sending me a copy of both books. All thoughts are my own.