The author’s older contemporary romances have a special place in my library. I followed the author into romantic suspense, but they were hit or miss for me. While I picked this one for review believing it would be romantic suspense, I was delighted to discover that Mariah Stewart is again writing the kind of contemporary romances that I enjoy.
Dallas MacGregor and Grant Wyler met as children in St. Dennis, Maryland. Dallas’ mother couldn’t cope with her husband’s recent death, so she sent Dallas and her brother off to stay with her Aunt Berry, a former Hollywood star. Grant befriended Dallas when he saw other girls picking on her. Their friendship became stronger over the years as Dallas continued spending summers in St. Dennis, and the two eventually become lovers. Their relationship ended badly; Dallas wanted to act and Grant just wanted to be with Dallas. She eventually went to Hollywood and, following in her Aunt Berry’s footsteps, became a major star, and the two haven’t seen each other in years.
Stardom hasn’t brought happiness for Dallas. Her soon-to-be ex-husband has been caught in a particularly embarrassing sexual escapade, so she finds herself seeking refuge for her and her young son with her Aunt Berry. Dallas has no particular plans other than to avoid the paparazzi, but soon she becomes enmeshed in life in the small town, with her aunt, and with plans for the future. More importantly, she once again becomes involved with Grant.
Grant is also back in St. Dennis. While Dallas plans to stay in town only for the summer, Grant is back for good. Recently divorced, he’s set up a veterinary clinic and animal rescue operation in town.
I liked both Dallas and Grant. Despite her fame, Dallas is a nice person trying to deal with a bad situation. Her focus is exactly where it should be: On her son. As Dallas and Grant become closer, they each have interesting insights into the events that led up to their breakup years earlier. Theirs isn’t a hot, steamy romance, but a gentle, slow moving relationship. The book is as much about Dallas’ relationship with her son and her Aunt Berry as it is about her renewed relationship with Grant.
The book is part of the author’s Chesapeake Bay series, but it worked well for me as a standalone read. However, I intend to go back and read the first in the series and I am definitely looking forward to future entries.
While both Dallas and her Aunt Berry were major stars, I didn’t find the Hollywood aspects overwhelming. The major focus of the book is on Dallas’ time in St. Dennis, and her relationships with the people there. I enjoyed meeting a lot of the minor characters in town, and would like to spend more time with them in other books.