Leave the Night on
Sutton Mize is having her fiancé’s classic convertible restored as a surprise. Unfortunately, he also has a surprise in store for her – Sutton finds a pair of underwear in said car that is Not Hers. Even worse, they belong to her best friend. Thankfully, this discovery is made in the presence of Wyatt Abbot, who has not only had a crush on Sutton since forever, but is a good man with a Knight in Shining Armor complex. As he helps her recover from public humiliation, he discovers his crush was well founded and she discovers he is truly one of the good guys. Full of warmth and all the quirks I’ve come to expect from the Cottonbloom series, Leave the Night On is a welcome addition to the series.
Cottonbloom, a town on both sides of the Mississippi river, has become one of my favorite places to visit over the last year as Laura Trentham has introduced me to her inhabitants. Last year saw the release of the first three books and I was sure the author must have concluded her time there because the three siblings around which those books centered all got their happily ever afters. I was delighted to discover plans for time spent with new folks, and even more delighted when I discovered that this book’s characters are only tangentially connected to the foci of the first three. We were introduced to Wyatt, his brothers, and their garage in the first books, but they were never central characters, so I was glad to get this chance to get to know them.
Sutton owns an upscale boutique on the Mississippi side of the town (read: the wealthy part), and is well known in town for ensuring her customers get exactly what they want. This is why she recognized the underwear immediately; it was a special order for her best friend. Falling apart in front of Wyatt was not on her agenda for the day, but she’s pleasantly surprised by how he handles the situation. Stepping in immediately to gently and firmly help her get out of his garage and home safely where she can mourn and plan, Wyatt proves himself to be an immediately helpful teammate in her new life.
The first plan she concocts for this new life also involves Wyatt. In order to show the former fiancé that he hasn’t broken her, Sutton asks Wyatt to be her fake-boyfriend and he agrees, not only because of his long-time crush, but because of said Knight complex. In case you were wondering, he gets mild crap about this from his loved ones who are sure he’s playing with fire. There’s a lot of ‘she is never going to love you like you love her’ kind of language that he shrugs off by reassuring them it’s just a fake fling.
Of course, dear readers, we know there is no such thing as a fake fling in Romancelandia. The fake dissolves quickly; the couple innately trusts each other and are willing to be vulnerable in ways that surprise each of them. The question they the entertain regards reciprocation and reality; does the other person feel the same way and can this work when they’re from such different worlds?
While not my favorite hero of the series (that honor goes to Nash Hawthorne of Then He Kissed Me), Wyatt is a steady and lovely presence in the book. The use of the word lovely may sound cheesy, but he’s such a breath of fresh air when compared to so many of the domineering heroes I read about. He quickly and quietly becomes Sutton’s support structure, but still trusts her to make the calls as regards her own life. He will defend her to the death and will always be on her team, but he is aware she doesn’t need him in the way so many heroes with Knight complexes do. In fact, he quickly sheds that complex when he realizes love is so much more grounded in respect than he ever realized and that she needed a temporary Knight, not a permanent one.
I deeply enjoyed Leave the Night On, and look forward to spending more time with the Abbott boys (the next book centers on Jackson, for the record) and their true loves.