Worth the Wait
According to a recent Facebook post by author Lori Foster, Worth the Wait is her 100th unique story, which is an amazing accomplishment! Writing for just over twenty years in the romance genre, her books obviously resonate with readers who keep coming back for more. The first novels of hers I read was the Buckhorn Brothers series, which originally came out in the early 2000s. Since then her name on a book automatically draws my attention, and Worth the Wait is a classic example of what readers have come to expect from Ms. Foster – straightforward plots with down to earth characters who enjoy some sexy times on the way to their happy endings.
Worth the Wait is the second story in the Guthrie Brothers duology, and includes two complete romances in one novel (as did the first story in the series, Don’t Tempt Me). Hogan Guthrie is a newcomer to Clearbrook, having moved there with this teenaged son, Colt, after the death of his wife. While Hogan has spent the last several months playing the field in an effort to avoid dealing with the complicated feelings leftover from his marriage, recently he’s been drawn to Violet Shaw. Hogan works at her diner part time as a ‘barbecue master’ (best ribs in town!) but spends his regular business hours as an accountant. He’s not looking for marriage, but a fling with the petite, fiery owner of Screwy Louie’s sure would be fun. Hogan lives next door to his brother Jason, who has helped him settle into town and is good friends with Nathan Hawley, the local sheriff.
Nathan turned in his SWAT badge for local law enforcement, and has his eyes out for trouble. When those eyes are caught by his new neighbor Brooklin Sweet she makes it clear that keeping a low profile is her priority and she’s not looking for new friends. Nathan’s spidey sense tells him that something has Brooklin spooked and he’s determined to prove to her that friendship (or more) with him would be to her advantage. When Brooklin’s past catches up to her, things get dicey for everyone whom she’s becoming close to, including her new friends Violet, Hogan and Nathan. Will a brush with danger show them all the path to their happy ever afters?
The story is written in such a way that there is a chapter with the development of the relationship with one couple and then a chapter with the other, until later in the story when the overarching plot of Brooklin’s troubles start to encompass them all. I really like how this is done, and found myself equally interested in both couples as they have different problems to overcome.
Hogan never got any real resolution over the end of his marriage, discovering his wife was unfaithful (and feeling like a fool for not realizing it was happening) and then having her die unexpectedly in an accident. He also discovers she’d spent all of their savings, including his son’s college fund. Working two jobs is his way of trying to replenish the savings and save his son’s future. But it makes him wary of any kind of relationship commitment. Plus, his boss at his day job is continually overstepping his boundaries and is making him question his future there.
Violet lost her parents at an early age and inherited the diner from her uncle. She’s been running it for so long that making changes to it, even ones that Hogan suggests will help improve the business, test her comfort zone. Of course she’s not blind, and the sexy, confident man running her grills is the kind of man she’d love to see in her bed, even if he is her employee. And when Hogan makes it clear he’s interested but only for the present and with no guarantees for the future, she’s willing to take the risk. It’s Hogan who soon has to come to terms with the fact that the feelings he’s having for Violet are getting him in deeper than he’d planned.
Nathan is another quintessential good guy hero, persistent in showing Brooklin that he’s interested in her without overstepping the boundaries she’s put in place. Brooklin can see that Nathan is unlike the men in her past, but she’s got secrets that put her on the run and still haunt her. These secrets make up a good portion of the second half of the story and drive the action that results, taking the tension up a notch.
Lori Foster writes hot sexy times that are not over the top with swearing or dirty talking but read like a couple who are interested in each other, who respect each other, and who have an equal part to play in their mutual satisfaction. They are definitely some of my favorites to read and are integral to the emotional connections made between the couple concerned.
One thing evident in this story is the reliance on conversations to move the plot. There is not a lot of introspection and deep thinking by the characters, so instead of spending a lot of time mulling things over, the characters will ‘think’ things out by having conversations about them. Hogan is the central figure around which the plot revolves, so this means plenty of conversations with his brother, his son, his friend Nathan and obviously Violet. It’s a simplistic approach but one that works for this small town romance.
Though the four main adults make up the bulk of the points of view in the story, there are also some scenes told through the eyes of from Hogan’s son, Colt, in particular his interest in a girl at his high school. It’s a sweet touch and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a later story with him all grown up, as the author did with the children in the original Buckhorn series. Whether Worth the Wait is your first Lori Foster book, or your 100th, she delivers a sexy, engaging contemporary romance every time.