Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Willow Springs - Toni Blake (Avon - July 2012)

Series: Destiny (Book 5)


Amy Bright might be the best matchmaker in Destiny, Ohio, but she's desperately shy when it comes to her own love life -- and helpless when it comes to Logan Whitaker, with whom she's head-over-heels in love. So Amy decides to become Logan's secret admirer, sending him sensual love letters steamy enough to unseal their own envelopes.

After a tragedy on the job, firefighter Logan is battling demons. Thank goodness Amy is there for him. But when a woman from Logan's past resurfaces right as some anonymous letters send Logan's pulse hammering, suddenly he doesn't know what he needs. One smoking-hot kiss could change everything . . . but will it ruin a one-of-a-kind friendship, or show Logan and Amy that they've already found everything they need, right here in Destiny?

Very good book.  Logan and Amy have been friends all their lives.  When Logan loses two friends during a fire he starts to question everything about his life.  He's in the middle of terrible depression, not caring about anything, when Amy shows up to try to snap him out of it.  When she gives him a hug of comfort, he kisses her, and suddenly nothing is the way it was before.

Amy has been known as the town matchmaker, having an amazing ability to see when two people belong together.  Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to be able to do the same for herself.  She's gone on a few dates, but no one has had that zing that makes her want to continue, until that amazing kiss with Logan.  Suddenly she realizes that it's been Logan all along, but she hasn't got the courage to let him know. His obvious dismay at having kissed her isn't helping anything. Amy is very shy and has zero confidence in herself as a woman.  The only way she can let him know of her interest is by sending him anonymous letters. It doesn't help that the long missing, and very beautiful, Anna Romo has returned to Destiny and Logan is visibly smitten.

Logan is haunted by the two deaths during a fire he was fighting.  He hasn't been able to go back to work as a firefighter since it happened, and spends his days in a fog. The only thing keeping him going is his friendship with Amy, who has always been there for him. When he loses his head one day and kisses her, he is horrified by what he has done. Logan has never had a successful relationship with a woman, and the thought of this kiss ruining his friendship with Amy scares him so he backs off, even though he can't forget it.  Anna's reappearance in Destiny throws him off too.  He remembers how she followed him around when they were kids, and she makes her interest in him now quite clear.  He thinks she is just what he needs but also finds himself reluctant to get truly involved with her. He blames it on being her brother's best friend, but realizes that isn't the whole story.

The whole romance between Amy and Logan is full of ups and downs.  Amy's self confidence is nonexistent when it come to male/female relationships. She doesn't think she's at all pretty and when she compares herself to Anna she feels even worse. I liked the way her friends tried to show her that she had nothing to worry about, but it was an uphill battle.  Now that she has accepted that she's in love with Logan she's even more bummed about his fascination with Anna.  I loved seeing her finally get up the courage to tell him that she wrote the notes, and what happened afterwards was great.  But she's still having problems with Logan seeing her as more than a friend, or now a friend with benefits. She and Logan start spending time together as more than friends, but she's still fighting for his attention when Anna is around.  She does finally start to gain confidence in herself as a woman and realizes that she deserves better than what she is getting from Logan. I loved seeing her stand up to him and let him know how she felt. I loved the way that she knew Logan so well, but she tended to be a bit of a nag when it came to him going back to being a firefighter.  She had some trouble backing off about that, and it was one of the things that put a strain on their relationship.  Her insecurities about Anna also led her to being rather mean at a party, which wasn't at all like her. I loved seeing her stand up for her own needs, even though it hurt her to do it. There was so much emotion in this section that I went through several tissues.

There were quite a few places where I really wanted to either shake Logan or hit him with a baseball bat.  I completely understood his problems with getting over the tragedy.  There is no timetable for grief and he had a lot to work through. I thought that Amy could have been more understanding about that. When he had that moment where he kissed Amy, it was quite a wake up call for him. Suddenly he was looking at her differently and it really freaked him out, so he tried to ignore it.  Having Anna show up in Destiny gave him the distraction he thought he needed. But as much as he kept telling himself that he really wanted to go out with her, he found it very easy to find reasons not to - everything from his friendship with her brother to his own unsettled life. He didn't want to admit to himself that the reason was his feelings for Amy.  His constant waffling back and forth drove me nuts, and when he allowed Anna to hijack him at the fair I didn't blame Amy for walking off at all. Logan knew he was being an idiot but he couldn't seem to stop himself. When Amy gave him that last lecture about what he should be doing he lost it with her, even though he knew she was right. He was stunned at her ending everything with him, including their friendship, and found himself questioning everything. I liked seeing him finally start dealing with his grief and moving toward getting his life back on track.  His "ah ha" moment was fantastic and made a great ending.

The character of Anna was pretty complex. Her arrival back in Destiny was great as it got the entire Romo family back together. But as a person, I found her pretty obnoxious. I understood her conflict as she is dealing with the fact that her entire life has been a lie. She's overwhelmed by her reception, but she also seemed to be kind of snotty with the way she held herself back. She also appeared to look down on the entire town. I didn't care at all for her pursuit of Logan, as it didn't seem to matter to her if he was truly interested in her. Her actions at the fair were particularly obnoxious. I understood her frustration with Mike's attitude and treatment of her, but having it out with him on his wedding day was just plain mean and selfish. She seemed to be changing by the end, so hopefully that will continue in the next book.

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