Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Promise at Bluebell Hill - Emma Cane (Avon - Feb 2014)

Series: Valentine Valley (Book 4)

From the moment Secret Service agent Travis Beaumont strides into the town and through the door of Monica Shaw's flower shop, she feels a sizzle of attraction. After years of putting everyone else's needs first, Monica is ready to grab hold of life. If she can just persuade the ultimate protector to let his own walls down for once . . .

The President's son is getting married in Valentine Valley, and Travis should be avoiding all distractions . . . not fantasizing about a forthright, sexy-as-hell florist. Especially when she's keeping secrets that could jeopardize his assignment. But just this once, Travis is tempted to put down the rulebook and follow his heart -- right to Monica's door.

Such a fun book. Monica is the local florist who has spent her whole life in Valentine Valley. Travis is the Secret Service agent who has come to town to get ready for a presidential visit. The president's son  is marrying a local girl and it's Travis's job to make sure everything goes smoothly. As he goes around town checking out the local businesses, he meets Monica. There is an instant attraction between them, but he has to maintain his focus so he can do his job. Monica feels the attraction too and would like to get to know him better.

Monica is a fun character. She's independent, loves her business, and active in her community, especially environmental issues. She's the kind of person who puts others' needs ahead of her own, but she's starting to wonder when it will be her turn to find love. Monica is intrigued by Travis and his stoic demeanor. She'd like a chance to get him to loosen up a little. I really loved seeing her interactions with him at the beginning as she tried hard to get reactions from him. It was fun to see them teasing each other.

Travis is former military and it's easy to see the influence it has had on his life. It has also contributed to his tendency to keep his emotions locked up. There's a great scene at the beginning where Travis is talking to a local veteran and Monica overhears something that gives her a little more insight into who he is. Because she knows almost everyone, Travis finds himself going to Monica frequently for information and introductions. They start to build a friendship, but their attraction is always simmering just below the surface. Though they try to stick to business as usual they aren't very successful at staying away from each other. The more time they spend together the deeper they fall for each other, though neither wants to admit it. Neither really sees a way to have a true relationship.

Adding to the complications of Monica and Travis trying to be together are the antics of the ladies of the Widow's Boarding House. These women are also very active in the community. Their current cause is that of trying to prevent the shutting down of a local archaeological dig. They feel that having the president coming to town is the perfect opportunity to get their message out and have planned a protest. As a participant Monica is torn about what to do. Travis has heard rumors of the protest, but nobody is talking to him about it, including Monica. She wants to tell him, but she has a loyalty to her friends also and doesn't want to chance that the protest will be shut down. This creates some tension between Travis and Monica because both want trust from the other, but are wary of doing the trusting themselves. By the time the protest comes around Travis has made some interesting discoveries about himself. The changes he has gone through have made him a person who is much more open to the idea of a happy future. I loved how this all becomes obvious during the protest. The event itself was fantastic and fit the town and the widows perfectly. I loved everyone's reactions to it.

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