Monday, September 1, 2014

The Reasons to Stay - Laura Drake (HS #1939 - Aug 2014)

Series: Widow's Grove (Book 2)

Where she belongs?

Free spirit Priscilla Hart doesn't get tied down, to anyone or any place. Then she arrives in Widow's Grove and meets her half brother. The ten-year-old tough guy has no one else but her. So Priss stays -- for now.

But her sexy new landlord, Adam Preston, is interfering with her ideas. He's everything Priss normally steers clear of -- committed, stable and no rebellious urges in sight. As opposite as they are, each conversation, each touch, each kiss they share feels so right. Can a little gangster-wannabe, an irresistible "nice guy" and an odd assortment of new friends make Priss want to stay for good?

Priss left her dysfunctional childhood behind as soon as she graduated from high school. For the past ten years she has lived life on her own terms, going where she wants to go whenever she wants to go. She's avoided emotional entanglements, only getting involved with guys who have no desire for anything permanent. When she gets word that her mother has died, she heads to Widow's Grove to say her farewells. There she meets the ten year old half brother she knew nothing about. With their mother gone, he has no one but her and is headed for foster care if she doesn't take him.

Priss has never done anything that requires a commitment but she can't stand the idea of Ignacio, or Nacho, going into the system. She'd been there once and wouldn't wish it on anyone. So she commits to staying in Widow's Grove until school lets out, when she and Nacho would move on. But that means she needs a job and a place to live. 

Enter Adam, who has two apartments above his pharmacy. His mom lives in one and the other is available. He's not too sure about renting to Priss - she's completely outside his experience. He lives a very calm, stable life and Priss and her brother are about to really shake it up. 

This was definitely a case of opposites attracting. Adam and Priss got off to a rocky start, but soon developed a cautious friendship. Priss found herself listening to Adam when he talked about what might be going through Nacho's mind when he was acting out. The things he said gave her unexpected insight into her brother, but also into what made Adam tick. She stops seeing him as a stick in the mud but as a man with a lot of love to give. Adam is drawn to the woman who is nothing like he's ever experienced before. He's impressed by her strength and her courage in facing whatever life sends her way.

Adam's past has had him living a quiet and safe life, never allowing him to take any risks. Meeting Priss has made him realize that he is stuck in a rut. I loved seeing the changes he went through as he faced up to his fears. He went from a really uptight, judgmental kind of guy to one who could see the best in people. There was one place where he allowed himself to jump to conclusions, and when he was proved wrong he had the courage to admit it and apologize. It wasn't an easy thing for him to do, but it showed the emotional growth he was experiencing. I especially loved seeing him really face his fears at the end, as his feelings for Priss helped him be there when she needed him.

Priss has had her own ghosts to fight. Staying in Widow's Grove for Nacho has her facing her feelings for her mother. She is afraid of doing the wrong things while trying to be a parent for her brother, and this gives her a bit of insight into what drove her mother. I loved seeing Priss become part of the community of Widow's Grove. She is much more of a people person than she realizes and I really enjoyed seeing her interactions with the people she met. Priss does have to fight her feelings of inferiority around other people. She thinks of herself as a mutt that lives on the fringes of life, and it takes awhile for her to accept that people like her for the person she is. I loved how she started showing how much she has come to care for people. It got her in some trouble at the end, but also opened her eyes to what she now wants for her life.

I loved the character of Nacho and how he was the bridge between Priss and Adam. It was through him that each of them learned what they were capable of. As a character himself, I loved seeing the combination of tough guy and little boy. He had some really good parts where he cut through the bull around him and straightened out the adults in his life.

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