WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .
Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he's learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He'd just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she's back and he's battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can't keep his lips--or his hands--to himself.
IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER. . .
When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson--her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She'd cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?
Very good friends to lovers story. There were parts that had me laughing out loud and others that had me reaching for the tissues. Abby and Jackson had been best friends for a long time. They shared a lot of things, including some important firsts. But shortly after Jackson left for the Marines, Abby left Sweet behind for the big city, with no word of explanation and no more contact. Now she's back to get her parents' house ready to sell and has to confront her past.
Seeing each other again brings back a lot of emotions that have been buried. Abby had left Sweet behind because she had been in love with Jackson and he didn't appear to return the feeling. She married a man who ended up only wanting a trophy wife that he could mold and control into what he wanted. When her marriage ended Abby was left feeling pretty worthless. Now she's trying to figure out what to do next with her life.
Jackson has had a hard few years. He saw his brother die in the war, his father died shortly thereafter. He married and had a child, but the marriage didn't work out. He blames himself for all of it. Abby's arrival is Sweet has him remembering the good times, but also the hurt from when she disappeared.
I loved seeing the two of them back together. Jackson tried to hold on to his anger when he first saw her but he couldn't do it. He was too happy to see her again. At first he's determined to stay away from her but their former friendship is too strong. I loved the way that he dragged her off to get "real food" and his efforts to help her overcome her fears about being back in town. Next thing he knows he's helping her with the house and they're spending time together. Abby is loaded with guilty feelings of her own over the way she left. She's surprised by how easily she and Jackson slip back into their old relationship.
It doesn't take long before each of them really wants more out of that relationship but neither one has the courage to make the first move. Everyone around them can see that they belong together. Abby realizes her feelings pretty quickly but is afraid to tell Jackson how she feels because he is so determined that they just be friends. Jackson spends a long time refusing to admit to himself, much less Abby, that he loves her. There are some great scenes where various members of his family try to help things along, especially the one where Jesse brings her along to help find some lost cows. Abby finally gets to the point where she can tell Jackson how she feels, but his reactions show that he still has issues to overcome. It takes a near tragedy for Jackson to learn to let go of the past and embrace the future.
I also loved the secondary characters. Jackson's daughter Izzy was adorable and he was such a wonderful daddy to her. I even liked his ex-wife, Fiona. It was nice to see an ex who was not a completely nasty person for a change. I'm looking forward to reading her story. I also loved all of Jackson's family members. It was fun seeing his mom deal with all those boys, even as adults. I also can't wait to read Jesse's story, as he's obviously different than everyone thinks he is.