A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…
Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…
Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When Cade Fournette's parents suddenly died, he found himself taking care of his younger brother and sister. He dropped out of high school and took whatever jobs he could to make sure that they were cared for. One night, while heading out to poach from crayfish nets, Cade discovers Monroe hiding on his boat. After telling him why she had to sneak out of her house, the two strike up a conversation. She may have only been thirteen years old to his seventeen, but they form a bond that would stay intact. Unfortunately, for the both of them Cade, suddenly leaves town without an explanation and then doesn't return for ten years.
When Cade does returns home it is because he is injured and they are both surprised to discover that Monroe will be the one helping him heal. She certainly has grown up since the last time they saw each other. She's not only a successful physical therapist, but she also uses her spare time to teach self defense to young girls. She understands all too well what some of those girls are dealing with and she wants to do her part in making sure that they can take care of themselves. Before they know it, Cade and Monroe find themselves falling back into their old relationship, but since they are older and wiser, they find that their feelings for each other have turned romantic.
I loved Cade and Monroe's relationship when they were teenagers and even more so now that they are adults. Growing up, Cade should have never even crossed paths with Monroe. Their town was, and still is, very divided in terms of class, but that never mattered to them. And although they kept their friendship a secret, it wasn't because of the judgement they would have encountered, but more because they didn't want to share what they had with anyone else. Them meeting up was more of an escape from their every day lives more than anything. They just seemed to understand one another. And to this day, even though Cade is a successful business man, some people in town can't get past the way he grew up. One of my favorite scenes in the book is at a fundraiser where Monroe makes it very clear that Cade is the man for her.
“Come with me.” Reality in the form of a crooning Michael Bublé song and the murmur of laughter-punctuated conversation drifted closer.
“What are you doing?” An edge of panic replaced his dark sexual tease. She’d thrown him off-balance. Good. Time for her to return the favor.
She led him back into the great room. The song changed to an eighties ballad she occasionally heard on the classic rock station and in old movies. While it wouldn’t have been her statement song of choice, it would have to do.
She stopped at the edge of where a handful of couples swayed like they were reliving their high-school prom.
“You want to dance with me ?” Incredulity but also a sense of wonder lilted his question. “In front of the Tarwaters and all of Cottonbloom, Mississippi?”
She answered by slipping her hand in his and squeezing. As if they had made a pact to jump at the same time, they moved forward on the same beat of music. She turned toward him, sliding her hands up the lapels of his tuxedo to link around his neck.
He tightened his arm around her waist and brought them closer than she’d danced with Andrew. “You sure you know what you’re doing?” He splayed his fingers on her back, tucking them under the edge of her dress. She felt branded.
“I have no idea what we’re doing; do you?”
His mouth tightened before he laughed softly and skimmed his smooth chin along her temple. “Not a clue.”
Whispers and side-eye glances came from all directions. She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t uncomfortable, but not because she was ashamed of Cade.
The song ended, and they stopped swaying yet stayed interlocked. The next song was faster paced, leaving them in limbo.
Cade tensed , sending a cold stare over her shoulder a second before someone tapped her arm.
Along with Cade building on his past relationship with Monroe, he also sets out to repair his relationship with his siblings. He never told them the real reason why he left town and while he may have kept in touch with his family, their relationships became strained and he rarely returned home. The longer he stays in Cottonbloom, the more he realizes how much he missed it and how much he wants to stay. For both his family and for Monroe. Cade goes on the quite the emotional journey and it was a pleasure to read.
I'm so excited for the rest of the series. It continues with Tally's (Cade's sister) book and then Sawyer's (Cade's brother). I am excited for Sawyer's book because it's one of those "I love you but I also "hate" you" situations. It's gonna be good y'all. I can already tell.