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Winter's Kiss (Starling Bay Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Great story line, awesome characters, easy to visualize descriptions to details, and engaging dialogue."
SassyBeta Reading & Review
"The first book in the Starling Bay Sweet Romance series and I want to read more of this series. A well-written book that held my interest from the first page. "
"A sweet and simple love story of 2 people who've suffered through small and big tragedies of life."
"What a fun enjoyable read.Great start to a new series. Wonderful small town setting with interesting characters. I liked the hardworking, grieving, single mum matched with the somewhat loner artsy guy."
From the Inside Flap
"I hate Christmas," cried Merry, "and Starling Bay--why would I want to go there?"
Her mother liked to interfere, but this was taking things too far. Merry felt better now. She was better. Of course, she worked a little too hard, but she had it all under control.
"To spend some quality time with your daughter, for one thing. And to get some rest. You've never stopped, Meredith," her mother pointed out. "Not even after Brian--"
"Don't, Mom." She didn't want the constant reminders.
"The doctor signed you off. There's no point in you moping around home. You need to get away."
"But to Starling Bay? If I wanted areal vacation I'd go overseas."
"Would you?" Her mother gave her that look.
Okay. Maybe not. She hadn't gotten on a plane ever since Brian's accident. What should have been an exhilarating experience, a trip in a light Cessna aircraft, had turned into her worst nightmare when the engine caught fire. The plane burst into flames as it hit the ground ten minutes after take-off, killing both Brian and the pilot. She'd bought him the flying experience as a joint birthday and Christmas gift. Ever since then, she hadn't stepped foot inside a plane.
"You don't need to fly. You can drive."
"With Spartacus?" Their beloved Great Dane wasn't going to like the long road trip.
"You loved it when we used to go."
"That was years ago, Mom. I was a teenager then."
"And Chloe's a teenager now."
"The place is dead!"
Her mother returned a smug smile. "Apparently, no. It's booming. It was always a pretty little coastal town, but it's growing. I don't think I would like it so much now. Hyacinth tells me that it has undergone a lot of changes, but she still lives there, so it can't be all that bad. "Besides, they'll be getting ready for Christmas," her mother continued, "and I know how pretty it looks around this time of year."
"God, no," Merry groaned. I hate Christmas. She hadn't always hated it, only since Brian had passed away. He had loved it, and she had too, but spending it without him, especially that first time just a few months after his passing, had been the hardest.
"Meredith, it's about time you started to think more about Chloe." She lifted her face at her mother's stern tone.
"I do think about my daughter," she retorted. "It's not easy being a single parent."
"You want for nothing, I get that. You work hard, we see that. But your father and I also see that your daughter needs you. She doesn't need her grandparents as much as she needs you. Use this time wisely and spend it with her. Her school will be winding down in a few weeks' time. Why not take this opportunity and go away for a few months?"
"A few months?" She was thinking about the disruption to her daughter's schooling.
"Isn't that what your boss suggested? Thanksgiving's over and if you're that worried about school, you can always home school Chloe for a while. Spend quality time with your daughter for a change as well as taking a well-earned break for yourself."
Merry shook her head. Home schooling sounded like hard work. She loved Chloe, but she had a feeling that her surly tween daughter would have to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way to a place where she knew no one. A place she had never been to. A place Merry herself hadn't been to for over a decade.
The idea was ludicrous.
"Hyacinth could do with your expertise," her mother continued. "She's offered you one of the houses by the bay, you know, one of those pretty little places overlooking the oceanfront."
"She offered? When did she offer it?" Merry smelled interference.
"Oh, sometime last week."
She let out an irritated breath. She loved her parents, but her mother could be an interfering little soul. Merry knew her recent health problems had scared her parents. It made them keep an even closer eye on her. They had moved all the way from California to Boston after Brian's death to be here for Merry and her daughter, and she was thankful for all they had done for her.
She also knew that her mother wasn't going to back down until she did what they suggested.
"What am I going to do in one of those houses overlooking the ocean?" She would be bored out of her mind. Spartacus would be the only one who'd find any adventure in the move. She stared at the Great Dane who lay on his side, tongue lolling out, while she paced around the living room.
Her mother stepped in front of her, and gently took her by the shoulders. "This isn't just a difficult Christmas for you, it's hard on Chloe, too, seeing you looking down and not being well. She's so sensitive, given that she's on the brink of being a teenager."
"Don't I know it?" she muttered. Lately, her daughter had become more distant, preferring to stay in her room on her devices, or talking to friends on the phone. Merry knew it was her fault, that she had turned her back on her daughter in an attempt to come to terms with her grief. Brian's sudden passing had hit them like a train.
"I know it hasn't been easy for you, but don't think that it's been any easier for that girl. She was seven when Brian died."
"Don't, Mom." Merry looked away. Some Thanksgiving dinner this had turned out to be. Her father and Chloe were in the other room, her father asleep on the couch, and Chloe watching Home Alone for probably the tenth time.
It was time to take stock. Could she spend a few weeks, maybe even a month at Starling Bay?
At least she'd get to spend Christmas away from Boston. That was an advantage worth considering. The malls and streets were already looking festive, had been for the past month. She felt as if she'd stepped into Christmas the moment Halloween had ended.
"What do I have to do?" she asked, knowing full well that this casual conversation about Starling Bay was nothing but casual. Her mother had a plan.
"Live in a beautiful home, enjoy Starling Bay, have quality time to yourself, get to know your daughter all over again. That's not too much to ask, is it?"
"What did you sign me up for, Mom? You said Hyacinth's letting me stay there for free. What's she expecting in return?"
"That's doesn't sound like Hyacinth." She remembered her mother's friend as being a formidable woman who wore too much powder on her face.
"She could do with some of your marketing expertise, Meredith."
"Marketing expertise? I thought you wanted me to rest and take a break from the world of work."
"Oh, Meredith," her mother crooned. "Hyacinth is on the town committee, and she's leading the Christmas festivities. She only wants a few of your ideas and help."
"Ideas and help?" That job description was so vague as to be useless. But, compared to what her current workload would have been like, giving Hyacinth a few tips would be simple. She could do it with her eyes shut. "Okay. I'll go." At the very least it would get her mother off her back.
"Wonderful!" Her mother clapped her hands together and picked up the phone.
"What are you doing?"
"Calling Hyacinth to tell her that you're coming."
"When exactly does she expect me to come?" She hadn't thought about it, hadn't had time to get used to the idea.
"Next week, I expect. It's not long to go before Christmas."
Merry sucked in a breath, already regretting her hasty decision.
She hated Christmas.
- File Size : 2650 KB
- Publication Date : February 28, 2019
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 197 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07P86FP8F
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #211 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Merry, her daughter 12 year old Chloe and their great Dane are in need of something to help them. Her husband and Chloe's dad passed away 5 years ago. He was killed in a plane crash. Merry chose to bury herself in her job at a big department store in Boston to deal with her grief. Her parents moved down the street to help her with Chloe. She didn't realize that in giving all her time to her job she was neglecting the needs of her daughter. Long hours has taken its toll on her health and she has a minor episode. The doctor tells her to take 2 months off and go somewhere to relax and regroup. Get to know her daughter again and find peace in her life.
So they wind up in Starling Bay. They meet Dylan in a rather unique way. He is instantly attracted to Merry but she is not that friendly, at first. Merry soon settles into the routine of living in a small town and becoming part of a community. Merry and Dylan both seem to be a rather reserve person. They are not innocent in one sense of the word but they come across as innocent as they have both been so into themselves that they are not quite sure how to act around each other. This is their journey as they discover things about themselves and each other as they journey to a HEA. It is a very good read and I really enjoyed it. So much so that at 1 a.m. I am sitting here writing a review. A good read.
I was not paid for this review. I am not a writer nor do I know one. I am not kin to this author. I am a reader and this is my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. 9/7/2019
There were a couple of handsful of word incidents, that is, missing, extra, or wrong words. And one consistency issue of the MC informing a new mom there were 2 rehearsals a week (loc. 754), then telling another character there was 1 rehearsal a week (loc. 770).
Otherwise, I liked the story itself well enough and enjoyed the development of the h and daughter. I recommend it.
The H and h have, to this point, danced around each other like each one may detonate at any moment. To the point of absurd.
Chapter 24 dawns bright and snowy, with more of the same dancing around each other.
But, the thing that changed, was me. I couldn’t take these two, single, grown adults, with an obvious attraction to each other, yet still reacting as if each of them may be a live grenade.
I decided the whole thing was too silly to continue, and deleted it from my kindle. I hope they both survive the potential explosion, should they ever make contact. But, it will happen without me.
Heroine (Merry): Single mom and widow that copes with her unhappiness by working non-stop. This drives a wedge between mother and daughter, and also leads to Merry's burnout. Merry is reluctant to rely on and bond with other people.
Hero (Dylan): Failed actor, currently an artist. Feels frustrated by his life and by his series of perceived failures. A brawny, reliable, chill dude who doesn't realize how much he has to offer a woman, let alone the town. Dylan feels inadequate and worried that Merry will find small town life too slow.
Somewhat clean. There was some kissy face, muscle admiration, warm & fuzzy feelings, and worst of all *shudders* handholding. haha
Very realistic storytelling. Nothing was over-dramatized, except maybe at the end things got a little sappy (but what romance novel doesn't?). I rather liked the POVs of both Merry and Dylan. Their heads were pleasant to be in, if that makes any sense. Other characters in the town were a bit simplifed and didn't really have character growth. However, seeing as this is part of a series, I assume they'll become more developed down the road.
The romance was prioritized, and I think the author did very well at making the two mains a good match for the other. They didn't fall for each other because they both happen to be attractive, but because their personalities meshed well.
All in all, a decent read. Main issue I had with it is that every time I saw the dog's name I had to stop and say, "No, I'M Spartacus." smh