Monday, September 10, 2018

Come Back to Me by Sharon Sala ~ Review and Giveaway

Title: Come Back to Me (Blessings, Georgia #6)
Author: Sharon Sala
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

After a crime pitted their families against each other, high school sweethearts Phoebe Ritter and Aidan Payne were forced to say a tearful goodbye. Phoebe stayed behind in Blessings, Georgia, while Aidan and his father left town for good.

Twenty years later, after the death of his grandfather, Aidan comes home to Blessings--only to discover he has a nineteen-year-old son. Aidan is hurt, but thrilled to meet Lee. And as Aidan and Phoebe spend more time together, they realize their old feelings are as strong as ever. But with a complicated past riddled with drama and betrayal, can they truly forgive and forget?

I have really enjoyed books by Sharon Sala in the past, but this one just didn't work as well for me.  The beginning starts off with a high-adrenaline fire at the store Aiden's father runs. And so begins a very sad and upsetting story as the fire spreads to kill he girlfriend's father in the shop next door. While this was a horrible tragedy, the fallout of the town's emotions set the stage and conflict between our couple in such a detailed way that made me feel so much for these two.

But then we get back to "now" and things didn't go as well as I had hoped. While I'm not a huge fan of the secret-baby, there are times that it is both appropriate and believable that will not lead me to dislike the heroine. Unfortunately, this book did not do well in that area. Not only did Phoebe not tell Aiden about her son (for 19 years), but the whole town knew, including his grandfather, and no one seemed to think it might be a good thing to let him know. I instantly disliked all of them. That is not a cool thing to do to someone.

Aiden's reaction to finding out about his son, Lee, was a very underplayed. I wanted him to go through the stages of grief and anger. He lost an entire childhood with his son, and he seemed to just be a little annoyed about it. Lee also didn't quite act like I expected a nineteen-year-old to. I kept thinking that he was much younger because of the phrases he used and some of his behaviors.

There were some really good spots woven amongst this, and if you enjoy the secret-baby stories, then this will be a great read for you. The mystery of who set the fire threads through the story, and I enjoyed how it came to its conclusion and the way the town reacted once the truth finally came out.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Aidan was carrying a suitcase to their car when he heard the sound of running footsteps. He looked up to see Phoebe coming toward him. Her face was red like she'd been crying and her long brown hair was in wild disarray. The sight of her appearance now, after all he and his family had endured alone, both hurt and angered him. He shoved the suitcase into the trunk and headed back inside.
                "Wait, Aidan, wait."
                He stopped, then slowly turned to face her.
                "What are you doing here?"
                Sunlight momentarily blinded her as she looked up. She blinked rapidly to clear her vision, then looked up again, searching his face for a sign that he was glad to see her, and saw nothing but hate and disgust.
                Her heart sank.
                "Please don't go."
                Aidan's body language was one of defiance. The tone of his voice held nothing but disdain.
                "The only thing that matters to me here, is that I'm leaving my mother behind. Her death broke what was left of my father's heart, and your family destroyed his reputation. We can't get out of Blessings soon enough for me. Go home."
                Phoebe started to shake. This was really happening. She was losing Aidan forever.
                "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she said. "Please don't be mad at me! I know your father is innocent."
                He turned his back and walked into the house.
                Despite the sweat running down her back, she suddenly shivered. She'd never seen him like this - cold and shut down, but she couldn't leave. She stood on the sidewalk waiting, half-blind with tears as he and his father come out of Preston Williams' house together.
                Preston gave each of them a last hug, and then stood on the porch as they headed to the car.
                Preston saw her, but didn't acknowledge her.
                George glanced at her, started to speak, and then shook his head and slid into the driver's seat.
                Aidan put the last of their things into the trunk and slammed it shut.
                "I'm sorry, Aidan," Phoebe said.
                He didn't look at her as he got into the car.
                George started the engine.        
"Please! You have to forgive me," Phoebe cried.
                George put the car in gear and backed out of the drive.
Phoebe started running down the driveway after them. "Come back! Come back! Please, Aidan, come back to me!"
                Aidan glanced in the side mirror outside his window, startled to see her running behind the car. But they were going faster, and her image was growing smaller and smaller. The last sight he had of her before they turned the corner, she was on her knees in the street, her hands covering her face. The pain in his chest was so great he thought he would die.
                He took a slow, shaky breath and looked away.


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