****4.5 ‘I’m Coming Home’ STARS****

I purposely chose this book because the storyline isn’t one I usually enjoy.  I’m not generally a fan of overly promiscuous characters seeking physical escape with no feelings – male or female.  I don’t judge and anyone is free to have any kind of consensual sexual relationship they choose, but this theme normally doesn’t click with me.  However, I do like to be challenged in my reading and I consider it a success when the author can bring me around to relating in some way to the character(s) and becoming invested in the outcome.  Em Frances did both and more.

“One of these days I was going to have to stop being a runner.  But today was not that day.”

Emerson ‘Sonny’ Decker has got to find some perspective when it comes to St. Anne’s newest full-time resident.  Known for her ‘hit it and quit it’ philosophy on relationships she’s starting to actually…feel…something, and it’ not solely arousal, every time she claps eyes on Brigham O’Neal.  Holding the hurts of the past close to her heart, Sonny trusts very few and lets no man inside her protected walls – she never breaks her rules.  Something tells her this time it’s different, but it’s easier said than done to convince her head and her heart – to let go.

“It was too much to ask to expect him to deal with my issues, the ones that kept popping back up like weeds.  I wasn’t worth the effort.”

For years Brigham ‘Brig’ O’Neal has wanted to move his business to his hometown of St. Anne but the timing was never right…until now.  It doesn’t hurt that the woman who has his guts all twisted is there too.  Sonny’s been keeping her distance but all that’s about to change.  Brig wants Sonny, thrives on her hard-headed ways and gets off on their snarky arguments.  Why can’t she see how perfect they could be?  If Brig has anything to do with it – she will.

“Sweetheart, broken things aren’t always meant to be fixed.  Sometimes, broken things get put back together with the pieces that are left and end up being more beautiful than the original.”

Told in alternating chapters between Brig and Sonny I was a little hesitant in the beginning of the book.  There’s slight repetition of story with this technique that is often times difficult to get away from.  However, as I continued on I was engaged in the story and not bothered.  Sonny is a vivacious, snarky, independent and guarded young woman.  This can be tough to pull off without seeming to be a hardened bee-ot-ch, but although Sonny can be too stubborn for her own good I liked her.  She has her reasons and they are unveiled throughout the book a little at a time.  Brig is such a swoony, patient, sweetheart of a man.  I loved watching him fight patiently for Sonny and the possibilities their future could hold.  Neither is a push over for each other and is very upfront and honest with each other.  There’s plenty of pop culture TV and movie references used by the two and although I understood some of them I don’t watch too much TV and didn’t get the joke or reference the majority of the time – that’s the only issue I had.

“Every day that I was with him, Brigham continued to prove John right:  O’Neals were solid.  And I couldn’t imagine a better foundation to build our future on.”

This is definitely a slow burn and a slow paced story throughout the entire length of the book and it fit the story if not my preferences.  Despite Sonny’s laissez faire attitude regarding hook ups she’s incredibly gun shy with Brig for various reasons and she gets in her own way many times before letting her guard down and perusing a relationship – sexual and emotional.  The plot line isn’t original, but let’s face it, it’s difficult to come up with a concept that hasn’t been done these days.  What does shine here is the writing, which is excellent and doesn’t strike me as a debut.  The ‘voice’ (especially little Mae) in this tale shines and the characters are engaging; I definitely want more stories of the characters I met.

“No matter how confident you we are, we all have doubts sometimes.  I don’t want you to ever be afraid of what you feel when you’re with me.”

Colorful characters pepper the quaint coastal town of St. Anne and I loved my introduction.  Though the story is of Brig and Sonny’s decent into emotional commitment and love (and their friends make sure to give their input often!) there are plenty of secondary characters and possible storylines, of which I look forward to.  The end of the book gives you a peek at the next story (no expected date at this time) and let’s just say it’s a character I’m aching to find their Happily Ever After.

“When we were kids, Hale, John and I used to pretend we had super powers.  I hadn’t thought of that in years, until that moment.  Because right then and there, I wanted the super power to stop time.”

Probably one of my favorite things in the book world is discovering a hidden gem among the masses…the facets and dimensions of stories and characters that intrigue and delight once you realize what you’re holding in your hands.  My introduction to St. Anne and Em Frances was nothing short of such a discovery and I’ll certainly be waiting for more to come, both in the series and beyond.  Funny, irreverent and at times heartbreaking, this does not read like a debut novel…you want to 1-click this.

“But in the meantime, I was content in the knowledge that she was mine as much as I was hers.”

K’s Category: 1st date, first novel read by author to date.

Characters: M/F

OM/OW: No

Sex: Yes, descriptive

HEA: Y

Standalone: Yes, standalone interconnecting series.

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Buy Link: $.99 – Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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