Connor fell in love with Jess when he was twelve years old. Of course, she didn't return the feeling and basically ignored him. When Connor was attacked by her brother Davey's dog and had to have stitches to his face and arm, Connor's father called animal control and had the dog put down. From then on Davey hated Connor and flew into a rage every time he saw Connor.
Davey is mentally handicapped and Jess is the one who cares for him. Their folks are both alcoholics, so it is all left to Jess to take care of them. She started two jobs when she was fifteen years old and after high school took online courses to get a better job at the Blue Heron Winery. Jess did what she had to do in high school to make sure her brother was safe. She used her feminine attributes and received the name Jessica Does. Trying to live that name down as an adult in the small town where she received it is almost impossible. She can't imagine anyone wanting to marry her and she will always take care of Davey.
This story starts in the present day, then goes back twenty years to show how Connor and Jess interacted, then it goes to eleven years, then five years and back to the present day. I am not always happy with a book that reads this way but this story could not have been written any other way to bring the story to life. Experiencing Connor trying to work his way into Davey's life and become a friend is very poignant. He can't stand not having Jess in his life and wants to make her see how great their lives could be.
Connor is a chef and owns a restaurant with his twin sister, Colleen. Their name calling back and forth, even in their adult years, makes this book one you won't want to put down. Laughing-out-loud to a book is a great feeling and keeps the story alive. Seeing how Jess comes into her own as a professional and gain confidence makes you cheer for her to get what she wants in life.
I give this novel 4 Blue Ribbons on Romance Junkies' website because I love the great storytelling that KRISTAN HIGGINS puts into her books, making you want to come back for more.