Sean is used to helping his brother Stu with his problems. He had been away traveling around Asia and had not received word that his brother and Rebecca’s wedding had been called off. He had been happy growing up in Emerald Lake, until the day he discovered his mother’s secret and ended up in a car accident that left his face scarred. Sean has not been home for years. But he had planned to attend the wedding and leave. Now he would have to wait until he found Stu. He can tell that Rebecca is hiding something, but so far, he hasn’t been able to get her to tell him what it is or where his brother went. Sean has noticed the cold tone that his mother uses when speaking to Rebecca and knows that she blames her. He just doesn’t know why he has the sudden urge to protect Rebecca. But Sean is a hard man, showing little emotion. The secret that he learned about his mother many, many years ago has taught him to have no trust when it comes to women. Due to this, he has stayed away from the small Adirondack town he grew up in, only returning for his Stu’s wedding.
In the midst of buying another inn, Sean decides this is the perfect opportunity to learn the inn keeping business from the ground up and Rebecca can teach him everything he needs to know. But as the days go by, he finds her sweet smiles and kind heart getting to him in a way that no other woman has ever done. But honesty is important to him and he knows she is hiding something about his brother…something he is desperate to find out. Despite feeling that this stands between them, he cannot deny the sparks that fly whenever they touch. As her constant need to blurt out whatever is in her head makes him realize that other than this one secret, her refreshing honesty is making him rethink some of his previous thoughts on love, commitment and women…particularly this woman. But can he get beyond his distrust, a problem he has carried with him since he was fourteen?
A heartwarming tale, WITH THIS KISS, the second book in talented author Bella Riley’s EMERALD LAKE series, is an emotion-packed contemporary romance that I hated to see end. Rebecca and Sean both have problems, but together, they begin to overcome them and to heal from their pasts. The chemistry between them is explosive and they are ideally suited for each other. I also liked the subplots in this story; the relationship between Sean’s parents as well as his grandmother Celeste’s love story. At times, this story will have you laughing out loud and at other times, it will have you close to tears. With the delectable setting, complex characters, passion, chemistry, secrets, ghosts, love and romance, this is a story you will want to read more than once. A definite keeper! I have not yet read the first book in this series, so I can say with confidence that this story can be read as a standalone, despite being part of a series. But I look forward to reading it and am eager to visit Emerald Lake again in Ms. Riley’s future works. I highly recommend WITH THIS KISS. Do not miss it!