Clayton Chandler has been hurt in the past when a woman that he loved proved to have ulterior motives and used him for her own purposes. The loss of his beloved father has also affected him. Although Clayton is strongly attracted to Amelia Ann, she is his best friend's baby sister, and therefore, off-limits. Plus there is an eight year age difference between them. Still, he cannot stop fantasizing about her. He is not happy that she is working with the benefit, knowing she will use this time to try to get closer to him.
When he finds out that she is volunteering her time to work with abused women, he realizes that he can no longer ignore his feelings for her. Discovering that she is working in a dangerous part of town, he makes her promise to call him if she needs anything. Not long afterward, Amelia Ann visits a client's home and finds herself in the midst of a highly volatile situation, so she calls Clayton to help her. After rescuing her, her client and her client's two children, all he can think about is how everything could have gone so wrong. Unable to help himself, Clayton kisses Amelia Ann and there is no turning back. But she is carrying a secret that she is afraid will turn her friends and family against her. Will Clayton stand by her, or will Amelia Ann lose the man she loves?
A powerful tale, FIREFLIES AND MAGNOLIAS, the third book in USA Today bestselling author Ava Miles' DARE RIVER series, is an absolutely riveting contemporary romance that targets domestic violence. Clayton and Amelia Ann have an explosive chemistry and it either comes out in heated words when they are struggling against the attraction between them, or in sizzling passion as they succumb to their feelings for each other. These two characters are perfect for each other and I could not help hoping that they would work through their differences to forge a future together. I also loved the secondary characters, especially the other family members on both sides, and I can't wait to read their stories.
Ava Miles is a new-to-me author and I was easily able to read this story as a standalone, even though it is the third in the series. But it did leave me longing for the rest of the DARE RIVER books. Packed with humor, hope, healing, loss and love, this story is not to be missed! At times, it will even bring you to tears as the poignant stories of the abused women and their recoveries are disclosed. FIREFLIES AND MAGNOLIAS really brings the plight of these women to light while also relating a beautiful love story. If you have never read an Ava Miles novel, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of FIREFLIES AND MAGNOLIAS. As I discovered, this magical tale is sure to make you a fan!