HOMECOMING - Lacey Baker
A Sweetland Novel , Book 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-250-01922-6
May 2013
Contemporary Romance

Sweetland, Maryland - Present Day

With the death of Mary Janet Cantrell, her grandchildren have returned to the small town on the Eastern Shore that their family helped to found.  With the exception of Michelle, second oldest and first daughter, the other five siblings left town for college and never really returned.  Quinn, the oldest, is now the head medical oncologist at a prestigious clinic in Seattle, and while he keeps in touch with his siblings, he hasn't seen them in awhile.  His plan had been to leave shortly after the reading of his Gramma's will, but learning that he and his siblings inherited not just the house-turned-Bed and Breakfast, but also a bunch of puppies has him reevaluating his plan.  Michelle has been running the restaurant side of the B&B, and recommends the assistant manager, Nikki, take over the running of the B&B.  While this solves the problem of the business, Quinn has no idea what to do with his puppy.  Even more surprising is his attraction to Nikki, who is several years younger than he, and has no desire to leave Sweetland.

Nikki Brockington had a crush on Quinn when she was younger, and after their first meeting since his return, she once again feels like that young girl—admiring her friend's older brother while he barely sees her.  Mrs. Cantrell has been Nikki's mentor and friend, so when she is given the opportunity to become the manager, she plans to continue Mrs. Cantrell's work and follow the older woman's vision for the B&B.  Though she can't imagine Quinn being interested in her, as she settles in to her new job, Quinn seems to always be there, and when Nikki runs into trouble, Quinn offers his support—and so much more.  But how long will he be willing to stick around the town he once couldn't wait to get away from?

The first book in Lacey Baker's new Sweetland series, HOMECOMING introduces us to the Cantrell family as well as some of the interesting, or eccentric, citizens of the small town.  Five of the siblings left for college only to stay away.  They all have successful careers, but after their grandmother's funeral, none seem to be in a hurry to return to their lives.  Quinn went into oncology after losing two people he loved to cancer, but lately his work hasn't left him very satisfied.  Dixi, the lab puppy he inherited, doesn't like him very much, and with his job, keeping a dog wouldn't be wise, so he decides to stick around Sweetland long enough to find a suitable owner.  Nikki is a beautiful, sweet distraction, but Quinn struggles between his desire for her and his feelings of guilt over the age difference and his lost love. Nikki's last attempt at a relationship was a disaster, and she's planning on her job at the B&B to keep her busy, but Quinn is a temptation she can't ignore.

While much of the book is about the relationship between Nikki and Quinn, readers also get a chance to meet his family: twin brothers, Parker and Preston, and sisters, Michelle, Raine and Savannah.  Michelle is the only Cantrell to have remained in town, and she wants her siblings to move back.  With a little help from their late Gramma as well as a litter of puppies, Michelle just may get her wish.  A touching romance as well as an emotional family tale, look for HOMECOMING.

Jennifer Bishop