WITH THIS KISS – Bella Riley
An Emerald Lake Novel
Emerald Lake – Present Day
Rebecca Campbell almost made the mistake of marrying her best friend, but when her now ex-fiancé, Stu Murphy, left town the morning after they ended the engagement, she now faces much speculation. She promised Stu that she wouldn't reveal the real reason he left, but it burns a hole inside her. Stu's brother, Sean, shows up at the inn she's managing for Stu, unaware that the wedding is off. She tries to ignore the sudden attraction between them, because an albatross in the form of Stu stands between them. To get involved with one Murphy brother after she “dumped” another would only cause more scandal.
Sean left Emerald Lake many years ago, but came back to see his only brother get married. He didn't get the letter telling him the wedding is off, and arrives at the inn just as another marriage ceremony ends. He spots Rebecca, not knowing who she is and is drawn to her. Discovering that Stu mysteriously left and she is keeping the truth from Sean and his parents as to the reason why puts a strain between them. Both Rebecca and Sean can feel the simmering desire between them, but Sean isn't planning to stay, while Rebecca has made it clear she wants to remain in Emerald Lake.
There are a lot of secrets bubbling in WITH THIS KISS and readers will be drawn into the poignant drama. Rebecca already had one bad relationship before she came to Emerald Lake and, on the rebound, she let herself become engaged to her best friend, Stu. Realizing her mistake at the last minute, even before she found Stu with another man, she knows she is looked upon as the one who broke a man's heart and caused him to suddenly leave town. She is running the inn in his absence, and soon after Sean returns to town, learns he owns half of the inn. Meanwhile, Rebecca has too many things going on, what with running the inn and organizing a festival, and she resists Sean's offer to help. But he breaks down her barriers and they grow closer. The more she's around him, the harder it is to not fall in love with him.
Sean left town as soon as he was an adult after a traumatizing incident when he was a teen. While his relationship with Stu was fairly close, he can barely stand to be around their parents because of what happened. Sean's secret has burned a hole in his heart for a long time, eating at him emotionally. He can't believe in love, because in his mind, it is fraught with potential heartbreak. As the days go on, Sean grows closer to Rebecca. She becomes the sunshine in his life and he wants her with all of his heart. But he can't promise her more than a brief fling, because he doesn't plan on sticking around Emerald Lake, while she's content to make it her home, despite the swirling rumors about her due to Su's disappearance.
Emotions run high and tears might even run as the love between Sean and Rebecca blooms in WITH THIS KISS. Bella Riley has penned an exquisite tale of love born from heartbreak and secrets kept and eventually revealed. Don't pass this one and make WITH THIS KISS a part of your next book shopping trip.