ALMOST HOME – Mariah Stewart
Chesapeake Diaries , Book 3
Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0-345-52037-01
March 2011
Contemporary Romance

Chesapeake Bay – Present Day

St. Dennis is a small, close-knit community. The locals cater to the tourists, but when they leave, the locals have their town to themselves.  To find the latest gossip, one only has to go the Cuppachino Coffee Shop. At seventy-something, Grace Sinclair can be found in one of the front tables at the coffee shop.  Not much gets by her.  Grace also runs the local paper.  This is Steffie Wyler's home, and she wouldn't leave it for anything.

Steffie has known from a young age what she wants in life.  After her and best friend, Vanessa, consulted a Ouija board, Steffie learned she will make ice cream, marry her true love, and live happily ever in St. Dennis.  Except…her true love is the elusive Wade MacGregor, who has the bad habit of coming to town and abruptly leaving.  The last time he returned to St. Dennis was for his best friend Beck's wedding.  Wade's phone rang, and he rushed back to Texas . Once again Steffie is left in the dust.  No more. Her ice cream shop, One Scoop or Two, is a roaring success. Now she is determined to get her personal life on the same level.

Wade MacGregor never felt at home in St. Dennis. He and his sister, Dallas, were raised by Aunt Berry , the beautiful former movie star.  He left for college in Texas and finally found his niche.  He and his best friend, Robin Kennedy, started a micro brewery.  Life was good and their business thrived until a con artist married Robin, destroyed the company, and abandoned her.  Oh yes, Robin was pregnant and had cancer.  Wade married her before she died. Afraid the con artist would come back, Wade moves back to St. Dennis, not just to protect baby Austin, but to figure out if there is something real between him and Steffie.

The two main characters, Steffie and Wade, are likeable, and  readers will embrace them.  Several sub plots run through the storyline.  Aunt Berry has a few secrets from long ago to unveil along with stately Judge Archer Callahan.  But more important, will Austin 's father try to take him away from Wade?

ALMOST HOME is the third installment of Mariah Stewart's Chesapeake Diaries. Even though the story can stand alone, Ms. Stewart has delightfully pulled characters from prior stories, and that is the hook.  She delivers. Enjoy

Deborah C Jackson