Falling Hardby Pamela Clare
Book 3 of Colorado High Country
~ Goodreads ~
Rating: 4.0 Stars
I had been anticipating the release of Pamela's newest book since there was an announcement that it would be published at the end of 2016. When it still hadn't come out yet, I found myself a little disappointed.
But here it is, and as is per usual with me, I tend to devour Pamela Clare books like a favorite meal.
And I'll admit, while she seems to be breaking out the schmaltzy once again, I never cease enjoying her books, especially when she creates characters that are just so easy to fall in love with.
Truth be told, I liked this installment more than the previous one, as the romance develops in a more favorable and believable direction, and there is a lot less schmaltz, and a whole lot of sweet with the presence of the three-year-old twins. This comes as a surprise to myself since I have a secret soft spot for firefighters, and was probably more surprised that I didn't end up loving the second book featuring Fire Chief of Scarlet Springs, Eric Hawke after I finished reading it months ago.
Ellie Meeks is a Gold Star wife, raising a set of twins alone--her late husband having never even had a chance to meet his children. For the past three years, she'd been surviving day-to-day just to raise her children, but not truly able to move on. Even though Dan had made her promise she would move on and live a happy life if anything ever happened to him, Ellie has never found the pull to do so.
On a snowy night, with two sick children, a load of groceries, and a car that wouldn't start, she meets Jesse Moretti for the first time. He helps her get herself and her kids safely home, then also offers to arrange for her car to be towed. It's pretty much a mutual attraction at first sight, and knowing that Jesse is part of the elite Search & Rescue Team of Scarlet Springs, as well as a friend of friends, Ellie cannot help anticipating their next meeting, allowing a spark of interest in men to develop for the first time in three years since she lost her husband. The best part, he lives right next door!
Jesse is a newcomer in Scarlet Springs, having settled in the small mountain town in order to find peace and get Iraq and war out of his head. As an adrenaline junkie and a natural athlete, there isn't any dangerous sport he wouldn't participate in, and finds a natural high in mountain climbing and extreme sports. While he's attracted to Ellie as well, he feels that he has no place bringing his own demons into her life, and in kind, he doesn't feel he could take on Ellie's baggage as a grieving widow as well. He's got his own problems to deal with, least of all his currently recovering psyche, still feeling the guilt from having been unable to save a little girl from being washed away in rapids recently.
But as the two start to see more of each other, the chemistry is hard to deny, and soon Ellie and Jesse begin to feel more than just sexual tension and lust. And maybe they can find a way to help each other move forward into a new life together.
I've always loved Pamela Clare's romantic suspense books, and while contemporary romance isn't the first genre I will reach for, it most certainly fills those in-between gaps when you want to watch a couple find their happily ever after without spending eighty percent of the book running for their lives. Unfortunately, it means I need to be prepared to roll through 300+ pages of mundane, daily happenings...
Fortunately, Pamela has a knack for reeling you right into her books, falling in love with her characters, and feeling as if 300+ pages of mundane, daily happenings is just as exciting as watching a couple running for their lives. Because as event after event takes placed, slowly bringing our sweet and sexy couple together, you get to a point where you're already reaching the end, and you wonder where the time went, and wish that there were more to the story because the enjoyment is real.
Ellie and Jesse are no different than other characters Pamela has created in the past. They are good people, living hard lives, trying to make the best of things; then they come together and fill an aching hole in each other's hearts that they never even knew they'd been yearning to fill. There are good people around them--supportive family and friends.
The interactions are good, the children are good, the kids are good, the developing relationship is good... the sex is good. And somehow, I also love seeing those mundane, daily happenings such as Jesse's daily report on how many stupid people do stupid things on the ski slopes, or even how many unfortunate accidents can happen on a regular basis. Ellie's daily activities were also interesting, including her interaction with her three-year-old twins, her set-up of the Snow Fest's first aid tent, her few workdays at the hospital as an RN...
You would think a couple--or three, or four--random rundowns of each other's days would get boring after a while, but all the different things that happen to Ellie and Jessie on a daily basis is too realistic to find boring, really. Especially, for Ellie since I, myself, also work in a hospital and have a few stories of the random variety of things that can happen, both strange and sad.
Meanwhile, while Ellie might be a few positive traits shy of becoming a Mary Sue, I didn't really mind it all that much. She's a very readily likable person, and that's what matters sometimes.
And then, as much as I'm not a fan of children in real life, the interactions between the twins, Daisy and Daniel, with just about anyone really DID make the book extra enjoyable. Truth be told, the kids were the delightful part of the book amidst all the romantic angst that reared its ugly head a few times.
Anyway, I don't know who the next feature couple will be for Pamela's next great love story. However, I DID enjoy the cameo appearance of the entire West family--Nate and Megan and Emily and Jack, and even the horsey, Buckwheat. Each new Pamela Clare book always makes me want to go back and revisit her I-Team world!
If I had played my cards correctly, I think I could have shuffled a few squares around and inserted Falling Hard in somewhere for Romance Bingo 2017. But it didn't occur to me until later that I might have used this book for the Guy/Girl Next Door square, and then move Sweet Little Lies to Blown Away (based on the cover), I really considered Key to My Heart, but wasn't quite sure it would fit.