Title: The Family Journal
Author: Carolyn Brown
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
At the end of her rope, single mom Lily Anderson is determined to move her rebellious children in the right direction. That means taking away their cell phones, tablets, and computers—at least temporarily—and moving to the house where Lily grew up in the rural town of Comfort, Texas. But Lily has a bigger challenge than two sulking kids.
The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter. The arrangement: just housemates. But Mack’s devoted attention to the kids starts to warm Lily’s resistant heart. Then Lily finds an old leather-bound book in which five generations of her female ancestors shared their struggles and dreams. To Lily, it’s a bracing reminder about the importance of family . . . and love.
Now it’s time for Lily to add an adventurous new chapter to the cherished family journal—by embracing a fresh start and taking a chance on a man who could make her house a home.
Lily reached for her tea at the same time Mack was setting his glass back down. Their hands touched again. Her breath caught in her chest, and her pulse jacked up several notches.
“I’m going to ask you a dumb question,” he drawled. “Do you feel chemistry between us?”
Her chest tightened. Of course she felt something between them, but she damn sure didn’t want to talk about it like they were discussing the price of goat feed. And yet . . . they were adults, not hormonal teenagers who jumped into the fire with both feet when they felt something for another person. How many times had she told her clients in therapy sessions to talk things out?
“Why is that dumb?” she asked.
“It kind of sounded dumb in my head, and even more so when I said it,” he said.
“Yes, I do feel something between us.” She nodded. “I’ve wondered if it’s because I haven’t dated all that much. How about you?”
“No dates in three years. Nothing serious since Natalie,” he admitted.
“Do you think it’s because we hav-haven’t,” she stammered.
“No, I think there’s definitely an attraction between us, and I’ll tell you right now, up front, you deserve better than me,” he said.
Lily frowned so hard that her eyes became mere slits. “Why would you say a stupid thing like that?”
“I’m a high school vo-ag teacher, and I’ll never be rich. Hell, I’m forty-one, and I don’t even own a house. I’ve just got a pickup that’s paid for and a herd of goats,” he said.
“Why, Mack Cooper, are you thinkin’ marriage?” she joked. “You haven’t even kissed me yet.”
“I’m just thinking that we shouldn’t start anything without being completely honest, and, honey, I can remedy that kissing part anytime.” His green eyes twinkled.
Lily felt heat rising to her cheeks when she thought of kissing him. How in the devil would it even work if they did decide to go out, or got into a relationship beyond friendship? They lived in the same house with Holly and Braden underfoot all the time. “I’ve got two kids,” she blurted out.
“I’ve got forty goats.” He grinned.
“Did you say it’s time to go feed the goats?” Braden came across the room and leaned his arms on the back of the sofa.
Point proven, she thought.
“Yep, it is,” Mack answered. “I reckon we both need to get changed so we don’t ruin our good clothes.”
“I’ll be down in five minutes.” Braden ran up the stairs.
Mack crossed the room and bent to brush a sweet kiss across her lips. The tenderness of his mouth barely touching hers and his drawl combined to send a heat flash through her whole body. If that brief contact created such an effect, a relationship might burn down the house.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars
This book was so much more than a love story between Lily and Mack, an old high school friend. It was a beautiful story of the strength of women and family, and the bonds that tie us together as family.
Having a hard time with her teenaged children, Lily packs them up and moves them to her rural hometown. But rather than kick out her tenent, Mack, the four become a motley crew of roommates. That is how the romance blossoms between the old friends, but it’s the family journal that Lily finds that helps her heal her relationship with her daughter. And in a way, heal herself, as she’s forced to face some truths she’d turned a blind eye to.
This story is wonderfully written, with rich characters and a gripping tale of love and family. I received an advanced copy via NetGalley from the publisher and voluntarily left a review.
Carolyn Brown is a RITA finalist and the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of one hundred books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, cowboy and country music romances, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and when . . . and reads the local newspaper every Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Visit Carolyn at www.carolynbrownbooks.com.
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