There was quite a bit of depth to this age gap romance that I wasn't exactly expecting. I enjoyed the cast of characters but was more drawn to the side characters than the MC's. They were dynamic in a way that the synopsis promised but didn't completely deliver. Overall, though, the book was good, it progressed fluidly, the characters grew individually and together, there was passion and forgiveness as well as compassion, and an HEA that was slightly glossed over but effective nonetheless.
Chris was young, immature, and crazy about Joy. His young man's head and heart couldn't grasp what was growing and acted in a way that embarrassed her, himself, and left him with the egg on his face. Later, though, he could see what he was feeling and can understand where Joy was coming from. His barbs hit the mark for her, though, he just didn't know it. When the opportunity presented itself to help a dying friend and mentor he took the chance and was only a bit apprehensive about the possibility of seeing Joy again. Meeting in Victor's home was a surprise as well as all kinds of awkward. But with a mental shake he gets to business and avoids thinking about how well Joy matured and grew into her sensuality, features, and focus. She could destroy his adult heart if he let her, but it's a good thing he's immune...right?
Joy is thrown for a loop. Knowing Chris could be involved with her professionally and now together at the behest of Simon and Victor, she does everything she can think of to avoid emotional complications with one very hot, very grown up Chris McPherson. Getting to know him as a man is a bit of a revelation and try as they might, they can't fight what is between them.
They both have a past to overcome in order to find their HEA together and it'll take a lot of humility, groveling, and letting go of preconceived notions, fears, and regrets. There are very different circumstances that they have to move beyond but each of them have something that can help the other to do just that, if only they're open to a true partnership where all their cards are on the table. With a particular event in Joy's college history I was expecting something more with that than just a flashback that gives us background to her being so uptight. But that's all we get. Insight. That can be helpful, but it doesn't really do anything to help us see if she's willing to move beyond that and accept reality for what it is and how that shaping moment is actually a stumbling block now because she took her reaction to it a bit too far. Then there's Chris' acceptance of his own issue with his past and his success. Self-sabotage isn't pretty, especially when it negatively affects those he cares about, not just himself.
Eventually they find their way to light and love and the ending is sweet and full of hope for the future. The MC's work well together once they straighten everything out and get on the same page. There's passion, compassion, forgiveness, support, and love. Ultimately, their impulsiveness led to lasting happiness. I'm very interested in the next story, though, featuring the most compelling of the side characters, Luke and Krystal.
Remember that run-in with Richard at the coffee shop? Or seeing him with a pretty blonde in the park?
Well, find out his side of the story in Desire by Design, the first book in the Silverweed Falls series.
Celia Jackson, widowed mother of three, is re-designing her life. Literally.
With only her talent for art to fall back on, Celia is determined to recreate herself as a graphic designer. To make ends meet while she takes design classes, she accepts a job as nanny to the daughter of Richard Hawkes, professor of engineering at the local university. Richard is infuriating, arrogant and tactless by turns—yet Celia finds herself undeniably attracted to him.
Richard Hawkes, recently tenured and more recently divorced, lives only for his work and for his young daughter. His ex-wife made his life a nightmare before leaving him for another man, and he has sworn off romance forever—until his spunky, down-to-earth nanny paints a picture of a different kind of love.
But Celia won’t wait forever. Richard will have to put aside his pride and come to terms with his past if he wants to build a better future.