Monday, November 21, 2016

Something Sweeter - Candis Terry (Avon - June 2014)

Series: Sweet, Texas (Book 3)

The men in Texas are hard to resist . . .

Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding -- even if she might not exactly believe in the whole "'til death do us part" thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn't expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her "true love doesn't exist" theory all to hell. 
And they always promise . . .

Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet's favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she's a handful of trouble he can't deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?

Good book. Allison has come to Sweet to check out the woman her father plans to marry. Her parents' marriage hadn't been a good one, and she wants to make sure he isn't making another mistake. On her arrival in town, she spends a little time in the local bar, where she meets a super sexy cowboy. Jesse is the local vet and is at the bar with his brother. He has a reputation as the town playboy. He notices Allison right away, including the heat that flares up between them. 

I loved their first meeting, as Jesse "rescues" his engaged brother from the advances of the beautiful stranger. There's some serious flirting going on between them, and Jesse is ready to take it to the next level when she leaves him high and dry. Both of them get quite a shock the next day when they discover that his mom is engaged to her dad. 

I liked Allison. She is a wedding planner who is quite cynical about love. Her parents' marriage was a bust, mostly due to her mother's selfishness. She has also seen many of the "love matches" she has done the weddings for end up in divorce. She is very wary of the whole Wilder crew when she meets them, finding it hard to believe that they are for real. She is protective of her father and doesn't want to see him hurt. I enjoyed seeing her watch the interactions between all the Wilders. For all of her cynicism about marriage, when Reno and Charli's wedding runs into some snags, she steps in to help. This puts her into further contact with Jesse, who is determined to change her mind about the existence of true love.

Jesse is fantastic. In the previous books, he is the brother with all the good advice. He helps his brothers through their relationship woes, while avoiding the same for himself. In this book we learn that he has a reason for that, which involves a promise made to his oldest brother who was killed in action a short time later. He feels it is his responsibility to make sure that they all have their happy endings before he can allow himself to look for his own. Jared has been a presence in all the books so far, as his place in the family is never forgotten. 

I loved the development of their relationship. It starts out simply, with Jesse determined to change Allison's mind about love. He doesn't have any intention of falling for her himself. It doesn't take him long to see the soft center inside her hard candy shell. It was sweet watching him bring out the softer side of her. At the same time, Allison begins to see that there is much more to Jesse than his public image as a playboy. She senses the conflict that he is going through and encourages him to share it with someone before it eats him up. As they grew closer, the attraction also heated up, until they couldn't resist any longer. Allison slowly begins to realize that not only is true love real, she is developing those feelings for Jesse. He is a bit slower to admit it to himself, and only after being on the receiving end of the same advice he gave his brothers. But it isn't an easy road to his dream of what could be when a crisis sends Allison back to Seattle and her fears come roaring back. I loved seeing how being around the Wilders changed her way of looking at things, and the effect it had on her handling of the crisis. Jesse had his own "aha" moment, thanks to his mom and brother. I loved his big moment at the end.

I loved the close relationship among all the Wilders and how they are there for each other. It was great to see how they absorbed Allison into the group with such ease. It made it very easy for Allison to want to help with the wedding issues. I loved the teasing among the brothers, but also how they had no problem getting serious when it was required. Their reactions when Jesse finally opened up were great. 

I also enjoyed the various characters in the town of Sweet. The two old ladies were quite a trip, especially when they were around Jesse. It was great to see how so many of them got involved when Allison needed help to rescue the wedding from disaster.

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