Samantha Wharton had escaped New York City to settle in Suttontowne and run Imogene’s, a quaint and historical eatery, struggling with a devastating painful past. She thought her heart had died along with her family, but when she meets Chase Sutton, the fallen son of the town’s founder, she cannot seem to hang onto her bruised and battered heart. Chase Sutton was tired of being told what to do and whom to know. After the discovery of a devastating family secret, he left his life completely behind and opened up a bait and tackle shop supplying seafood to the local merchants. The simple life suits him fine. It isn’t until falls into Samantha’s sad eyes that he realizes what he’s lost. But how can he offer Samantha a future when he hasn’t dealt with his own past?
When I started this read my first thought was, “FINALLY! We finally get Chase’s story.” As a devoted fan of this series, I have waited patiently (most of the time) to find out what Chase Sutton’s story really is and finally, the wait is over.
It seems like Chase Sutton has always been a looming presence in the Hope Parish series but he’s rarely ever been a huge part of any of the reads. All we really know for certain is that Chase wasn’t willing to follow his daddy’s mandates any longer and chose to leave the safety and security of his home for a life of his own choosing in the bayou. Since he left home, Chase has kept to himself but managed to build a successful and thriving business. Though he has rarely ever been truly lonely, he has started consider the emotion since the moment he saw Samantha Wharton.
Though not a local, Samantha Wharton has been heartily and warmly welcomed to Suttontowne. Since her arrival, Samantha has single-handedly restored and revived a favored local eatery, Imogene’s and her cooking is something even the most uppity rave about. Though she’s friendly at work and certainly enjoys her job and her customers, there is a sadness about Samantha that only Chase seems capable of seeing. He doesn’t know her story, but for the first time in a very long time, Chase wants to get close to someone. Knowing he can’t do that with a restaurant full of people, Chase arranges his delivery schedule so Imogene’s is the last of the day.
The time Samantha and Chase get to spend together quickly becomes a favorite part of each’s day. Each finds the other easy to talk to, comforting to be around, and exceedingly attractive. For Samantha, opening up to another person after being alone for so long is scary, but Chase make her feel safe and protected so when strange things start happening late at night at the restaurant, she turns to Chase. The strange things are just that, strange happenings and if Samantha didn’t have Chase, she would begin to wonder about her sanity. To further complicate matters, Samantha’s past seems to be coming back to haunt her and if that is the case, it’s not just Samantha’s life that is at stake. With any luck, some of the skills Samantha developed during her old life will come back to her if and when the need arises.
Chase’s relationship with Samantha is about the only truly good thing in his life. Though he has removed himself from the drama of his family, Suttontowne is small and it is hard to avoid everyone all the time. Furthermore, there are those nosy Outlaw triplets who seem to think now might be as good a time as any to make amends with his family. Though Chase would rather have a root canal without anesthesia, even he acknowledges it may be time for a reconciliation especially after he hears Samantha’s story. Life is short, as Samantha so tragically learned and harboring old hates and holding grudges could very easily become regrets.
The Bottom Line: What a wonderful story for a character I have been waiting patiently (most of the time) for. That cover tells the story of Chase’s sexy side but there’s all those other sides that get revealed through this read. Chase had very real reasons for leaving his family behind and it isn’t until he meets Samantha that he realizes precisely what he gave up. Make no mistake, there are issues that have to be worked out but with Samantha by his side, anything seems possible. As for Samantha, she is a truly interesting character and with the totally fun spins Dawson throws into her storyline, well, let’s just say Samantha is all kinds of awesome. I also need to touch on the totally fun spins Dawson drops I this read. For the first time, Dawson really delves into some of the supernatural history of the location and that makes for a really excellent twist. In all, Dawson is still bringing a loads of fresh and awesome to the table even at ten books into the series.
Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.