I waited a long time for Just a Kiss ... at least it feels that way! I fell for Paige and Riley in Denise Hunter's Falling Like Snowflakes, and I couldn't wait to read their story ... but I did have to wait, as Riley's brother Zac's story came first! Turns out, the wait was totally worth it.
Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.
But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.
Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?
Just a Kiss is a wonderful conclusion to Denise Hunter's Summer Harbor series about the Callahan brothers. Not only is it a sweet romance (with some great kisses), but it also deals with serious issues like PTSD and parental abandonment in a compelling way.
I was a little afraid that Just a Kiss wouldn't live up to my admittedly high expectations. Happily, I found I didn't have anything to worry about—Just a Kiss was just as romantic and engaging as I'd hoped! Also, the Callahan brothers' Aunt Trudy finally gets her story told, and the result was better than I'd imagined.
I really can't say enough good things about Denise Hunter's books, and Just a Kiss fits in perfectly with her brand. I'd say it's best read after Falling Like Snowflakes and The Goodbye Bride in order to get the full scope of Paige and Riley's relationship, but it would work as a stand alone novel, too. 5 stars.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Hunter's Summer Harbor books Falling like Snowflakes (5 stars) and The Goodbye Bride (5 stars) and the Chapel Springs books: Barefoot Summer (5 stars), A December Bride (4.5 stars), Dancing with Fireflies (5 stars), The Wishing Season (5 stars), and Married 'til Monday (4.5 stars).
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 20 books, including Dancing with Fireflies and The Convenient Groom. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are raising three boys. You can learn more about Denise through her website DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at facebook.com/authordenisehunter.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself and chose to review it. I also received a copy of this book free from the publisher through The Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."