Zach Shannon is back in town, and tiny Hawthorne, Texas will never be the same. When the local military hero comes home and starts working for his father, the sheriff, one of his first cases is a string of minor fires that everyone seems to blame on a handful of teens from the wrong side of town. Even worse, Zach is rapidly falling for Laney Burroughs, a quiet librarian whose Goth nephew is the suspected ringleader. Their attraction deepens, but both have too many responsibilities and too much baggage to make it easy, especially with Zach’s wealthy family, Laney’s nephew, and the entire town looking on.
What a damn fine read once again from Ms Spencer Pape. I love her books, I really do, and this time I was treated to some sheriff loving! The growing love and sexual tension between Zach and Laney is very well done, and I rooted for them right from the beginning. It was easy to like the pair of them. They each have things from the past they need to overcome, Zach with his guilt about his sister (no spoiler here), which is painful to watch through his nightmares and inner thoughts, and Laney, with her sister's behaviour casting her in the same mould according to the townsfolk, even though Laney is nothing like her sibling.
There is also the issue of bullying in several forms and on differing levels, which I thought was handled well. Just because someone's different, doesn't mean they deserve to be treated badly, and knowing who the bullies were, along with their girlfriends who behaved in just the way some young girls do, got my anger up. It happens, will always happen, but I wish it wouldn't!
There are so many points in this book that I enjoyed: the single-parent factor; Zach not minding Laney had a teenage child in her care; the message that Goth doesn't mean trouble; the small-town mentality crashing down so people had to revise their way of thinking; the levels of harassment--not that I enjoyed the harassment, more that I appreciated the growing levels of it and how it mirrored real life exactly.
In her mid-sixties, Mamie Maguire was an impressive figure, slicing through the crowd like the prow of a ship. (Fantastic image!)
...and she was wearing Old Spice deodorant. (LOL)
An impressive read, one I didn't want to put down. It depicts small-town mentality really well, reminding me a little of where I live! I spotted several people I could know and supposed that every small town has similar characters in it. Highly recommended!