Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.
Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.
Let me admit that in spite of Nicole Deese’s prolific writing, this is the first novel of hers that I have read (I did read a novella that was part of a collection). I was hesitant at first, but I ended up really loving it. My thoughts:
What I liked:
Romeo and Juliet. You’ve got a classic case of two feuding families and somehow two of its younger members manage to meet and instantly like each other. Stress on the word like. There were no fast declaration of love (yeah). Though they are somewhat taken with each other, you really get to see a friendship form first, and then the feelings. It was very nicely done!
Fully fleshed characters. It’s easy in a kind of Romeo/Juliet setting to have minor characters on the wayside who are only their to further the plot. Here, I felt like a lot of the characters were more than caricatures. The ‘evil’ people definitely had their moments, but the author did such a nice job of fleshing out their character that you could understand them. They were very real on the pages.
Secrets and family drama. I totally figured out the secret from the get-go, but it didn’t make my enjoy the story any less to watch it all unfold.
Spiritually, both the main characters are already Christian, but there’s a beautiful theme of love and forgiveness interwoven throughout.
What I didn’t like:
If there was something that I didn’t like, it was that I thought it took Rayne took long to stand up for Levi. Levi was busy doing things for her left and right and she was still hesitant. But once she gets her act together, it was worth it.
Romantic Scale: 8.7
Overall, so good. I have hopes for a second couple being at the center of book two. Now I must go and download more Nicole Deese books!