Author: Laurie Breton
Series: Jackson Falls #4
Release Date: December 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More Info: Goodreads
What if the thing you've spent your life running from turns out to be the one thing you really need?
Whenever Colleen Bradley Lindstrom Davis Berkowitz had imagined her homecoming—which hadn't been often—she’d imagined sweeping into town on a wave of triumph. Never had she pictured herself limping in with empty dreams and emptier pockets, behind the wheel of a car that should have long since met its destiny in the crusher. Forced to depend on the goodwill of the sister who's a virtual stranger to her, Colleen has just two goals: to avoid all family entanglements, and to escape from Jackson Falls the minute she has enough money socked away.
But life is what happens while we're making other plans. Her sister is determined to rebuild their precarious relationship. Devastatingly attractive single dad Harley Atkins and his twelve-year-old daughter, Annabel, start worming their way into her heart. And when a surprise visitor shows up at her door, the stakes are raised, forcing Colleen to reevaluate all those bridges she burned years ago.
A few months ago, I randomly stumbled upon this gem. Don’t you just love when that happens? I was flabbergasted that I wasn’t seeing this author everywhere. How is it possible that those around me aren’t shouting from the rooftops about Jackson Falls?! Well, here is your chance to jump on the bandwagon.
I don’t say this too often or toss the words around lightly, but Jackson Falls is truly my favorite series EVER! These books encompass many decades, and we grow right alongside the characters. They appeal to such a broad range of people because that is how well Laurie Breton writes. You feel every emotion, and trust me when I say there are many, and you will leave these books a changed person. I love that although each book is not about the same main characters, they are all interwoven together seamlessly. I couldn’t even pick a favorite book in the series if I tried, because they are ALL special to me for very different reasons. Each book will forever hold a special place in my heart! So without further ado, I give you Jackson Falls :
Book One: Coming Home
One man became her husband.
He had the face of an angel, and a voice that could tear your heart to shreds and leave it bleeding.
The year is 1974, and songwriter Casey Bradley is just eighteen years old when handsome, charismatic singer Danny Fiore crashes into her life and her heart. The first time she hears Danny sing, Casey is ready to toss away her entire future for a man who’s almost certain to break her heart. Danny has a white-hot talent and a single, blinding ambition: to become a rock star. The songs that Casey writes send an icy blue finger down the center of his cynical spine. But Danny knows exactly where he’s going, and he has no intention of taking any woman along. A girl like Casey would want things he’s not prepared to give. A home. Stability. Children. He’s married to his music, and that’s the way he likes it. Neither of them plans on falling in love. But sometimes, the heart has a mind of its own.
The other man became her best friend.
Guitar wizard Rob MacKenzie doesn’t have Danny’s looks, or his charisma, or his sense of style. Tall and gaunt and bony, Rob isn’t a god, just an ordinary mortal, an easygoing guy who wants nothing more than to write his songs, play his guitar, and find the right woman. But life is never quite as simple as it seems, and his search for Ms. Right keeps leading him down all the wrong roads.
Together, they became the holy trinity of rock and roll.
When Rob MacKenzie and Casey Bradley Fiore begin writing songs together, the result is an unstoppable hit-making machine that catapults Danny Fiore to stardom. But the road to success is littered with land mines, and life with Danny isn’t all that Casey expected. Rivers of darkness flow through her troubled marriage, and every time Danny breaks her heart, it’s her best friend Rob who picks her up, dusts her off, and glues the pieces back together.
When tragedy struck, she had to find herself.
It isn’t until she suffers an unimaginable loss that Casey begins to question who she is and what she really wants from life. As she searches for herself amid the wreckage, she discovers the bittersweet truth that the choices a woman makes at thirty may differ vastly from those she made at eighteen.
Book Two: Sleeping With the Enemy
They met at her brother’s wedding, and the handsome stranger swept her off her feet.
The initial attraction was easy. The trust? That was a little harder.
Hard experience has taught Rose MacKenzie Kenneally that men can’t be trusted. But when gorgeous high school English teacher Jesse Lindstrom sweeps her off her feet at her brother’s wedding, Rose temporarily forgets that she’s given up on men forever. Eight weeks later, the unthinkable happens when this thirty-six-year-old divorced mother of two teenagers realizes she’s pregnant by a man she barely knows.
When Jesse proposes marriage, Rose digs in her heels. She cherishes her hard-won freedom, and no man, no matter how infuriatingly sexy or nice, is going to take that away from her. But her teenagers are running wild in the city. Her ex, Eddie the snake, is too busy with his new trophy wife to be bothered with something as trivial as fatherhood. Luke and Devon need the stabilizing influence of a man like Jesse Lindstrom. So she accepts Jesse’s proposal with a few conditions of her own.
Jesse wants a real marriage, but Rose is determined to resist his charm. The harder she resists, the harder he pushes, and indifference becomes increasingly difficult. But Rose carries a dark secret, one she’s kept hidden for twenty years, a secret that could destroy their shaky marriage. When Jesse faces a serious accusation, Rose is forced to confront her demons head-on. Is Jesse Lindstrom the one man she can trust? Or will she discover that she’s sleeping with the enemy?
Book Three: Days Like This
A relationship in transition.
A husband with old insecurities.
A wife with new uncertainties.
A teenage daughter who crashes into their lives with no warning.
The love story that began in Coming Home continues!
For two decades, their friendship survived the roller coaster ride to fame and the tumult of her first marriage to his best friend. Now that they’ve finally found their way home to each other, songwriters Casey Fiore and Rob MacKenzie are about to face another challenge, one that neither of them could have anticipated: Rob’s teenage daughter, Paige.
Still haunted by the ghost of Casey’s first husband, charismatic rock icon Danny Fiore, they’ve been tiptoeing around the elephant in the living room. While Rob struggles with long-held insecurities, Casey is gradually blossoming into the woman she was always meant to be. But with change comes uncertainty, and even as she finds herself overwhelmed by the ferocity of her feelings for her new husband, Casey wrestles with divided loyalties and the unexpected changes this marriage has wrought in her.
When the fifteen-year-old daughter Rob never knew comes to live with them, the quiet life they’ve carved out for themselves in Casey’s rural Maine hometown is turned upside down. Paige MacKenzie is prickly as a porcupine, hurt and angry and resentful toward the father she’s convinced deliberately deserted her.
As Casey and Rob face the challenges of parenting a rebellious teenager while trying to become a family, they unravel secrets and discover truths about themselves and their relationship, truths that, if not dealt with, could threaten the future of their marriage.
Book Three.Five: The Next Little Thing
Sometimes, love is complicated.
Sometimes, love just is.
Casey Fiore and Rob MacKenzie are back! New baby, new house, new life. In this novella-length follow-up to DAYS LIKE THIS, Casey and Rob find that marriage continues to pose its challenges. Casey has finally achieved the happiness she sought for years. But for Rob, adjusting to these major life changes is more difficult, leading to tensions and misunderstandings that the couple must work through in order to grow and thrive as a family.
Book Four: Redemption Road (Coming late December 2013)
Jackson Falls, Maine
She hadn’t been sure the fourteen-year-old Vega would make it this far. She’d bought it for a measly two hundred bucks the day that Irv’s kids ran her on a rail out of Palm Beach. They’d sat her down one afternoon, announced that they were contesting the will, and given her fifteen minutes to pack up what was hers before the locksmith waiting in his panel truck in the circular drive outside the mansion changed the lock on the front door.
It wasn’t what Irv would have wanted, but she was too weary, too discouraged, to fight it. They’d eventually win, anyway. She and Irv had only been married for a year. In the eyes of his kids, that was hardly long enough to justify her stealing their inheritance, and she was certain that the right attorney could easily sway the judge to their way of thinking. It didn’t matter to them that she’d actually cared for their father, despite the twenty-five-year age difference. As far as they were concerned, she was a gold-digger, and that was all that mattered.
So she’d left with nothing more than two suitcases of designer clothing, a few pieces of jewelry, and seventy-five bucks in her Chanel handbag. She’d sold the bag and most of the jewelry to a small secondhand shop for a price so low it was insulting, but it was enough to cover the cost of the car and the trip to Maine.
She’d thought about stopping in Boston. Trav lived there, on a dead-end street in Chestnut Hill, and he would have let her sleep on the couch in his finished basement. But she and her brother’s wife had never seen eye to eye, and what was the point of stirring up trouble between them? So she’d given Boston a wide berth, circling around it on 495, praying she and her little Vega, which pretty much topped out at 61 mph, would survive all those crazy Boston drivers swerving around her doing ninety.
And here she was, back in this shithole town, the one place she’d sworn she’d never return to. But she was out of money and excuses, and home was the one place where, when you had to go there, they had to take you in. On this fifty-degree January afternoon, driving through downtown in a fourteen-year-old Chevy with a mud-splattered windshield because she’d run out of washer fluid two hundred miles back, she could smell the faint sulphur odor from the paper mill downriver. There was no denying the fact that she was one hell of a long way from the moneyed fragrance of Palm Beach.
The Vega was running on fumes, and she was down to her last twenty-dollar-bill. Colleen downshifted and wheeled into the Big Apple convenience store, where she pumped five bucks worth of fuel into her gas tank and cleaned her windshield with a fistful of snow. She’d gone to high school with the guy working the cash register. Sonny Somebody-or-other. She kept her sunglasses on and her eyes lowered as they completed their transaction, hoping he wouldn’t recognize her and want to chat. Small talk had never been her strongest suit, and what was there to talk about anyway?
Him: What have you been up to since the last time I saw you?
Her: Oh, nothing much, except that I just buried my sixty-year-old husband.
Meadowbrook Road was a quagmire. It always was at this time of year. The town maintained the unpaved road, or so they claimed, but between January thaw and mid-April, it mostly consisted of deep, muddy ruts and frost heaves. Easily navigable in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Not so much in a Chevy Vega with summer tires that had spent its entire pathetic life in southern Florida and was skittish as a newborn colt on these snowy Maine roads.
John Anderson was singing Straight Tequila Night on the dashboard radio when she passed the old Abercrombie place, perched atop a small hill. She’d heard, through the grapevine, that her sister had lived in the Gothic Revival farmhouse for a time before selling it to their nephew Billy when Casey and her second husband had built a new home on Ridge Road. Colleen had never met her sister’s new husband, although he’d been a huge part of Casey’s life for nearly two decades, and she was mildly curious. The late, great Danny Fiore would be a hard act to follow. The irony of it struck her: She’d always been jealous of her older sister, had always coveted whatever Casey had that she didn’t. It was really true that you had to be careful what you wished for. She and Casey had never had much in common. She’d certainly never expected that when they finally did share something, it would be the mantle of widowhood.
She took McKellar’s Hill at a snail’s pace, let out a sigh of relief when she reached the bottom and saw the river ahead of her, its frozen surface dark in spots, slushy from the thaw. Another quarter-mile, and then, on her right, a broad expanse of snowy fields with broken, yellowed corn stalks poking up here and there through the pitted snow. Beyond that, wooden fence posts marked the pasture where Dad’s Holsteins grazed. In the distance loomed the weathered nineteenth-century barn where hay was stored, flanked by the low-roofed addition, circa 1952, that housed the milking parlor and the cattle stalls. Two blue Harvestore silos stood sentinel, and as she drew closer, the old farmhouse hove into view, smoke rising from its chimney, its clapboards in need of a fresh coat of paint.
She passed the mailbox, clicked her blinker, and turned in at the sign that read MEADOWBROOK FARM – REGISTERED HOLSTEINS. A cluster of chickens scattered as she came to a stop beside the ominously tilted utility pole at the center of the yard, directly behind the red Farmall tractor her father had owned since the beginning of time. For a moment, she just sat there gazing across a muddy, slushy barnyard, the steering wheel vibrating beneath her hands and dread filling every crevice of her heart. Dad didn’t know she was coming. She hadn’t been able to muster the courage to call for fear that he’d hang up on her. Or worse, tell her not to bother. She hadn’t been the favored child to begin with; she could only imagine how far she’d fallen from grace since the day she left Jesse and her nine-year-old son.
But if there was one thing she’d learned in the past decade, it was that running only got you so far. Sooner or later, everybody had to face the music. So she shut off her ignition. The Vega sputtered and died. She opened her door, swung around, and planted her Ferragamos flat on the muddy ground.
And for the first time in six years, Colleen Bradley Lindstrom Davis Berkowitz stood on Maine soil. She took a hard, deep breath, one that drew in the scent of mud season overlaid with the sharp tang of wood smoke and the faint aroma of cow manure. Then she shut the door and marched resolutely toward the house.
The black sheep of the Bradley clan had returned to the fold.