Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Lavender Lane, by JoAnn Ross

Rating: A, Hot

This book is an excellent addition to the Shelter Bay series. Navy SEAL Lucas Chaffee recently returned to Shelter Bay. His father, world famous architect Duncan Chaffee has unexpectedly passed away. They had planned to work together when Lucas completed his Navy career, restoring old homes on the West Coast. Lucas is at loose ends, wondering what he will do.

Sofia DeLuca owns Lavender Hill Farm, and is having a dinner for all the guests of Duncan’s funeral. Sofia helped raised her granddaughter Madeline, who is a chef with culinary TV shows, and is married to Maxime who owns several famous restaurants. Things aren’t going so well for the two, due to Maxime’s sex video with another woman going viral. Sofia has a plan to make the farm in to a small restaurant, which would involve Maddy’s help. Sofia seizes the moment to ask Lucas to remodel the farm to accommodate the restaurant, and get Maddy back home and in to Lucas’ life. You see, ten years ago the two were madly in love. Lucas hurt Maddy badly, and desperately wants her back in his life. He’s got a lot of explaining to do before that can ever happen. Lucas is a glass half full kind of guy, and figures fate just may have given him a chance at a do-over.

Maddy wants so badly to not have Lucas back in her life, but the man is persistent. I love the second chance at love theme, but this time around it’s especially good since it’s Lucas in hot pursuit, not the other way around. Lucas uses every play in the book, and he knew Maddy well ten years ago, so he knows just how to make her squirm. Although Lucas is not an architect, he has some wonderful ideas for the Farm restaurant. The more he and Maddy conspire, the more time they spend together. She still has strong feelings for Lucas, but her main concern is putting Maxime behind her. Since Maddy has bent to Maxime’s desires for his restaurants, she starts to really get in to what she would like to do, which involves adding a cooking school to her restaurant.

Everyone in Shelter Bay has a hand in the machinations of Maddy and Lucas getting back together. With Lucas willing to pull out all the stops to woo Maddy back, and the sky is the limit! And let me say that Lucas is one creative soul. He doesn’t need anyone’s help planning his big surprise for Maddy! Even Scout, the dog with PTSD, has a role to play. One thing leads to another, and after a frightening incident at Haven House, life and happiness kind of take on a whole new perspective.

This book is hard to put down. You can feel the sea breeze and be pulled in to the incredible community of Shelter Bay. In a way, it’s like going home to good friends, and books don’t get much better than that!


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