Serving Trouble by Sara Jane Stone

Serving Trouble by Sara Jane StoneServing Trouble by Sara Jane Stone
Series: Second Shot, #1
Published by Avon Impulse on April 12th 2016
Pages: 304
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Five years ago, Josie Fairmore left timber country in search of a bright future. Now she's back home with a mountain of debt and reeling from a loss that haunts her. Desperate for a job, she turns to the one man she wishes she could avoid. The man who rocked her world one wild night and then walked right out of it.
Former Marine Noah Tager is managing his dad's bar and holding tight to the feeling that his time overseas led to failure. The members of his small town think he's a war hero, but after everything he's witnessed, Noah doesn't want a pat on the back. The only thing he desires is a second chance with his best friend's little sister.
Josie's determined to hold onto her heart and not repeat her mistakes, but when danger arrives on Noah's doorstep and takes aim at Josie, they just might discover that sometimes love is worth the risk.

‘Serving Trouble’ seems to find a way around the second chance romance + the best friend’s forbidden sister trope by adding a lot of occurrences, issues and side-plots to mess up the main characters’ road to happy ever after, to the point where I found the plot a trip on a merry-go-round to nowhere.

There’s the constant thread of withholding emotions and holding back for the fear of getting hurt and/or not being worthy enough to offer anything when it came to what really mattered; the emotional game that Josie and Noah played with each other – even unwittingly so – got tiresome quickly because neither side dared to make a commitment at all or talked it out in a mature fashion in a way I’d expected. Instead, the words ‘jerk’ and ‘hero’ had been used so often that it left me wondering about the amount of dignity and self-respect I’d like to see in a story’s protagonists. Mired in their own set of problems, Josie and Noah do battle realistic issues in a small town, yet there was never a sense of this pairing belonging solidly to each other at all. I wished I could say I found the start to this spin-off series a compelling one, but this just didn’t do it for me.