Series: Cross Creek #1
Published by Montlake Romance on February 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon
Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.
Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.
But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?
Kimberly Kincaid’s new series is quite a charming, heartfelt one and definitely one of the more engaging small-town stories that I’ve read for some time.
Hunter Cross—farmer extraordinaire—captured my imagination from the start and as foreign as this farming thing is to me, he’s vividly drawn enough that his bond to the farm and family cannot be disputed even as he struggles with an own injury and problems that threaten to weigh him down. An old flame returns though, for reasons that she will not disclose, but as things go, attraction and a shared history might trump that even.
There are many things to like about this book, undoubtedly: the assured writing, the small town feel that Kincaid creates so superbly and the great pacing and development of the relationship that’s supposed to be the HEA this time around. But What I found hard to accept though, was Emerson’s pushing away of the man she walked away from—under the erroneous but ultimately patronising claim that was pretty much ‘I did it for your own good’—12 years ago and her present-day lashing out at him because of her fear of her illness becoming public.
And yet that it was Hunter who has to grovel in the end to fight for their relationship. Far be it from me to dictate how a character deals with the traumatic news of a debilitating illness but I thought Emerson had mostly treated Hunter atrociously from the beginning. Illness or not (which incidentally, doesn’t provide a legitimate excuse for behaving badly), I found it hard to like her as a bona fide heroine because of this.
Kincaid does portray all too well how much less brave (and perhaps irrational) an illness can make a person, but I’d hoped for a less clichéd sort of conflict however, but it seemed as though it was always Hunter who had to make active inroads for the both of them which I hadn’t liked, each time Emerson retreated behind her growing fears.
This is a good start nonetheless; I liked the familial conflict laid out in the Cross family and the brothers’ stories that already lie in wait.