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  • Author Lily Everett
  • Release Date February 7, 2017
  • Publisher St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN/ASIN 9781250074058
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by Dorine

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Our Review

CLOSE TO HOME by Lily Everett is an unusual second chance romance that features a marriage of convenience and an unstable husband returning from years of undercover work to find his wife gone. Quite a different spin for romantic suspense.

Johnny is a mental mess when he comes off his latest assignment. He sees danger everywhere and suspects everyone. After finding out his wife ran off to Sanctuary Island to start a new life a year ago, leaving him divorce papers to sign, he follows her to convince her to remain his wife. Will Johnny’s obsessive need to protect push Tessa farther away?

Johnny married Tessa to save her from her past. Tessa wants a divorce, even though she loves Johnny. She feels it’s not enough to love someone who doesn’t love you in the way you need it. Tessa has grown up while Johnny was gone and has made a life for herself that doesn’t include him.

Johnny is one of the most unusual heroes I’ve read. He’s off-putting at first because he’s so paranoid. Tessa’s love for him made me believe he might be right for her, if he can learn to trust and not suffocate her new, hard-earned independence. Their journey is emotional and uplifting as they learn through horse therapy to work as a team.

Johnny seems wacko at times, and then sensible when he stops reacting and listens. His habit of seeing shadows lurking everywhere ramps up the tension, along with possible suspects. This made Johnny one of the most intriguing heroes I’ve read in a contemporary romance novel, because he’s far from normal but his heart is in the right place.

Tessa is fun as she pushes Johnny away. She may have been timid early in their relationship, but she proves her self-reliance. Her personal growth is evident by the end. She doesn’t let Johnny push her into anything she doesn’t want or need. Their relationship is unstable, unusual and intriguing.

There were a couple situations that seemed far-fetched to me, but that’s not unusual in romantic suspense. I’m a hard sell when it comes to mixing romance with danger. That said, this novel was more believable and entertaining than the majority because the characterization was consistent and convincing.

Sweet with a couple sensual scenes, CLOSE TO HOME will satisfy most romance readers’ preferences. Although Johnny and Tessa are attracted to one another, the novel focuses on fixing their broken relationship. Their situation is uncommon, so it’s different from most second chance romances. It’s almost like they’re meeting for the first time, because their time apart has allowed them personal growth outside a marriage that had never truly been traditional.

If you haven’t read the SANCTUARY ISLAND series yet, each book stands on its own but they’re so entertaining that I suggest you start with SANCTUARY ISLAND which is my favorite. Then, continue with SHORELINE DRIVE, HEARTBREAK COVE, and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, which will prepare you for book five, CLOSE TO HOME, and book six, HOME AT LAST.

Author Lily Everett has a knack for combining quirky with normal without it seeming over the top. I always root for her characters and keep coming back for more. This author is reliably good at characterization, so even the most unusual or cranky earn my devotion. Speaking of cranky, wait until you meet Marcus. I’m anxious for Quinn to douse him with what he deserves in HOME AT LAST, available March 7, 2017. Watch for my review coming soon to Romance Junkies.

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