Kayla Chambers knows what love is—and what it isn’t. When her boyfriend turns abusive, she and her son escape to a new life in a place where he’ll never find them. The idyllic town of Paradise, Idaho, has everything she needs to get back on her feet. Survival is her only goal, and the last thing she wants is another man in her life.
But Kayla’s new neighbor, high school principal Luke Jackson, is determined to change her mind. Luke usually takes the fast lane with women, but he can see that Kayla and her son need help, and he wants to earn her trust—even if that means taking things slow. He strikes up a friendship that soon simmers into something passionate and real. But when Kayla’s past catches up with her, Luke knows he has to find a way to keep her safe…or risk losing her forever.
* * * * *
Kayla had fond memories of Paradise Idaho from a summer that she had spent there as a child. When she needed a safe place to hide for herself and her son, Paradise immediately came to mind. It’s a good place where she won’t have to worry about being abused for not living up to someone’s unreasonable standards. It’s a safe place where her son can ride bikes and make friends without having to worry about not being big enough to protect his mother. And if Kayla happens to run into her childhood hero, so much the better.
I was really impressed by HOLD ME CLOSE and how the author Ms. James is willing to delve into subjects such as abuse. As a woman that has experienced abuse, I was really impressed by how spot on Kayla’s reactions are to certain triggers. And her insistence that she has to survive on her own before she begins to trust again brings back memories. Either Ms. James did a lot of research into the subject or she is an abuse survivor herself.
Luke is just the man to bring Kayla back out of her shell by being patient and so careful about her triggers. And it wasn’t just about Kayla. Luke came to care deeply for her son and accepted that they were a package deal but only when Kayla was ready. His courtship was so sweet that at times I found myself sighing in delight.
I do recommend HOLD ME CLOSE to any of my readers who enjoy a good love story, one that will have you believing in ‘happy ever afters’. There are a couple sex scenes that were fairly vivid that really add to the plot and show how much Kayla has grown back her confidence. Still they might not be appropriate for a younger audience.
*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed within are my own.