HOOKED ON YOU
When her grandmother injures herself sliding into third base, Riley McAllister must return to her small hometown to help run the family yarn store in this sweet, lighthearted romantic comedy.
Riley McAllister left the small Arkansas town of Maple Falls after graduating high school, hoping to make it big in New York as a mixed media artist. She's still pursuing her dream when her grandmother begs her to come home and help her manage the store while she recovers from a broken leg she got after sliding into third base during a church softball game (she was safe, by the way.) Riley agrees, planning to convince her grandmother to sell the old shop and retire so Riley can get back to the big city. New York is where she belongs, not some hick town that doesn't even have a decent coffee shop.
Hayden Price's life hasn't turned out as he expected either. He still works in the hardware store his family has owned for several generations after his chance to make it out of Maple Falls ended when he blew out his pitching arm during a minor league game. Stuck with debt from college and a broken engagement, he decides to make the best of things when he comes back to Maple Falls and puts together the town's first church softball team -- with him as coach, of course.
Riley and Hayden went to high school together but ran in totally different circles. In fact, it's safe to say they hated each other. Will that change when the softball team unexpectedly brings them together? Or will the pain and disappointment of their past failures keep them from discovering love in Maple Falls?
I'm always excited to follow an author into a new genre since I dabble in pretty much everything but science fiction so I was thrilled to see Kathleen Fuller with a new contemporary romance series starting up.
Absolutely love the small town setting -- with a twist. This tired old town with stores on the verge of collapse isn't the usual feel-good backdrop...and I love it! The possibilities for future books are endless and the unique challenges reviving Maple Falls presents to this next generation is so relatable. Lots of story fodder here.
Hayden has always known he has Maple Falls in his genes. He's never wanted to live anywhere else so when his baseball career tanks going home is his soft place to land. His solid family background and hometown hero status makes it easy for him to slip back into town life.
Unlike Riley, whose rough upbringing has her hackles permanently up. It's amazing the girl can walk upright with the weight of that chip on her shoulder! I'm going to warn you right now, be ready to extend some grace to this prickly heroine. She's going to need a large dose before she worms her way into your heart...but she'll do that by the end. Guaranteed.
So we have Hayden who has pretty much sailed through life, admittedly with a few bumps along the way, but he's had the blessing of a secure childhood where all his needs were provided for, from temporal to spiritual all wrapped up in love. Those kinds of deep roots keep a person grounded no matter what life throws at them.
Then we have Riley, whose foundation was built on insecurity and neglect which isn't any foundation at all, really. It's left her with a driving need to prove herself. She's forever waiting to be noticed. To be good enough. Worthy. Successful. Only her idea of success is skewed and she's her own worst enemy with her stand offish behavior and grimly guarded heart.
So, yes, this is an emotional story. The romance stems from a bit of unrequited teenage love and a whole lot of wary stops and starts along the way to the very hard won happily-every after. But there are delightfully funny moments as well, often courtesy of Riley's grandmother and her BBs (Bosom Buddies) who aren't above a little matchmaking manipulations.
I love the way the author has set the stage for future books as we are introduced to a host of appealing secondary characters who definitely need their chance to shine in their own stories! And I want to stick around for Maple Fall's revitalization!
I listened to the audible edition of this book narrated by Lauren Berst and really enjoyed her interpretation of these characters as she brought them to life.
This giveaway is for a paperback or ebook copy -- winner's choice
If you would like a chance to win a copy of A Hooked On You, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoread AT yahoo DOT ca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT AND DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday July 3 2021. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!