Sunday, December 8, 2019

Review of Healed: Stone and Pepper (Cliffside Bay) by Tess Thompson

It's Cliffside Bay and beyond in this heartwarming enemies-to-lovers romantic adventure from USA Today bestselling author Tess Thompson.

Stone Hickman is the last of a dying breed. The former Marine believes in integrity, service to his country, a hard day's work, and taking care of his loved ones. When he meets the clever Pepper Griffin, their obvious attraction has him ready to count the stunning beauty among the people that he cares for. But Pepper doesn't share the instant connection. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. And for honest, straightforward Stone, not knowing why only makes the rejection worse.

Pepper Griffin is the epitome of scrappy. For years she's struggled to make acting her career without any help at all from her famous father. While she's still accepting meager roles with little screen time, her best friend has steadily risen to the height of fame. To make matters worse, that very same friend is happily in love, newly engaged, and wants poor Pepper, whose love life is as sad and pathetic as her last film role, to serve as her maid-of-honor while Pepper's enemy, Stone Hickman, is sure to be the groom's best man.

Though Pepper despises the best man, she loves the bride-to-be more. To keep the peace, Pepper willingly includes Stone in the wedding planning process. When the unlikely pair find themselves stranded in a snowstorm while searching for the perfect venue, they'll have to work together to survive the chill even if that means thawing Pepper's heart.

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**My thoughts**
First, this is my favorite cover in the whole series.

And now the story ... 

Stone has been in love with Pepper since he first laid eyes on her. But she doesn't feel the same.

Wrong. She does, but she just has trouble admitting it, thanks to trauma in her past. And now Stone is dealing with the return of his estranged mother and revelations about his and his siblings' past that change everything.

Luckily, Stone and Pepper volunteer to go scope out a venue for Rafael and Lisa's upcoming wedding, when they literally are snowed in together. That kind of situation always lends itself to romantic revelations. I may not like being cold in the snow, but some of the most romantic moments in my life have happened in it. It also helps to soften rough exteriors, which both of these two people need to move on in their lives and to heal.

This is a great couple. Their banter is fantastic and the kind of loving sarcasm some of us aspire to achieve in our own relationships. I read this one curled up in front of a fireplace, which was a perfect location.

This one, as all of the regular-length novels in the Cliffside Bay series, definitely works as a standalone. You'll want to read it before the novella Christmas Wedding.

Thank you to the author and publisher for an advanced review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more Tess Thompson books here.

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