Crystal Whalen isn’t sure why she should go on. Two years after her husband’s death on a ski trip, she’s devastated when a fire destroys her quiet Colorado mountain home. And when she can’t keep her hands off the gorgeous divorcé who’s become her new temporary housemate, it only feeds her grief and growing guilt.
Garth Welte won’t be burned again. After his ex-wife took most of his money, the downhill-skiing Olympic medalist is determined to keep things casual with the sexy woman he can’t resist. But the more time they spend with each other, the harder it is to deny his burgeoning feelings.
As Crystal’s longing for the rugged man’s embrace grows, she worries that his dangerous lifestyle will steal him away. And although Garth believes she’s his perfect girl, the specter of betrayal keeps a tight grip on his heart.
Will the thrill-seeker and the wary woman succumb to the power of love?
The Patron of Emerson Pass is the emotional second book in the Emerson Pass Contemporaries small-town romance series. If you like lyrical prose, unexpected chances at happiness, and uplifting stories, then you’ll adore Tess Thompson’s sweet tale.
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**My thoughts**This is the story of Crystal and Garth. We’ve met them before in The Sugar Queen. You will want to go back to read that one if you want more details of the tragedy that brought them together. But it isn’t completely necessary to do so to enjoy this second installment in the contemporary branch of the Emerson Pass series.
I have to start off by acknowledging how Tess really has a way with words. She can poetically sum up life’s truths in such a way that you want to copy the phrases and hang them on your wall. We get this right off the bat in the prologue narrated by Crystal.
Both Crystal and Garth had come to Emerson Pass to escape the pain of the pasts. Crystal had lost her grandparents and her husband in accidents, plus lost her baby. Garth is recovering from a failed marriage. The tragedy of the fire that had destroyed their neighboring houses brought them together. But Crystal cannot convince herself to let go and give in to the relationship. And then fate steps in to shake things up on so many levels.
I admit that I didn’t have my usual warm fuzzies from Crystal and Garth as I usually do in Tess’s stories. But there are some other relationships going on, also related to past trauma, that made up for it in spades. I can’t really specify any more without spoilers. But I did shed a tear or two a few times throughout.
As with Sugar Queen, I enjoyed the nods to the historical branch of the series. I’m not usually a big fan of historical romance, but those hold a special place in my heart. Keep your eye out for references to a couple of Tess’s other series as well.
A fun addition to this book is an extensive collection of family recipes that were sent in by readers. I’m looking forward to trying some out.
Thank you to the author for a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.