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I Belong


Review: Long Shot by Hanna Martine

19433121Title: Long Shot

Author: Hanna Martine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Highland Games (Book #1)

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425267512 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425267516 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Shirene

Synopsis:

From Hanna Martine, author of the Elementals novels A Taste of Ice and Liquid Lies, comes the debut of a brand-new series set in a small town where the Highlands come alive…

Jen Haverhurst is on the verge of becoming a partner in New York City’s top event-planning company when her sister calls begging for help. The New Hampshire town of Gleann—where they spent many happy childhood summers—is in danger of losing its main attraction, the Highland Games. Jen reluctantly agrees to take over running the Games, as well as helping with their aunt’s failing B&B. But she didn’t count on Leith MacDougall.

Before Jen left town ten years ago, Leith was a summer friend who grew into something much more. Since then, he’s become a legend of the Highland Games, winning three years in a row. Now retired, he’s just about ready to skip town to chase his own dreams of success.

But when Jen tries to convince Leith to stick around and help revive the Games, their youthful romance is revived into a very grown-up Highland affair…

Quick & Dirty: Story about reunited loves, letting go of the past and moving forward.

Opening Sentence: Jen Haverhurst swerved onto the gravel shoulder of Route 6 and braked the rental car with a jolt.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This book has many layers and stories that are crafted and woven throughout the plot, and yet somehow it manages to maintain a sense of gravity to reality, which made me step away from the book for a few days because it felt that REAL. This is in no way a complaint, but speaks to the skill in which this world has been crafted and these characters having such depth that the last thing I wanted to do after a stressful day at my 9 to 5 was dive right back into reality when I’m reading too.

Our main characters, Jen Havenhurst and Leith MacDougall, spent their summers growing up together and then the last summer they realized they both wanted more to their friendship and a relationship blossomed. Unfortunately, due to many factors and some of which are spoilers, they split and it is now ten years later and Jen has come back to “fix” the Highland Games that are the life’s blood of Gleann. Jenn comes back in part as a favor but also because of the great memories she has of her summers spent in this little New Hampshire town. However for Leith,  he has spent the past 10 years building a business, losing his childhood sweetheart and then his Da dies.

These two characters have grown, changed and evolved into the adult versions of themselves and yet when you have these two in the same room together many of their past youthful indiscretions come back as beautiful memories of who they were and, in fact, who they have become as adults. These stories are part of the joy in this book. I enjoyed reading about the time they “borrowed” furniture and placed it elsewhere in town. Or the time they borrowed Mr. MacDougall’s car.

But as I initially stated, there are multiple levels of depth here and one of the layers is Jen’s relationship with the rest of her family. She has spent little time with her sister and niece and refuses to talk to her own mother in the last ten years. Meanwhile, Jen’s sister Aimee’s relationship with Owen, a local man, brings up all sort of history for Jen that she wants to step in and “fix.”

On Leith’s side, he has refused to allow himself to grieve. You discover early on that he is living in a home that once belonged to one of his clients. And his family home has been locked up since the funeral. The only care that it receives is the maintenance of the lawn, which is nearly exactly what it was like the last time his Da stepped out the door. Plus, Leith refuses to compete in the games where he was once the champion.

But you are probably wondering about the romance between Jen and Leith. The best word to describe it is “steamy!” These two are combustible and dangerous around open flames when in the same room together and you don’t mind getting a little singed around the edges.

I’m thrilled that I stepped into this world of Scottish games and was reminded why trying a new author and series can be the best thing a reader does.

I look forward to Shea and Byrne’s story in The Good Chase, especially since I adore men who play Rugby.

Notable Scene:

Aimee pressed her palms to the countertop.  “Please, Jen.  Let me do this.”

Jen got it.  She’d spent her life taking care of her older, crazier sister, and now Aimee had something to prove.

“Okay,” Jen said, lowering herself into a familiar wood chair around the heavy kitchen table.  She fingered the watermelon-shaped placemats.  “So I, uh, saw that sign out on Route 6.”

Aimee slid a cutting board onto the counter.  One dark eyebrow twitched.  “Which one was that?”

Jen hated the way she felt her neck heat up.  “You know.”

“Ohhhhhh.  That one.”  Aimee craned her neck to peek at the clock.  “Wow, only twenty minutes.”

“For what?”

“For you to mention him.”

Jen supposed it had to have taken coming back here to finally ask Aimee about Leith, considering neither of the sisters had brought up his name in ten years.  “They put up that huge sign?”  Jen asked.  “Just for him?”

Highland Games Series:

1. Long Shot

2. The Good Chase (December 2014)

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Long Shot. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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