Series & Title: Red River, Book 4: The Rebel's Return
Author: Victoria James
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Release Date: August 22, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: Entangled Publishing via NetGalley
Reviewed For: IndieSage PR
Natalia Puccini has spent her entire life playing by her overbearing but well-intentioned Italian family's rules...except the one time she took a chance on a bad boy and fell hard. She's worked to get her life back on track so when Aiden McCann comes sauntering back into town with his heart-stopping smile, Natalia vows not to fall for him again. There's no way she'll let him mess with her perfectly planned life...and there's no way she'll let him near her heart again...
Now reformed and a self-made success, Aiden is tormented by regrets and secrets. He left Red River years ago filled with anger and resentment and a promise to never come back. But when his ill father needs help, Aiden knows it's time to face the mess he left behind, and face the one woman he never got over. It doesn't matter how beautiful or intriguing she is, though, because he'll never be able to give her what she needs. As soon as his father is healthy, Aiden is leaving Red River...for good.
I like stories when a character realizes it's time. It's just time, you know? Time to break free. Time to venture out on his/her own. Time to do for his-/herself. It's time.
Yet there is so much that keeps them from jumping in with both feet. Maybe it's because they did it once and nothing came of it. Maybe it's fear of trying for the first time. Maybe it's people talking, discouraging them from their "wayward" thoughts. No one ever said going against convention was easy. Nothing proves that point more than a person who wants so badly to break free from whatever convention has their hands and feet tied together.
Natalia took a chance once upon a long time ago on a man she loved more than anything. But Aiden's betrayal left her shattered then and now. The aftermath of his actions and subsequent abandonment took the self-esteem she had and obliterated it, leaving a young woman to grow up feeling less than worthy of any man's attention.
His return is not beneficial to her. At. All. The hurt she carried was magnified a hundred times and made my heart hurt that she was faced with this...thing that she didn't want to face. But such is life, right? At some point, one realizes the past they thought buried and forgotten is anything but and dealing with it head-on is better than to not to.
Not that Aiden was helpful. There were a lot of "WTF?!" moments for me in this story. I thought he'd just spit it out at some point but he seemed content to, you know, flit around the subject like a damn butterfly. Drove me up the wall. I think because I'm a straightforward person his behavior was so annoying. But, again, such is life. Coming clean is just as hard as facing one's past. Both require a good amount of courage and a little pep talk. Oh and a leap of faith because it could end well or really, really bad.
Years ago, it wasn't time for Natalia and Aiden. This time, it was time. It took ten years, a reluctant return on Aiden's part, a lot of letting go on both their parts, and a determination to take another leap on Natalia's part. And by the end, the forever that was denied them years ago was finally theirs to have.
Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.
In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction.
Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.
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