Whiskey Creek #8
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson becamse her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him--especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both--if they can forgive the mistakes of their past...
This Heart of Mine was quite an emotional read for me. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes throughout most of it. It was an engrossing, powerful story - maybe my favorite in the series so far.
phoenix - noun - a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation
This is such an appropriate name for this brave and resilient woman. To endure all Phoenix had, and continued to once she returned to Whiskey Creek, she truly rose from the ashes. Phoenix has spent half her life in prison for a crime she maintains she's innocent of. She's missed out on raising her son, Jacob, as a result. She did all she could to be a part of her son's life and protect him, as well as Riley -- all at considerable personal cost. And she maintained her dignity. As Kyle stated,
"Most people in your situation would've let resentment and bitterness eat them alive. But you've managed to avoid that. As far as I'm concerned, someone like you will win out in the end," he replied.
I've always liked Riley but I feel for him a little more after this story because we got to see this other side of him. He is a good man and he was doing what he thought was best to raise Jacob. That he managed to approach Phoenix with more of an open mind -- let himself see her through his own eyes rather than the perceptions of others, made me proud.
Maybe the fact that I'm a mom is why Phoenix's story resonated so deeply with me. I can't imagine missing out on my kids' lives for any reason. She missed out on so much. Yet she was grateful to Riley for doing such a great job in her stead. And she was grateful for the present -- the time to get to know Jacob now. Phoenix is a character I greatly admire.
I always say how much I enjoy returning to Whiskey Creek. It's so good to sit down with my good friends to catch up. In This Heart of Mine, my friends made me proud to be in their acquaintance. Obviously, I was moved by Phoenix and Riley's story. As much as I'll be eager to meet up with all the characters from Whiskey Creek soon, I'm really excited for what comes next for Phoenix, Riley, and Jacob.