FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss).
Series: Healing Harts #3
Publisher: Avon Impulse on July 14, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
It only took an instant for her world to come crashing down…but Heart Fire Ranch is a place of new beginnings, even for those who find their way there by accident...
As the only veterinarian in town, Justin Hart doesn't have time to think about romance. So when A-list actress Alyssa Cole crashes her car outside his clinic, it's entirely unexpected when there's a spark between them he can't ignore. Still, she's a movie star, and he's just a small town cowboy.
Alyssa has learned the hard way not to believe first impressions, especially not in Hollywood. But, 400 miles from her former life with nowhere to go and no one to turn to, she places her trust in the handsome vet who comes to her rescue.
There's no denying the connection between them, but when Alyssa's past shows up at the door, will their new relationship be able to withstand the storm?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Justin wasn’t looking for a relationship — or anything even close to one. But when a very famous, very pregnant woman crashes on the road just in front of his veterinary practice, he finds himself offering her help and trying to deny the sparks of attraction that fly between them. After all, she’s married and clearly carrying another man’s child. But his heart has other ideas.
I’m sort of over my penchant for romances in which the regular person falls in love with someone ridiculously famous, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to read another story by T.J. Kline. And of course, I loved it!
Justin has been the meddling big brother in previous books, and while it was always clear that he was a good guy, it was hard to really get to know him. He’s always been all business — except when it comes to looking out for family — and finally getting a look inside his mind was really interesting! For one, he was a little angry and put out by Alyssa’s need for help, but he didn’t have it in him not to lend a hand. That right there made him a lot more believable than the typical white knight who’s head over heels in five minutes and ready to play protector.
Alyssa’s not your typical celebrity, either. She made a big name for herself in Hollywood, but then her marriage to a power-hungry agent happened, and it’s all been downhill from there. He’s more or less sabotaged her career and left her nearly a has-been just a few years after the height of her fame, and now that she knows for certain that he’s been cheating, she’s completely lost. Not to mention alone and without a plan. On the outside, her life looks perfect, but on the inside, she’s desperately trying to figure out who she is and what her next step should be. The last thing she expects is for the cowboy who comes to her rescue to rescue her heart as well.
Her car crash is serious enough to send Justin running to help but minor enough that she walks away without a scratch. However, she’s now stranded at Justin’s country veterinary practice, urging him to save the dog (and soon puppies!) that caused her to wreck in the first place, and struggling internally with what her next move should be. I love that Justin didn’t immediately know who she was, though I could have done without his immediate judgement of her once he realized her famous identity. Fortunately, he’s fairly quick to recognize that she’s not as glamorous and perfect as the tabloids would have everyone think, and while he’s not sure they have anything in common, he’s also not about to fall for the media gossip.
Justin’s pride and Alyssa’s lost sense of self-worth are the biggest obstacles between them, though you’d think her pregnancy would be an issue. Surprisingly, Justin’s only real issue with that is that she’s just coming out of a relationship, which really raised him up in my opinion. Instead of worrying what other people might think or that he was rushing into things too quickly, he followed his feelings and allowed himself to become involved during a situation that would have most men running for the hills.
Alyssa’s husband was simply reprehensible, and I could have done without Justin falling for his lies, but at the same time, I can’t really blame him considering the whole crazy scenario. I mean, who among us wouldn’t be insecure when it came to holding onto the heart of someone who’d been on a hundred magazine covers? Their relationship seemed at first to move too quickly, but in reality it was several weeks into things before it got deeply serious on an emotional level they were each willing to admit, which sounds just about right for new love. And of course, she’s exactly what he needs to loosen up a bit and give into his feelings, and he’s exactly what she needs to help her stand on her own two feet again.
Close to Heart is the story of finding love when you least expect it, when you aren’t even looking for it, and in the most difficult of circumstance, which is a big part of what makes it such a wonderful story. T.J. Kline has once again served up complex characters with plenty of personal obstacles to overcome, and the result is an unexpected and altogether sweet romance.