Thank you to Melanie Harlow and her team for the advance reader copy of Hideaway Heart, the second story in the Cherry Tree Harbor series.
I just adore Melanie’s small-town romances, she is just so damn good at what she does. Hideaway Heart features a bodyguard falling for his famous client and who doesn’t love that combination?
I am a Melanie Harlow review team member, but I remain honest and genuine in my reviews.
All I wanted was a break–two weeks off from being Pixie Hart, country music sensation, and fourteen days of peace, privacy, and solitude as plain old Kelly Jo Sullivan.
But thanks to some overzealous paparazzi, my family refuses to let me go anywhere alone, and I’m stuck sharing this tiny cabin with a tall, dark, and bearded stranger.
And guess what? There’s only one bed.
Well, he can couch it.
Xander Buckley might be hotter than a stolen blow torch, and I get that he’s a former Navy SEAL and all, but the man gives new meaning to the words overbearing, overprotective, bossy alpha male. I can’t even post a photo on social media without him warning me it’s not safe, or take a morning jog without him following behind.
But he’s made it clear that what he says goes, and if I don’t like it, I can kiss my vacation goodbye.
Instead, I end up kissing him.
I don’t even know how it happened–one minute we were at each other’s throats, the next we were at each other’s mercy. What’s even more shocking is how good we are together. He understands my need for freedom, and I understand his need for control.
But emotional trust doesn’t come easily to me. And we’re on two completely different paths.
Without question, I’d put my life in his hands.
Just don’t ask me to give him my heart.
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: Our lead characters are Xander Buckley and Kelly Jo Sullivan. Kelly a.k.a Pixie Hart is a country music star who barrels into Xander’s life when her brother asks Xander to watch out for Kelly while she takes a vacation from her life. We meet Kelly at such an interesting place in her life, at almost a transition time in her career. She is getting fed up with giving in to what the studio, her ex, and others expect of her. I loved that this reset with Xander had Kelly shifting her priorities and seizing control back in her life. Xander is a former Navy Seal and used to work for Cole Security. If you have ever read a Corinne Michaels’ novel then you know what that means. If you haven’t well you should cause she and Mel are best friends, write in complimentary styles, and drop easter eggs for each other’s works in their books. Xander is very loyal, determined, and persistent. It was easy to fall for him. If you liked Austin in Runaway Love be prepared for another Buckley brother to steal your heart.
- Setting: This story is set just outside of Cherry Tree Harbor proper. Kelly rented a remote cabin to unplug and get away from the paparazzi. It was adorable to read as Kelly and Xander started to fall for each other in such a cute setting. The cabin was not too far away from the town though which promoted so many scenes with Veronica and Austin (of the previous novel). It was interesting of Mel to do that this book runs parallel to the second half of Runaway Love. So you get the added bonus of seeing the previous book’s couple fall in love from a different point of view.
- Pacing: This book is hard not to engulf, and I kept making more excuses to read it. My favourite part of the book was the first chunk of them initially falling in love and spending time together. As the rest of the story progressed it dipped a bit for me and became a bit predictable. But I can’t be angry at that as Mel wrote a story that made perfect sense for these two characters.
- Romance: I adored reading Xander and Kelly fall in love. Kelly had a shitty ex and Xander had put everything above his own needs – so, of course, they were the perfect combination of just so damn deserving of this. Melanie always balances the emotions and the sex of her couples. So be prepared there are some fun steamy scenes, but still so much heart. A couple like this just gives you butterflies while you read and you never want their story to stop.
Hideaway Heart receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story here.
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Thank you again to Melanie and her team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog.