Cole & Laney Find Passion & Romance In Rome In This Steamy Story About Family!
Commenté aux États-Unis 🇺🇸 le 28 septembre 2020
This book is the fourth in a New York-based series about the Winchester family. It is Cole Winchester and Laney Smith’s story. It is absolutely a stand-alone; however, fans will appreciate learning more about this close-knit family by reading the series in order.
In the first book, much was learned about the downfall of the Winchester family and their Caldwell cousin, who works to redeem his family name. That extra insight adds depth to later books, as the family members are shaped by their past. It makes Ryker's leap from irresistible bachelor to commitment-ready beau all the more real, explains Skye’s hesitations in a relationship, and Cole’s reluctance to allow anything to distract himself from achieving financial security and ensuring his family’s well-being.
From the first book:
Powerful and headstrong Hunter Caldwell, thirty-two, owned one of the largest real estate development companies in country. The Caldwell name was famous in New York. While Hunter's professional success and generous charitable efforts defined him as a powerhouse to be reckoned with, many remembered his late father's success and subsequent failure in real estate development, quietly sneering about parallels and gleefully anticipating Hunter's downfall. Hunter was driven by the desire to avoid the downward spiral that destroyed his family and hoped to restore the family's good name.
Hunter's life had changed at age fourteen when his father died and his mother returned to her native England. Hunter didn't want to leave America - the country he called home since the tender age of four - and it worked out that he earned a scholarship at a private boarding school. Hunter's Winchester cousins experienced a similar downfall at the same time, which resulted in their father abandoning the family and eventually remarrying, leaving the children scarred. Months after Hunter began at his boarding school, his Aunt Amelia relocated to the same area, along with his four cousins, and he felt the warmth of family again as they pulled him into their family circle. Amelia, his maternal aunt, became a second mother to him and his cousins felt like siblings. They became an important part of his life.
Josie Gallagher, thirty, is on the brink of achieving her life's goal of becoming a partner in her law firm. She misses her family in Montana (siblings Ian, Dylan, and Isabelle), but she loves her life in New York. She hopes to be married and have kids one day, but none of her relationships have gotten too serious - perhaps in no small part due to her devotion to her career. She is thankful for the Winchesters, who make her feel so much a part of their family. And of course for Hunter, her best friend of fifteen years. Her relationship with Hunter is complicated. She crushed on him for a long time before mostly accepting that they will only ever be friends. Still, sometimes her hopes have her wondering if maybe Hunter has feelings for her, too.
From book two:
Thirty year old Ryker Winchester is the laid back Winchester brother. He is smart, loyal, fun, and hard-working - and nicknamed the Flirt. Director at The Pearman Fund by day and playing guitar at Northern Lights by night from time to time, he is equally comfortable in a custom suit or a leather jacket and jeans. Ryker is great at compartmentalizing, which aided his meteoric rise to Director of a big venture capital firm. The outlet for all that concentration and pressure is performing on stage and collecting guitars. All his extra time goes to his family, and he is always there to help out when needed. Ryker is fiercely protective of them, and they all appreciate what their mom went through to raise four children on her own. Which is why Ryker has no tolerance for men that don't respect women. Ryker hasn't ever had a serious relationship himself - his relationships are casual - but he is honest and honorable. He expected that he, his brother Cole, and Hunter would be eternal bachelors, but Hunter just got married to Josie and things are changing.
Heather Prescott, twenty-eight, is building a career in journalism at a national newspaper while raising her seven year old daughter, Avery. When she meets her boyfriend at Northern Lights one night, she has no idea that her life is about to change.
From book three:
Skye Winchester, thirty-two, recently took the leap from employee to entrepreneur. She had been a biotech major in college and worked in R&D for several years. But that hadn’t fully prepared her for becoming a business woman and lingerie designer. Soho Lingerie had started as an online store that she and her sister Tess started together, but after years of juggling a day job and the web store, they took the leap and opened a brick and mortar store in Soho. Several months back their investor had jumped ship, causing them to rethink their plans, but with the help of her tight-knit family they have been able to trudge forward.
Robert Dumont, thirty-three, is returning to New York after four years in L.A. as CEO of Dumont’s West Coast restaurant chain, and taking over as Dumont’s East Coast CEO. He wants to live near his newly-divorced sister Anne and his eight year old niece Lindsay, who are both struggling with the change in their lives. When Robert looks at yet another home in the suburbs near Anne’s home, there is something about it that calls to him, though it isn’t quite everything he wanted. And the woman showing the home as a favor to her neighbors has captured his attention.
In this book:
The story opens in March, when newlywed Skye is seven months pregnant.
Cole Winchester, roughly thirty, is the youngest of the Winchester clan. He is nicknamed the charmer, and for good reason. He plays a good game and knows how to win the girl. He never gets serious, though. His commitment is to his job, his family (to include his mom, cousin, and siblings) and to his bachelor lifestyle. He had been the last remaining member of the bachelor pack, but had since reformed the club to include Josie’s brothers, Ian and Dylan. Cole remembers how difficult times were when his parents divorced and his mom struggled to raise him and his siblings, and he never wants to see his family struggle again. When Hunter started Caldwell Real Estate and asked Cole to be his partner, he had jumped at the opportunity. For Cole, it is about the money and the security it represents. He loves landing a new deal, but he also wants to ensure that his family is taken care of, even if they are too stubborn to accept help. He and Hunter make a great team. Hunter’s focus is strategy, while Cole is a problem solver. He is the Chief Operations Officer. As he and Hunter look to expand their business holdings to Europe, Cole finds himself in Rome for a tough but rewarding week of negotiations with Delimano, their new partner in a Rome shopping cener.
Laney Smith, probably about twenty-eight, is a surgical resident at The Liberty in New York. She is taking full advantage of every minute of her off time during her two month assignment in Rome. She had jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t regretted it for a moment. Since her arrival, she has come to love the city of Rome and its riich history. She has one week to go before retuning to New York, her home for the last two years. She had gone to college and medical school in Philadelphia, but had needed a change after Ryan died. There were too many painful reminders of her late husband there, so she had opted to move elsewhere for her residency. Her job keeps her too busy for much of a life, which is a good thing since she isn’t ready to move on. Fortunately Isabelle just followed her to New York, and she won’t feel so alone anymore. Isabelle, her best friend of twenty years, and her brothers Ian and Dylan, were like family to Laney, having all grown up in a small Montana town together. So when Isabelle’s sister Josie asks Laney to meet up with her cousin-in-law Cole who is in Rome for the week, she doesn’t hesitate to agree.
Cole and Laney meet for dinner in Rome, neither expecting to feel sparks. But when it turns into two days of exploring the ancient city with one another, they both feel something inside shift. Nevertheless, neither is looking for a relationship, so they agree to leave it at that. Cole expects to keep his end of the bargain since he has never wanted more from a woman before, but by the time Laney flies back he understands that there is nothing normal about how he feels for her. Cole’s charming ways help to nudge Laney along as they explore what it is that they might feel for one another, but she still hesitates to move on. Cole’s cool confidence helps him to seamlessly shift from devoted bachelor to patient admirer. Laney’s desire and joy for life return to her when Cole enters her life. Her passion and consideration for others elevate her in Cole’s eyes, who can see her fitting into his close-knit family. Their maturity and sense of family contribute to a sense of realism (wealth aside). There is very little unnecessary drama as Cole and Laney get to know one another and put their past hang-ups behind. The couple earns a happy for now ending.
Cole and Laney’s story is a sweet romance that brings Josie’s family even closer into the Winchester circle. Though Josie had left Montana years ago, Isabelle, Dylan, and Ian are close, and Laney is like a sister to them all. Tess is now the only remaining single Winchester, though there are extended family members and friends that could conceivably get their own stories as well. One issue metis mention. It seems unlikely that Josie hadn’t been in touch with Laney for the past two years. Though busy, certainly the Winchesters would have met Laney or have known about her prior to Josie asking Cole to meet Laney for dinner.
Cole and Laney find passion and romance in Rome in this steamy romance about family. The story is well-written. The plot is realistic. The characters are well-developed. The story is written in first person. The POV alternates between Cole and Laney. I rate this book four stars.
I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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