Soul of the Storm (Deerbourne Inn)

Jean M.

Since the disappearance of her sister on a mountain hike five years ago, Charlotte MacGregor has been a lost soul herself. Friends convince her to join them on vacation in Vermont, which she quickly figures out isn’t such a good idea. The mountain setting does nothing but bring reminders of her tragic loss. Plus, she’s the third wheel, since her friend and husband are honeymooners. Charlotte feels all the more alone in her pain.

Matiu Christiansen longs to own his own outfitter in New Zealand, where his roots are. One of the several jobs he holds in saving for that dream is giving tours in the Vermont wilderness. Spring break is the toughest time of year, since it’s mud season. Then he’s off to clean up, since he’s also the chef at a local pub. His plans to start anew in New Zealand get knocked off course when he meets the vacationing Charlotte.

Heatin’ up the mud in the mountains! This steamy love story hits all the right spots in both the reader’s heart and . . . well, other places. An outdoorsy hero who’s also a gourmet cook? What woman wouldn’t swoon? The author’s talents with description and snappy pacing leave us yearning for more. The only downfall of this excellently written story: it’s over too quickly. With such a rich setting and complex characters, each with their own unique obstacles to overcome, the story has the potential to go on for another hundred pages, and readers would still be unable to put the book down—and probably sleep through the alarm clock next morning!

FS Brown