Title: Reunited on Sugar Maple Road
Series: Highland Falls
By: Debbie Mason
ISBN: 9781538725368 (ISBN10: 1538725363)
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Fake dating isn’t supposed to lead to real feelings….
Highland Falls police officer Emma Scott is a workaholic who doesn’t do small talk, hugs, or anything else touchy-feely. Ever since her fiancé’s death over a year ago, Emma’s been sleepwalking through life, and her family is growing increasingly worried about her. Enter Josh Callahan, her brother’s best friend. Josh is obnoxiously good-looking and, even more annoyingly, in a perpetually cheerful mood. Though he may drive her crazy, his suggestion to fake date him is brilliant because there are no feelings involved. At least, not at first.
High school football coach and volunteer firefighter Josh Callahan is a fun-loving guy who is all about friends, family, and community. After his wife left him, he committed to staying uncommitted, except now he’s earned the nickname “Heartbreaker of Highland Falls.” Spending time with Emma will improve his rep while she can remember what it means to get out and enjoy life again. And his plan works…until Josh realizes that the feelings he has for Emma are all too real. But is Emma ready to share her heart again? (Goodreads)
Debbie Mason has done it again with the final installment of the Highland Falls series, Reunited on Sugar Maple Road. An engaging contemporary romance which kept my interest from the first page. Well, if truth be told, I was hooked just from the summary of the book.
This story involves Emma Scott, a local police officer in Highland Falls. Emma is still recovering from the death of her fiancé, whom died a little over a year ago. What is frustrating to Emma is that her friends and family think she should be “getting on” with her life. Well, they should walk in her shoes! There is no timeline in processing a grief as great as losing a loved one. However, Emma is starting to feel like she wants to figure out how to move forward. And then we have the ever fun loving and hunky Josh Callahan. Josh is the high school football coach and is known around town as the “heartbreaker of Highland Falls”. He seems to break off any relationship after just two dates (is that really then considered a “relationship”). As the reader learns, Emma is actually the ‘annoying’ little sister of Josh’s best friend Cal. The arrangement Emma and Josh cook up is to fake date so that Emma can have some much needed practice, as well as satisfy her family and friends need for her to move on. This arrangement also lends itself to a plan for Josh to recoup some of his credibility as a nice guy and not just a serial dater.
There are a number of other plot lines to keep a reader intrigued, like haunted houses (and the ghosts within), crooked politicians (oh my!), rambunctious teenagers (as if there are any other kind at Halloween) and finally – visits from Emma’s deceased fiancé urging her to move on so that he and their deceased baby can too. With a storyline around Halloween, you really get a supernatural vibe and even the teenagers refer to Seaton House as haunted and thus a place of interest around this time of year.
I enjoyed the depth and breadth of the characters, especially Emma and Josh. The storyline was one that widowed readers can relate to. Additionally, anyone who has lost a child will also be haunted by the presence of the many ghosts/aberrations that appear. But lest we forget – there are certainly laugh out loud moments! Watching the two main characters navigate their way through speed dating had my chuckling out loud.
The ancillary story lines were also filled with mystery, intrigue, romance and just good ole sleuthing as to who was murdered and by whom. I also enjoyed how Emma also assisted Josh with the football team – it just seemed so natural and frankly, something that would happen in a small town. This story also pulled at the heartstrings as well as the funny bone. A well rounded read.
As always with this series – I love the book’s cover art. Draws me in every time!
If you have read any of my previous reviews – I like to leave the majority of the very scintillating details out so that you can discover them. This story had many intriguing tangents, which I hope you will get to discover yourself. If you are into romance with a bit of intrigue and murder thrown in, then I would highly recommend Reunited on Sugar Maple Road in particular and the Highland Falls series and Debbie Mason in general.