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    This is the second book in Lacey Black's Rivers Edge series. Ms. Black has done it again with another great story in this sexy, small town series. I've really come to love these characters and this series, and it's a direct result of Ms. Black's writing style and storytelling abilities. I was so impressed by her writing with her debut novel, Trust Me, that I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with this one, and I absolutely wasn't. Erin Anderson and Jake Stevens have a history that goes back to the seventh grade. Erin, an only child, was an military brat moving often with her parents when her father's career as an officer required it. She was shy, quiet and a little unsure of herself. Jake, the oldest of five children in the Stevens household, is the class clown, the boy all the girls crushed on, charming and mischievous. He and Erin meet on their first day, and from that day forward, Jake does all that he can to get a rise out of or fluster Erin. Unbeknownst to Erin until she arrives at school one day, Jake taken his teasing of Erin a few steps too far and has humiliated her in front of the whole school. Her pain is so great, Erin never returns to school, leaving town to go live in Mississippi with her grandmother. "I finally thought I'd found a place. A place where I actually fit in." Twenty years later, Erin returns to Rivers Edge to fill the retiring librarian's position. She has a chance encounter with Jake, and she makes it very clear that she wants nothing to do with him. She manages to avoid him for a few months while she settles into her life in Rivers Edge. She sees him again at the old librarian's retirement party, and she reiterates to him that they are not friends. "I wasn't your friend then, and I'm not your friend now." Jake, having served in the Marines, is a ten year veteran of the Rivers Edge Police Department. He's troubled by Erin's dismissal, he's very ashamed of how he treated Erin as a boy, and he struggles to find the right way to apologize. Jake is a good older brother to his siblings, a childhood best friend to his patrol partner and soon-to-be brother-in-law, and a doting uncle to his four year old niece. Jake is a man who is used to having women fall all over him. He thinks Erin is gorgeous, and he's not handling it well that she is less than receptive to his overtures, attempts to reconnect, and offers of friendship. Jake is persistent though, and he uses a chance to help Erin when she really needs it to sneak past her defenses. Once he gets there, he digs his heels in and he's staying! Erin is a bit flustered by Jake's attention. She doesn't know what to make of it or him. Slowly but surely, though, Jake is cracking through her protective shell. She meets, and genuinely likes, his family, striking up a friendship with Jake's sister, Avery. Jake keeps at it, and eventually convinces her to go on a date with him. Jake continues slowly but steadily entrenching her in his life and he in hers. He is wearing her down, and Jake is surprised by the depth of the feelings he has for Erin. He's a known player, a guy who doesn't do relationships or long-term, but he's thinking about both of those things with Erin. She is still cautious, but she's falling for him. It takes a near tragedy for Erin to realize what is in her heart, but after that event they become nearly inseparable. Erin is even involved in helping with Avery and Maddox's wedding. "She is that piece that has been missing from my life..." I loved watching Jake, the player who has never had a serious relationship before, fall for Erin. He was so surprised by how strong his feelings for her were, and he struggled with figuring out what to do about it. Erin, who started out hating Jake for all the pain he caused her 20 years before, fell just as hard and took that leap of faith, although cautiously, stepping way outside her comfort zone for Jake. The author really let us into their heads to experience these feelings and thoughts right along with them. One of my favorite things about reading is getting lost in the story, which sadly doesn't always happen. For me, it's happened with both of Lacey Black's books. She has this natural quality to her writing that just immediately captures the reader and draws them right into the story. She's very detailed and thorough, and I love that she uses dual points of view; I especially love getting inside the head of the Hero and knowing what he's thinking and feeling, and the author did this spectacularly. Lacey Black has quickly become a favorite author for me. She is an exceptionally talented author and story teller. I truly adore this series, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. She has created a great series here, hitting all the right notes so expertly. She has easily earned a spot on my auto buy, one-click list. Another stellar offering from the talented Lacey Black!

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