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Christina Skye brings readers another chapter in her Summer Island series with The Accidental Bride. Jilly O’Hara is a driven chef with her own restaurant and food line. One night during dinner service, she collapses and is diagnosed with a heart condition – one that may force her to quit the job she loves dearly. Based on her doctor’s orders to rest, her friends send her on a vacation to a knitting retreat in the mountains of Wyoming. Arriving at the airport, she meets marine Walker Hale and his amazing service dog Winslow. With her life and health in flux, Jilly doesn’t have time for romance but their attraction may be too strong to deny.

The Accidental Bride is a heartwarming story of two people trying to find their way again. Jilly has only ever wanted to be a chef and now her health has taken that from her. She’s not in the best frame of mind and she’s got intimacy issues stemming from being abandoned when she was a baby. For all her prickliness though she’s an appealing character. Walker and his dog were injured in the Middle East while trying to save fellow marines. He, like so many other soldiers, has come home with emotional and mental scars to go with the physical ones. He’s slowly struggling to find a place for himself in society and , because of his own issues, he’s a good fit for Jilly and helps her work through her problems.

The inhabitants of Lost Creek, Wyoming make the perfect supporting cast. They are interesting, fun and full of heart. They care about each other and meddle, which always makes for interesting reading. I hope that they’ll get their own spin-off, since this series concentrates on the four friends from Summer Island.

If you are a fan of books by Jill Shalvis or Susan Mallery, you will enjoy this story. The characters are well-developed and easy to love. And the world Skye creates is realistic, so smoothly delivered that you’ll feel like you’ve been there before. It’s a fast-read, with warmth and humor, enjoyable straight through until the end.

(Even though this is part of a series, it can definitely be enjoyed by itself. Readers of previous stories will get updates on characters but Skye handles it in a way that doesn’t leave new readers lost.)