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New review is now up.

*****

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Candy shop owner Charlotte Caine knows temptation. To reboot her life, shed weight and gain perspective, she’s passing up sweet enticements left and right.  But willpower doesn’t come so easily when hell-raiser Spencer Gregory comes back to Hope’s Crossing, bringing with him memories of broken promises and teen angst.  A retired pro baseball player on the mend from injury-and a damaging scandal-he’s interested in his own brand of reinvention. 

Now everything about Spencer’s new-and-improved lifestyle, from his mission to build a rehab facility for injured veterans to his clear devotion to his preteen daughter, Peyton, touches Charlotte’s heart.  Holding on to past hurt is her only protection against falling for him-again.  But if she takes the risk, will she find in Spencer a hometown heartbreaker, or the hero she’s always wanted?

I really enjoyed Willowleaf Lane.  Being a not-so-thin woman, I love the idea of a curvy heroine – granted Charlotte is now thin, but she still has some of those big girl feelings.  She’s still a little awkward and shy, but her past gives her added empathy to those around her.  She’s smart, pretty, and caring.  She works hard and gives freely of herself.  Spencer is about what you would expect from a MLB star – he’s hot, a little entitled, and cocky (or at least he used to be until life gave him a swift kick).  He’s a little at sea now that his world has come crashing down around him, but he’s trying and that’s very sexy.  I felt so bad for Spencer at the beginning but I enjoyed seeing him start to grow into his new life and I really liked how these two started to relate to each other again.  There are some serious issues with Spencer’s daughter and I think that Thayne handled them nicely – she does a fantastic job of giving her readers characters who feel like real people with real problems.

Willowleaf Lane is part of a series but don’t let that sway you.  It can definitely stand on its own and I found myself intrigued by the little town and its inhabitants.  It’s a place of community, one that pulls together, and I liked seeing them do that for Charlotte and Spencer.  I got a nice warm and fuzzy reading this book and I was so happy to see these two get their happy ending.