Chisholm Falls, Book 1
by Trish Arcangelo
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: 8/23/17
Number of pages: 180
Word Count: 45,550
Cover Artist: Diana Carlile
It’s a rough ride from dark past to second chance.
On the run from her psycho ex, Laurel Wheeler stops in Chisholm Falls, Texas for snacks at a gas station just before it’s held up by two desperate criminals. When one robber begins firing, a handsome stranger named Jase Miles saves her life. Hoping to make a little money and thank her rescuer at the same time, the broke Laurel agrees to a secret deal regarding Jase, who’s the town pariah.
But what starts as deception quickly turns complicated. Laurel begins to fall for the brooding man who hides his pain behind a mask of indifference. And Jase begins to fall for the sweet woman who, unlike everyone else in town, doesn’t treat him like a monster. Then a careless mistake shatters the fragile trust and their growing bond… perhaps beyond saving.
She walked toward him then, with purpose. Once she was standing directly in front of him, so close that he couldn’t pretend to ignore her, she’d said, “Just go with it.”
Laurel intended to kiss him then. He knew it. She was going to kiss him in front of everyone, a declaration. It would have been an act of kindness, her falling on the sword of a debt she thought she owed. The thought made him sick. He didn’t want her kisses of pity. He wanted her to kiss him because she was driven to, because she was mad for him. And though he’d do it again, even now he kicked himself for stopping that kiss. If pity was the price of admission to another taste of those lips, maybe it would have been worth it.
But he stopped her. He put a hand out to halt her and then led her toward the storeroom, his hand on the small of her back like a brand. Warmth pooled in his dick from just that small touch. As soon as the door to the storeroom snapped closed behind them Jase whirled her around until her back flattened against the brick wall, snarling. “What game are you playing?”
Her eyes went wide and the stunned look on her face almost had him apologizing, almost had him begging to try the kiss again. “No games,” she whispered.
He slammed his hands against the wall on either side of her head. “Defending me at every turn, as if you’ve been made my personal savior. I don’t need any paybacks for the gas station. We’ve been over this.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh? Then what the hell was that little performance out there?”
Laurel’s expression turned angry. God, she was even hotter when fiery and indignant. Jase was careful not to press too close so he could hide his raging erection.
She said, “Fine, I was just trying to help, you ungrateful—”
His stomach and his erection fell. “You what?”
The answering look on her face said she realized her mistake.
“So it was pity?” He spat, shoving away from her.
“That’s not what I meant, Jase.”
He pulled her to him again, unable to decide what he wanted. “Isn’t it? Well, then, by all means, baby, pity me.” And then he covered her lips with his.
While I really enjoyed this story, there were a couple of issues for me. I felt that Jase was a little TOO hard on himself. I know that small towns have long memories and it is really easy to fall into the trap of the hive mind in blaming him for something that happened in the past. However, I just didn’t see it in his interactions. Maybe it is because he was so good at isolating himself but I would have liked to have seen a little more of why he felt the way he did.
I’m also not sure what Laurel thought would happen after she took money from Jase’s sister. I can get how it started but she definitely should have done something about it WAY before she did. Readers realize this is going to blow up and she should have too.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed these two together. When Jase lets himself, he’s a good person and is good to those around him. Laurel may have had it rough but she’s got a good heart and the gumption to try for a better life. A little battered, neither of them has had the best time of it but they find the support in each other that they need so together they can finally find a happy place. And readers will enjoy being there with them when they do.
Trish has been an avid fan of romance fiction since she “borrowed” a book from her mother’s stash when she was just a teenanger (it was Hearts Aflame by Johanna Lindsey). She’s been devouring all genres of romance ever since. She nursed a long time dream to write stories of her own and finally realized there was no time like the present. After completing and publishing her first book, a fantasy romance, in early 2015, she is now writing a contemporary romance series.
A native Texan, Trish lives just outside Austin with her incredibly supportive husband and their incredibly spoiled dog. Aside from romance fiction, her other loves include dogs, warm weather, wine, playing trivia, and spending too much time on social media.
1 Autographed copy of BREAKOUT and a $10 dollar Amazon gift card
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