No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.
Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.
Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.
Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave From Brooklyn will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.
Hockey star Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.
Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.
Bountiful describes an abundance of something, and it also depicts the idea of giving generously, and while Dave has no idea just how much of himself he gave to Zara when they spent a few weeks together, getting lost in each other’s body and living in the moment, even if it was for only a short amount of time, Zara feels an immense amount of gratitude to Dave for what he gave her and she revels in the bounty that they created together.
Since being introduced to Zara at the beginning of Sarina Bowen’s True North series, I’ve wanted to know her story…I’ve wanted to understand how her past choices put her in the situation she is now – a single mom who works her butt off to provide for her 15-month old daughter, Nicole, and one who doesn’t need a man to make her life whole because her daughter and her coffee shop fulfill her life and don’t let her down, which is always a possibility when dealing with a man.
But fate has other plans for Zara and Nicole and two years after Dave left Vermont to head back to his life of playing professional hockey, he discovers exactly what he left behind and while he’s absolutely terrified to be a father, he fights through the fear and works hard to overcome his hellish childhood, choosing to learn from his past and not make the same mistakes that made him believe that there was no such thing as a happy family.
Both Zara and Dave are incredibly guarded when it comes to relationships of any kind, but what they felt in their short time together only intensifies when they’re reunited and what they share between them is so much more than their adorable and sweet baby girl…they desire each other’s company just as much as they crave one another’s bodies, and while both aren’t quite sure how to make their newfound family work, due to Dave’s profession and the baggage that they both carry due to their pasts, it’s clear that both Zara and Dave want what’s developing between them, they just have to be willing to work through a series of issues and complications that threaten to unravel everything they’re building.
Zara and Dave’s story was everything I wanted it to be – Zara held steadfast to her feisty and independent personality, but she also opened herself up a bit more once Dave returned to her life and showed her that he wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life even if it scared the hell out of him. Dave is definitely a swoon worthy hero, and Sarina Bowen does an excellent job of illustrating where Dave’s issues stem from and why it’s going to be an uphill battle for him once he finds he has a little girl.
I enjoyed witnessing Zara and Dave’s transformations as their daughter became the focal point of both their lives and while there is a bit of angst and conflict that they must traverse through, all realistically depict the circumstances that these two find themselves in and the resolve they need to use in order to fight for their little family – one that is so much different and better than anything they had themselves.
Sarina Bowen’s True North series continues to be one of flawless storytelling and fantastic character development. The little Vermont town that Bowen uses as her setting is charming and breathtaking – the perfect spot for the characters to find some peace and quiet in order to realize what’s most important in life. I love that Bowen allows the Shipley family to still play an important role in the main characters’ lives and the fact that she interconnects several of her characters from her other series into the plot line of Bountiful makes it that much more enjoyable.
4.5 Poison Apples
About the Author
Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.