Willa Doon has always been shy. Her quiet demeanor was something she’s always embraced. That is, until Jackson Page moves to town. The one man she desperately wants to take notice struggles to remember her name.
Year after year, Willa stands by, watching as the bartender slash playboy drowns his demons in beer and sex. Then one night, he shows up at her door, suddenly aware that the girl he’s seen around Lark Cove is now a beautiful woman.
Except what he doesn’t remember is that this visit isn’t his first. They spent a night together once before. A night he’s forgotten, thanks to a bottle of tequila.
A night that crushed a timid girl’s heart, and set a broken man on the path to heal them both.
I love when the title of a character’s story signifies who s/he is at some point in the book, but even more than that, I adore witnessing that same character grow and develop throughout the course of the storyline, not only changing who s/he is at his/her core, but also altering people’s perceptions of him/her in a way that allows others to truly and finally SEE who the person is standing in front of them.
I never doubted Willa’s inner strength despite her outward shyness and timidity; the fact that she’s been sheltered all her life in the small town of Lark Cove as well as her decision to lay low and study hard while at college explains her less than outgoing demeanor, but it doesn’t mean she’s weak, and despite her lack of ‘experience,’ she seems to know what she wants and deserves and I applaud her for not settling when it comes to relationships. I get that it may seem a little farfetched for a 26 year old woman to have saved her virginity for a man who has never truly seen her for the woman she is, but it’s not to say that it doesn’t happen…it’s not to say that she’s simply a hopeless romantic who would never get the man of her dreams because that man was an oblivious manwhore. Willa is Willa, and her choices are her own, which means that other people’s judgment shouldn’t really matter because it’s not their life.
I will say that I don’t really understand why Willa’s crush lasted so long or felt so overpowering given the nature of her non-relationship with Jackson nor can I wrap my mind around the fact that he is didn’t know how Willa felt about him when everyone else in Lark Cove knew her feelings for him. But that’s where I think the title of Willa and Jackson’s story is tied to Jackson more so than Willa because his timidity goes along with his inability to be part of something lasting due to fear and his past and it’s that hesitancy that doesn’t allow him to truly see anything other than familial love when it’s there because it’s too much of a risk for him.
I think that Devney Perry just scratches the surface of who Jackson is and what he’s capable of when it comes to love and commitment, but if there’s anyone who can teach him what he needs to know…the qualities he needs to have to lay claim to the one woman who he can’t get out of his head, it’s Willa, and because she has the such patience and a keen insight into people, she’s more than capable of proving to Jackson himself that he’s so much more than he thinks he is.
I love the small town of Lark Cove and its wing nut and genuine inhabitants. It’s a great story for this cast of characters and I’m so not ready to live this place yet, which makes so happy that there’s a third book to come.
4.5 Poison Apples
I scooched my chair in toward the table, trying to put a little more space between Jackson and me, but he wasn’t having it.
He put both hands on the back of my chair, then leaned in close. “Hi, Willa.”
“Uh . . . hi.” I shivered at the heat from his chest on my bare shoulders.
Why was he standing so close? My parents were right there. Our table was one of four tall, square ones in the center of the room and there was plenty of space between tables.
But was Jackson using any of that plentiful space?
No sirree. He stayed pressed against the back of my chair, like there were only three inches of usable space behind him, not three feet.
My skin prickled he was so close. I tried to nudge my chair forward again but it barely moved. Sweat beaded on my temples and I pulled in a shaking breath.
Jackson’s woodsy, rich scent was everywhere. It overpowered the stale beer, pizza and peanuts, and I inhaled a deep breath, unable to resist.
Sexy Hot Forest. That’s what they’d call his cologne.
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.