HOPE SPRINGS ON MAIN STREET (BRIAR CREEK #3)
BY OLIVIA MILES
(Forever Mass Market)
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Sometimes love is where you least expect it . . .
What do you do when your cheating husband proposes to the "other woman"? For Jane Madison, it means you keep calm, carry on, and sneak candy bars and wine for dinner. Jane's grateful for her adorable little girl, yet she yearns for the love that was missing from her marriage. Only one man ever really "got" Jane-and she's stunned when he returns to Briar Creek. But a single mom can't date her ex's best friend . . . can she?
Jane's still kind, beautiful-and far too good for the buddy Henry Birch tried to stop her from marrying years ago. Laying eyes on her now is like a much-needed ray of sunshine. Back in town to sell his family's old house, Henry wants to close a bad chapter in his life and move on. But time with Jane and her sweet daughter has him flirting with the idea of happily ever after-if he can convince her to take a second chance on love . .
REVIEW: HOPE SPRINGS ON MAIN STREET (BRIAR CREEK #3)
BY OLIVIA MILES
Hope Springs on Main Street by Olivia Miles
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I am a strong believer in strength of character. No individual knows how they will handle a situation until they have to face it head on. Jane is my hero. She dealt with a major JA for years and then was tossed aside like trash. This is a woman that had the rug pulled from under her yet she handled it with grace and strength. She learned from her past mistakes and with the help of an old friend may find a new chance at love. Hope Springs on Main Street is a story that is not always sunny but just like Jane leaves you feeling stronger for reading it. This is my first read by Olivia Miles and I am so grateful to have discovered her work. Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Henry wandered over to her, and she caught a hint of his warmth, the soap on his skin. Her stomach tightened. She scrubbed a little harder. Soon, this table would positively shine. “Either way, I’m glad to see you dancing again. You always enjoyed it.”
“I do enjoy it.” Meeting his eye, her breath paused at the softness in his deep-set gaze. “It’s a wonderful job, really. Things have a real way of working out the way they’re meant to.” She crossed to the potted mums Henry was so focused on earlier, happy to have an excuse to keep her back to him. They needed a little tending, well, not really, but he wouldn’t know the difference.
“That’s optimistic even for you,” Henry remarked.
Jane’s heart was beginning to pound, but she refused to let him get to her. Staying strong was what she did best.
“What’s the alternative?” She glanced over her shoulder and forced a smile. “To fall victim to the circumstances of your life? To run away instead of letting the dust settle?”
Something in Henry’s expression shifted, and he lowered his gaze to the floor. “Suppose so.”
Jane brushed a loose strand of hair from her forehead with the back of her hand and moved onto the left wall of the room, where Ivy kept hundreds of beautifully scented candles, all locally made, stacked on wrought iron baker’s racks.
“So, what kind of classes do you teach at the studio? Ballet?”
Jane nodded. “The young ones are fun, but it’s rewarding to see the progress some of my older students are making.”
“What about adults?”
At this Jane laughed. “No, no adults.”
“Why not? There must be some folks around town who are into that type of thing. I took a salsa class when I was in Miami.” He winked, and darn it if her stomach didn’t roll over.
“You took a salsa class?” She couldn’t fight the smile that teased her mouth.
“Hey, I’ve got moves, Jane.” He set his hand on her hip and her heart seized in her chest. She froze, looking up at him in panic, but he just slipped her an easy grin and waited. Her shoulders rose and fell with each breath, until she realized he was trying to get around the counter and she was blocking his path.
She blinked rapidly, then shifted to the right, but he didn’t move, not right away. His eyes gleamed as his smile grew a little broader, and as he finally moved past her, his hand lingered on her hip, until it finally slid off.
This was going to be harder than she’d thought.
“Seriously, though,” he continued. “You should offer some adult classes. Salsa, ballroom…” He stopped, seeing the look on her face. “Why not?”
Jane tried to picture some of the local residents lining up to learn the tango and cringed. “I don’t think people around here would go for that sort of thing.”
“You’re the one who’s been trying to tell me Briar Creek has a lot more to offer than it seems.”
He had a point there. “We base our classes on enrollment, so—”
“Perfect. If people sign up, you have the class. Nothing lost in trying, is there?”
“Why, Henry, that’s very optimistic of you,” Jane replied. He matched her grin and held it, his smile boyish and slightly lopsided, and Jane felt a rush of heat spread over her. She wasn’t imagining it. There was definitely something there, something in the glint of his eyes that was anything but platonic.
Henry was flirting with her. Or maybe he was just having a little fun.
Whatever it was, she was putting a stop to it. This was nonsense! Her entire world was crashing down on her and here she was, getting caught up in sparkling blue eyes and a friendly grin?
Henry popped the lid on a delivery box and looked her square in the eye. “As a matter of fact, it is optimistic of me. What can I say? Maybe you bring out the best in me.”
“We’ll work on the box step first, so if everyone could just take their partner…” She set her arm on Henry’s shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body through his cotton shirt. Her breath caught as his hand went to her waist, and not gingerly. Nope, no hesitation there. Henry knew how to hold a woman, how to make her feel with just one touch that he was exactly where he wanted to be. Slowly, she lifted her other hand, and he took it in his, holding it firmly. A wave of exhilaration shot through her as she looked up to meet his gaze. It bored through hers, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips.
Right. Time to demonstrate. She swallowed hard and tore her gaze from his, looking at Grace, so she wouldn’t be tempted to indulge in further masochism by glaring at the man who was single-handedly trying to ruin her life, or meeting Henry’s sharp blue eyes and daring to imagine how it might feel if his hand dropped a little lower.
“One, two, three, four.” Jane counted out the steps, over and over, and soon all the couples in the room were stepping within their own self-created boxes, many already laughing or whispering to each other.
“We haven’t done this in a long time.” There was a hint of a smile in Henry’s voice.
Jane looked up to find his gaze trained steady on hers, his lips parted in half smile. Her heart skipped a beat, and she looked down, watching their feet move in perfect unison.
“You’ve been practicing,” she observed now, trying to steer the conversation back to something more professional, but it was no use, not when his eyes were sharp, hooked with hers, refusing to let her go.
Was it just her or did he press himself a little closer?
Her heart flipped with pleasure, and she fought the instinct to pull back, to not let herself get too close. His body felt warm and safe next to hers, and she closed her eyes, listening to the beat of the music, letting herself forget that there was anyone else in the room other than the two of them. His hand slid down her back, looping around her waist, his fingers tracing a pattern on her hip.
The music suddenly stopped and, red-faced, Jane pulled back. For God’s sake, she was teaching a class, not enjoying some moonlit waltz!
She marched across the room to the CD player, fumbling to remember the correct buttons to press as her mind spun with emotions. Too much was going on at once, and she couldn’t even think straight.
She wondered if Rosemary was still in the building. She’d claim she wasn’t feeling well, let her boss stand in her place…
She glanced at Henry, her pulse kicking a notch. He was waiting in the center of the room, and he wasn’t waiting for Rosemary, or just anyone. He was waiting, she realized, with a sudden smile, for her.
The music started from the top and the couples began again, improving on their basic steps. Jane averted her gaze from the corner of the room where Adam and Kristy stood, but for some reason she didn’t even care in that moment that they were here.
She had her dance partner. And maybe, just maybe, for more than just tonight.
When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.