Published by St. Martin's Press on July 31, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home—and falling head over heels. . .
Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes—and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.
Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcée who shows up to the garage in stilettos—and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Is there anyone by whom you were especially influenced or inspired?
Actually, I never considered writing until my kids started school and I had some time on my hands. I didn’t have any desire to go back to working as an engineer which is what my degree is in. I love the gothic romances of Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge. Someday, I’ll write a modern twist on one!
What was the inspiration behind the Cottonbloom series and its unique setting in a town divided by a state line?
I knew my publisher wanted a “summer series.” I got out an Atlas and started skimming the states for inspiration. I saw the state line divide of Mississippi and Louisiana and inspiration hit like the proverbial lightning bolt!
Did you have the entire series planned out from the beginning? As the series has developed, do you ever wish you could go back and change something in an earlier book?
I’m not much of a pre-plotter, so I didn’t have the entire series planned. I had a decent idea of the first three books. Then, when I got the go ahead to write more, I came up with the story arc for the next three. I’m sure there’s a million things I would change if I went back and reread them.
Is there a particular novel or scene that you are especially proud of?
Writing series is a funny thing. I find that my favorite book is not always the one that reviewed the best and vice versa. Sometimes a book I struggled with becomes a reader favorite. That being said, I love the first book in the Cottonbloom series, Kiss Me That Way.
What do you want the reader to take away from your novels?
That you don’t have to be perfect to find love.
For fun: What’s your favorite go-to snack while writing?
I don’t eat much while I’m writing, but I drink copious amounts of coffee!
What’s next for you?
I have a Women’s Fiction book, The Military Wife, coming out in February 2019. I’m also writing a new Southern set contemporary romantic comedy series called Highland Games. The first book, Highland Fling, should be out late next year. AND, I hope to have a new historical romance, A Sinful Surrender, out sometime in the next few months!
For a chance to win a Print copy of Set the Night on Fire (US only)…
What are you reading this summer?
~~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~~
SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE is the sixth novel in Laura Trentham’s successful series set in Cottonbloom, the quirky little town that is divided by a river and a state line. This installment continues with the story of the Abbott brothers who own a car repair and restoration business in blue-collar Cottonbloom, Louisiana.
Oldest Abbott brother Ford, who never really wanted to be a part of the family business, has sold his share to a socialite from ritzy Cottonbloom, Mississippi. This is not setting well with his brother Mack and twins Wyatt and Jackson. Grouchy Mack, especially, is unnerved when it appears that wealthy divorcee Ella Bondreaux plans to get involved in the everyday operation of the business instead of just being a silent partner. Ella, who has been very successful in her previous business dealings, feels she can help the brothers expand their business. She also grew up watching her late brother restore cars and she enjoys the atmosphere of the garage. In spite of their mutual love of cars and similar dysfunctional family baggage, Mack plans to have her around only until he can buy her out. That is until he finds himself incredibly attracted to her.
Both Mack and Ella are well-written and easy to like characters. In spite of Mack’s gruff exterior, he cares deeply about people. He is adamant about preserving what is left of his family and the family business. Ella is a very strong woman and she, too, cares about other people, including people that she, perhaps, shouldn’t care about at all. She and Mack actually have a lot of things in common and their mutual attraction should be no surprise.
The strong secondary characters, most notably the Abbott twins and their significant others, add depth to the story. It helps to have read the previous books in the series in order to have the background of all of the characters, but it certainly is not necessary. The book is well written as a standalone, also.
In my opinion, the story seemed a little slow at the beginning but it didn’t take long to find a better pace. It then remained steady to the end. I was, however, a bit mystified by the “bonus” epilogue that followed the regular epilogue. The regular epilogue did what it was intended to do: tie up loose ends to the current story. The “bonus” epilogue seemed to tie up loose ends from a previous story, or perhaps to the series? I’m not sure, but I’m hoping that our visits to dear little Cottonbloom have not come to an end!
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.