on July 26, 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
In Benevolence, Washington, the Lamont family's delectable handmade chocolates are a precious tradition--and always a reason to return home. And for the most rebellious of the three Lamont sisters, they provide a chance to create a tempting new future, complete with delicious happiness…
Neighbors always ready to help, a laid-back pace--former model Brenna Lamont needs everything that once made her leave her hometown. To help her pregnant sister Addie, Brenna is back to run the family store, Chocolate Haven, and figure out how to start over. But she just can't make the one-of-a-kind Lamont fudge…or make herself really fit in. And with handsome restaurateur River Maynard causing her troubles to boil over big time, can Brenna risk going after what she really wants?
River already has his hands full helping his ailing foster mother save her ranch for troubled children. He's got no time for anything but reality and hard choices. But somehow, a daily dose of Lamont chocolates is helping his mom feel better. And Brenna's kindness and warmth are making him hungry for an unexpected new dream only she and Benevolence's magical sweetness can make come true . . .
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Sweet Surprises is the second book in the Home Sweet Home series by Shirlee McCoy. It can easily be read as a standalone story.
Brenna Lamont left her small home town of Benevolence and made something of her life. She’s travelled, she’s been a fashion model, opened her own business and was engaged. All that came to an abrupt end when her fiance ran off with another woman AND all of Brenna’s money. In a nearly bankrupt state, she returns home to Benevolence to help her grandfather in their family chocolate shop. She keeps her problems to herself and everybody just thinks her and her fiance have split up, but nothing else.
River Maynard, older than Brenna had left Benevolence just as she had. He became a successful chef and opened two restaurants. He finds himself back in Benevolence to help his foster mother while she recovers from a stroke. All her life she has taken in troubled people and helped them lead better lives, River is one of her success stories as he was the ultimate troubled teen. Even now, when she is unwell his foster mother has a motley crew of characters living at the rundown ranch. River wants to kick them all out but his mum forbids it so he will just have to learn to cope with them all.
River and Brenna meet up again after years of being away from town when he needs to buy some of the famously delicious fudge from the chocolate shop after hours. It’s the one thing that his mum looks forward to every evening, and one of the motley crew had finished what had been bought for her.
There is an instant attraction between them. One that slowly builds during the story. They both have baggage, especially Brenna and it seems that any relationship between them will have to wait until she can learn to trust.
As well as their relationship building the story involving the chocolate shop, the running or it, the secret recipes and seeing Brenna trying to learn them was great. As was learning about the various characters living on the ranch, and watching them learn to trust River and visa versa. There was definitely a lot to enjoy in this story and although I am not a fan of contemporary romances, this one was a pleasure to read and I can happily recommend it.