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Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. )
Release Date: September 13, 2016
After a year spent living in hiding—with no end in sight—Caroline Andrews wants to reclaim her life. But the lingering trauma from her days serving with the marines leaves her afraid to trust the tempting logger who delivers friendship and the promise of something more.
Following an accident that nearly robbed him of his hopes for the future, Josh Summers believes life has given him a second chance. He wants to settle down with the woman who stole his attention and his heart. And he’s willing to wait until she’s ready to be more than “just friends.” When fear of discovery leaves Caroline pretending to be his date, Josh tempts her to try the real thing—a relationship built on trust, not lies.
But then the past threatens and Caroline must risk everything—including her freedom—to bury her demons before she can take a chance on happy-ever-after.
So every once in a while a romance novel leans a bit more towards reality than fiction and Mixing Temptation was one of those. Basically, Caroline has been hiding out from a very traumatic past that is connected to her days serving as a Marine. Meanwhile, Josh survived an accident and is now trying to live a better life and that includes convincing Caroline that he’s a guy she can trust and take a chance on. Of course, nothing is ever easy and when Caroline’s past comes back to haunt her, Josh really has to step up and prove to her that he’s not going anywhere.
Having a character like Caroline brings its own unique challenges to the hero of the story, Josh. To me, it was so important for Josh to be both hero and observer. I didn’t want him to storm the gates and save Caroline because she had to save herself, but I also wanted for Josh to be the strength Caroline sometimes needed when her own fell short. That’s what made Josh such a wonderful hero. He didn’t want to solve Caroline’s problems, he wanted to help her solve her own. He wanted to show her a different side of life, one that included him and he was empathetic towards Caroline, I think because of his own trauma and that just upped his hero status in my eyes. He was all kinds of yummy, swoony, lovable goodness in an attractive package.
The theme of “second shots” was dominant throughout this book and I think it helped focus the attention not so much on Josh and Caroline’s relationship but on their pasts and how the present was offering them a second chance if they could only find the courage to take it. I love that theme and the author has a particular talent in bringing out the best in her characters. Even when the character had only a supporting role, they were good. But the fact that the author kept the attention on the real conflict of the story made Mixing Temptation the strongest of the series and I really couldn’t get enough of the emotions and struggles that Caroline and Josh experienced. It really made their ending that much sweeter.
I do have to warn that there may be a potential trigger for some readers due to Caroline’s traumatic past.
Final Verdict: I’m not going to lie, Mixing Temptation is the best of the series. There was so much emotion coming from this story and these characters that it was impossible to put down. Josh and Caroline definitely deserved their happy ending but it was Caroline who stood out the most and deserved her moment of resolution. Way to go Sara Jane Stone!
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