Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford
Series: Chester Farms #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
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At eighteen, Kara Duncan had already made her fair share of mistakes, choosing the wrong boy and earning herself a bad reputation in the process. Hurt and humiliated, she'd packed up and moved on, sure that everyone in Bella Warren, Arkansas, would be better off without her. She'd planned never to return, but when crisis strikes, she has nowhere else to turn.
After seven years, Wade Chester thought his feelings for Kara were finally ancient history. Until he sees her again, standing on his front porch just as she'd done a million times before. She needs his help—and his family's crops—if her canning business is going to survive. The rest of his family has let bygones be bygones, so why is it so hard for him to let go of the past?
While Kara claims to be interested only in putting things right, the old heat flaring between them is undeniable. But Wade will need to risk his heart—and the reputation of his farm—to prove that they're meant to be together.
Kara comes back home in order start up her canning business with the help of her childhood best friend. The produce from Chester Farms is just what she needs to get her business off the ground. She didn’t really think she’d be welcomed back with open arms after they way she acted in high school, but she didn’t expect the anger and contempt so many had for her. She figures if she keeps her head down and her nose clean, people will start to forgive her and let things go. She’s surprised to feel such a deep attraction to Wade, even after all this time, but he’s a distraction she doesn’t need.
The last person Wade ever expected to see on his doorstep is Kara. He hasn’t forgotten her, or forgiven her for hieing out of town the way she did. But his sister is determined to help Kara get her business off the ground, and he reluctantly agrees. Before he knows it she’s working in his kitchen and spending the majority of her time at his house. He can’t seem to get away from her. The real problem is, he isn’t sure he wants to.
I loved the small southern setting, the farm and the business. I really struggled with everything else. And by struggled I mean WTF’d my way through the book. The way the people in town treated Kara was unbelievable, but I set that aside since I know how small towns can be. But when Wade didn’t step up to defend her, but in fact joined in with everyone else, I’m afraid I lost all respect for him. Sure, he felt betrayed by her, but to accuse of her being nothing but a slut because of things that happened in high school? I expected better of him.
The tip of his finger slipped under the thin strap of her dress. “No more of this kind of stuff.”
“What?” His nail lingered against her skin and she was powerless but to shudder under the soft and gentle touch.
He ripped his hand away as if he’d been burned and gestured at her. “These sexy clothes. No more. We’re a family farm.”
She glanced down at the orange sundress Whitney had instructed her to wear. The cotton skirt reached to just above her knees. It fit across her breasts, but fell loose around her curves below that. The top of the dress didn’t even cut low enough to show any cleavage. “I’ll be sure to pick up some oversized sweats next time I’m in the store. Will that do?”
He didn’t smile. Not that the moment was funny. “You were hell on my life last time you were here, darlin’. It won’t be the same this time around.”
If Kara had acted like a mature, independent woman who wanted to make a good impression but was fine if she didn’t, I may have been able to cope. Throughout the book Kara apologizes and berates herself, rather than telling Wade, and the whole town, to shove it. She also needed to stop running from her problems and start communicating. Verbally. With other people.
Maybe if the book had been a hundred pages shorter I wouldn’t have felt so stabby at the end of it. As it is, the conflict was drawn out way too long. Kara’s back-and-forthing and Wade’s head-in-the-sand way of dealing with it really grated on me.
I liked the end but felt it came a little too late.
1.5 out of 5