Love in a Pickle, an all-new standalone contemporary romance from L.B. Dunbar, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love in a Pickle by L.B. Dunbar
Series: Green Valley Library #9, Winters Sisters #3
Published by Smartypants Romance on October 14, 2021
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
When a mysterious silver fox becomes intrigued with this small town’s most disliked society woman, he finds she’s more than a little trouble and possibly a whole lot of heart.
Scotia Simmons. The name says it all—ornery, judgmental, mean—but underneath a woman like that is typically a shattered heart. Locked within her secrets, this fried pickle princess has used her unkindness as a shield of protection against the loneliness. However, menopause and a one-night stand can change a woman’s perspective on things. Who knew it would take a man the likes of him to push her strong will to its limits?
Chester Chesterfield. The name has more than one meaning—generous, quiet, private—but within one man is a multitude of personas. The gruff oil mogul has a wounded heart (and a big secret) that holds him hostage from the man he’s meant to be. His past defined him, or so he thought. He never imagined it’d take a woman like her to push him over his carefully constructed edges and show him love has no boundaries.
When you’re in a pickle, it’s time to relish what—or rather who—stands before you and accept that even over forty, a second chance at love can be a big dill (every pun intended).
‘Love in a Pickle’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #9 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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I give Chester a five-second head start before I follow him. My heart bleeds for him after hearing the story he’s told me. This big, beautiful man—his heartbreak is so huge.
We move away from the crackle and snap of the fire and into silent darkness. The loud crunch of my wellies on gravel echoes in the night. My sister’s farm has been restored now that she owns it outright and shares the land with Jedd. He’s built a horse barn on the property, and Chester stalks in the direction of the structure.
I want him to talk to me, but he continues to walk faster without looking back. With his long legs, he’s put quite a distance between us. He detours into the barn as I’d suspected. Once I enter, he seems to have disappeared inside the dark building. Despite a dim light illuminating the passageway, I’ve lost him.
“I know you’re in here,” I call out as if we’re children playing a game of hide-and-seek. Perhaps we are, as it seems we share bits and pieces of ourselves with one another, hiding truths, and then seeking full disclosure. We’re . . . curious . . . about each other, or at least, I am about him. I want to know more about him. And I’m not letting him walk away after the bomb he just dropped.
I pause before a horse stall. The heavy breath of Lucky One steams into the cold passageway. Jedd breeds and trains horses for the rodeo. It’s a process I don’t pretend to understand, not being much of an animal lover myself, but it makes him happy. Jedd’s happiness makes Beverly ecstatic, which is something she rightfully deserves after all she’s been through.
I think about Chester. His best friend, Davis, and his wife, Harper, lost their lives in a house fire, leaving behind three beautiful boys. Chester is now their guardian and an excellent provider for them. For a moment, I wonder why he doesn’t live with them. Why does he live in a bus just over the border instead of the valley? I suppose the locale might have something to do with his ownership of The Fugitive, but then again, his Chesterfield Oil offices are said to be in Knoxville. There’s a hefty distance between the locations with Green Valley in the middle.
I’d reach up to pet the horse, but I’m afraid he’ll bite me. Jedd likes to call him a mean sonofabitch, yet surprisingly, the animal has a soft spot for Beverly. While Beverly loves animals, Naomi loves the woods, which reminds me of her Samhain ritual later tonight. I’m doing my part to keep up the sisterhood rejuvenation plan, and after what I’ve learned about Chester’s friends, I take a moment to recognize I’m blessed that my sisters are still with me. I’ve missed them. We’re very different people as adults, and in many ways, it should make us more incompatible than ever, but there’s something about blood I can’t deny. My sisters are the truest people I have in my life next to my daughter, who I haven’t spoken to in a week.
After a few minutes, I decide I’m not going to find Chester in the dimly lit barn and give up on the hope of him speaking further to me. I turn toward the entrance and pause when I see him blocking my exit.
“Why did you follow me?” His low, gruff tone startles me, and we stare at one another for a minute.
“Because I don’t want you hurting. That was a lot you shared, and I just want to be sure you’re—”
I’m cut off from more words as he closes the distance between us in three broad steps and crushes his mouth to mine. His hands firmly cup my face. He kisses me as though he can’t get close enough. Our mouths nip and suck, devouring one another, reminding me how I’ve never been thoroughly kissed. Never like this.
It was hard to think that maybe Scotia Simms could be redeemed, but this book did a pretty good job of it! First, as a 49 year old, it was kind of hard to read some of the bits about forty-something being old, because I don’t want to think of myself as that way. On the other hand it was a really nice story to read about someone my age as well. We learned a lot about Scotia’s life and what kind of made her the way she was. It was still hard to read when she did her usual catty and mean comments about other people. But I did like when she started stopping herself and realizing what she was doing.
Spending time with her sisters that we now know from the first two books featuring their stories was a lot of fun. Seeing them from her point of view, yet knowing how we felt when we read their stories from their points of view was really interesting. That’s one thing I’m loving about the authors in this series that do family members in the subsequent books. I was a little disappointed that Chet didn’t involve Cletus in his information finding mission, but oh well, he still found out what he needed.
In the end Scotia did redeem herself, or if not redeem, she did become a better person and it gave me more empathy for her and what she’d dealt with in her life. There were also some little peeks at characters that we’d had mentioned in Penny Reid’s Green Valley books. And all of that made for such a perfectly “dill-ightful” read. See what I did there? I loved the pickle puns and all the pickle stuff that Scotia sold. I do love fried pickles. Also, I think we need some of the stuff she was selling to buy as stickers or t-shirts, etc. I’d buy it!
About the Author:
L.B. Dunbar has an overactive imagination. To her benefit, such creativity has led to over thirty romance novels, including those offering a second chance at love over 40. Her signature works include the #sexysilverfoxes collection of mature males and feisty vixens ready for romance in their prime years. She’s also written stories of small-town romance (Heart Collection), rockstar mayhem (The Legendary Rock Stars Series), and a twist on intrigue and redemption (Redemption Island Duet). She’s had several alter egos including elda lore, a writer of romantic magical realism through mythological retellings (Modern Descendants). In another life, she wanted to be an anthropologist and journalist. Instead, she was a middle school language arts teacher. The greatest story in her life is with the one and only, and their four grown children. Learn more about L.B. Dunbar by joining her reader group on Facebook (Loving L.B.) or subscribing to her newsletter (Love Notes).
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