Summary: First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both—if they can forgive the mistakes in their past…
Title: This Heart of Mine
Series: Whiskey Creek #8
Author: Brenda Novak
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Released: 31st March 2015
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: invitation for an honest review from Author - Thank you :) and via Publisher on NetGalley
I am a big fan of Brenda Novak’s Whiskey Creek series, it is such fun and the characters so varied and lovable. I was excited to read Phoenix and Riley’s story, hearing so much about this woman who went to prison for taking the life of a local girl, I just had to know what was going through her mind. Riley is such a sweetheart, but needs to stand up for himself and his son. Would definitely love to hear more from the Amos brother’s too…. J
Phoenix Fuller has been ridiculed her whole life. Having a mother that’s a recluse, lives in a trailer and a hoarder was hard on everyone. Her father left shortly after Phoenix was born and when her brothers were old enough, they left too. Now back from serving seventeen years in prison for a crime Phoenix is adamant she didn’t commit, life in Whiskey Creek for her is anything but easy.
Phoenix met Riley when he tutored her in high school. They quickly discovered a connection and started dating. Riley Stinson is from a well-respected family in Whiskey Creek and he had everybody in his ear saying she wasn’t worthy. When he broke it off with Phoenix, she had discovered she was pregnant, emotional and distraught with a broken heart and so Phoenix went a little obsessive wanting to win Riley back.
Phoenix is seeing her son for the very first time in person. Jacob and Riley meet Phoenix for breakfast, she’s only been released for three days but is desperate to see Jacob. The only reason she came back to Whiskey Creek was for her mother and Jacob. Now here though, the whole town seems to be against her.
Kyle Houseman is Riley’s best mate and believes Phoenix has served her time and should be free to do as she wishes. He decides to help her out and Riley becomes protective of Phoenix, saying she is the mother of HIS child and warns Kyle away. The more Riley sees Phoenix his feelings come to the forefront from high school and now he is having doubts about the last seventeen years. Should he have listened to his parents about Jacobs’s relationship with his mother? Is Phoenix really innocent? What happened to Phoenix that left her scarred?
Spending time with Riley, Phoenix tries to convince him she won’t ever become a nuisance again like her crush from high school that got out of hand. She doesn’t want to cause any problems that would jeopardise her son. So, did Phoenix really run Lori Mansfield over? Will Jacob want to spend time with her?
Another fabulous Whiskey Creek instalment and the next being, Kyle’s story. So excited for that, poor Kyle hasn’t had an easy love life. Ms Novak is a master of surprises and this intense “love can endure over a decade” story was a heart pumping, drama filled, small town gossip, fantastically written novel. This series is a must read and again, it doesn’t need to be read in order, each book is a standalone with connecting characters. Pick one up now!
THE SERIES SO FAR:
So her frame of mind clinches the deal? Makes her guilty? Or did my mom go to prison just because she was heartbroken and jealous? She was pregnant at eighteen, with no one to turn to except a weird mother who couldn't really do anything to help, anyway.
~ Jacob to Riley
About the Author
It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.
“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”
However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.
Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.
“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”
Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader's Choice, the Bookseller's Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.
When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking--she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!