With This Kiss by Bella Riley

Title: With This Kiss (Emerald Lake #2)

Author: Bella Riley

Genre: Contemporary

Love can find you when you least expect it . . . Fireworks. That’s what innkeeper Rebecca Campbell wants. And no matter how close their friendship, she and her former fiance never shared that. Now, with a broken engagement behind her and a promise she’s vowed to keep, Rebecca is determined to make a new life for herself in Emerald Lake. She just never expected sparks to fly this quickly . . .

Coming home and falling for his little brother’s girl wasn’t Sean Murphy’s plan. Rebecca’s sweet smile and kind heart make Sean feel at home-something he’s never felt before. But a secret lingers between them, and no matter how powerful their attraction, Sean can’t give his heart to a woman he can’t trust. Or can he? As the days pass, Rebecca and Sean find it harder and harder to deny their desire. And they are in beautiful Emerald Lake, the perfect place for falling in love . . .

Have you ever had the experience where you read your first book by a new-to-you author and that’s it? Just with one book, you know you’re hooked and will likely buy anything that author writes in the future? Well, that’s how I felt after reading WITH THIS KISS by Bella Riley (a pseudonym for Bella Andre).

Sean Murphy comes home for his brother’s wedding only to find that his brother is missing, the wedding is off, and the would-be bride (who his mom blames for her son running off) is still there and in charge of the inn where he’s staying (this is also the inn he and his brother co-own; she was working for his brother). From the time Sean sees Rebecca at the inn, this book burned with sexual tension. You know–the kind that simmers on every page and keeps you reading the book into the wee hours of the morning.

However, while I loved the sexual tension and the chemistry between the characters, the thing about this book that made me realize it definitely wouldn’t be my last Bella Riley/Bella Andre book is the depth of emotion. I love that Bella writes her characters in such a way that you feel they could actually be real people.

And when it comes down to the characters, I loved the overall cast, but the hero and heroine were just fantastically well drawn. The heroine is one of those women who’s strong and vulnerable at the same time, and her vulnerability just makes her seem even stronger. The hero is very alpha and tries to stay emotionally locked away, and it’s wonderful to see how the heroine helps him open up and face his demons.

Overall, a truly great book, and I can’t wait to read more by either Bella Riley or Bella Andre. My only (relatively tiny) issue was with the “ghost” at the inn; the supernatural element, to me, didn’t seem that relevant to the story and I was tempted to skip those pages. But thankfully, it was a very small part of the story.

Grade: A-

Heather also reviewed this book and you can find her review here.

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