Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, library binding, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Haven Point #4
Published by HQN Books on June 21st 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Return to Haven Point, where New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne proves there's no sweeter place to fall in love
Protecting the streets of Haven Point isn't just a job for police officer Wyn Bailey, it's a family tradition. But lately she's found herself wanting more, especially from her boss—and overprotective brother's best friend—sexy chief of police, Cade Emmett. The only problem is getting Cade to view her as more than just a little sister.
Cade's hands-off approach with Wyn isn't from lack of attraction. But his complicated past has forced him to conceal his desire. When Wyn is harmed in the line of duty, Cade realizes the depth of his feelings, but can he let his guard down long enough to embrace the love he secretly craves?
This may have been my first visit to Haven Point, but it certainly won’t be my last. It seems to be a terrific little town, and I had a lovely time there.
So even though this is book 4 in the series, I really enjoyed the book, and didn’t feel like I’d missed a whole lot by not being in on the series from the very beginning. But I definitely plan to go back and catch myself up.
Riverbend Road is a little cul-de-sac in Haven Point, and three of the residents on this one street are out main characters in the story.
Wyn Bailey is the daughter of the former police chief. She’s followed the family footsteps and entered the police herself, even though it wasn’t necessarily what she thought she’d be doing. After the deaths of both her twin brother Wyatt and her dad, living out Wyatt’s dream to protect and serve seemed like the right thing to do.
She enjoys the serving part quite a lot, but the protecting isn’t quite the way she intended to spend her life. And now that she’s nearing 30, she’s starting to want a life of her own. Preferably with the current police chief, Cade Emmett. And that’s where the problem lies.
Although her parents took Cade and his brothers into their house as often as he’d let them, Wyn ccertainly doesn’t see Cade as another brother. He’s her older brother’s best friend, and she had a crush on him in high school. Not that either of them is exactly in high school any more.
And now he’s her boss. Which makes things even more difficult. Cade wants to keep their relationship above board – she’s the only female on the tiny Haven Point P.D., and she’s the best officer he has. He needs her on the force.
The problem is that he just plain needs her, and those two things can’t mix. But when Wyn nearly gets herself killed while rescuing a couple of boys from a barn fire, Cade can’t manage to put his feelings for Wyn back in the box where he’s been hiding them.
Especially since Wyn can’t stop herself from encouraging him to let those feelings out at every possible opportunity.
But it’s the newest resident to their little corner of Haven Point that brings everything to a crisis. And she does so in a way that lets both Wyn and Cade be heroes, and makes them figure out what is really important in their lives. At last.
Escape Rating A-: There’s a lot to love about this story. The romance falls into two tropes, both of which I always enjoy. First there’s the big brother’s best friend angle, and then there’s the falling for the boss/at work angle.
Growing up, Wyn and Cade each thought of each other as the proverbial forbidden fruit. He’s just enough older than Wyn that he was out of reach when she was a teen, and of course he would never chase after his best friend’s little sister. There’s always a sweetness to the forbidden nature of this particular trope that I enjoy, because the romance is a fulfillment of a fantasy that neither ever thought could come true, if they thought of it at all.
I also like the falling for the boss trope when it’s done well, and it is here. These two shouldn’t have a relationship because it will seriously mess things up at work, if it doesn’t get them both fired. But there isn’t the kind of power imbalance that can occur with this trope. Not just because Wyn has other options, but because this isn’t a case where they are both so devoted to their careers in this field that compromise means someone, and it’s usually the woman, has to give up something too dear. They are both strong protectors, but Wyn is ready for another professional chapter of her life as well as a personal one. At the same time, they both respect each other’s strengths. They’ve grown towards each other in life and in the job.
The romantic suspense subplot of this story was also nicely done. I’ll admit that I really dislike the tendency of many romantic suspense books to put the heroine in jeopardy of a psychopathic stalker or rapist. In the case of a heroine who is also a cop, it’s particularly distasteful. Instead, here it’s the neighbor Andrea Montgomery who is on the run from a rapist, and Wyn who helps her take back her life, and who rides to the rescue when things go to hell.
Not that Wyn isn’t also in enough danger to make Cade finally get his head out of his ass, but it’s the kind of danger that makes sense for her and her job.
All in all, a lovely story and a great town. I can’t wait to go back.
~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
I am giving away a copy of Riverbend Road to one very lucky US commenter: