French Roast by Ava Miles (The Dare Valley Series #2)

French Roast by Ava MilesAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Small-town biz wiz Jill Hale has been in love with her childhood best friend Brian McConnell for as long as she can remember. A falling out led to years of estrangement, but when Brian returns to Dare Valley after trying to make it big as a chef in New York City, Jill’s determined to make amends. She’s convinced that starting a restaurant together will be the perfect win-win situation, allowing her and Brian to work together and play together.

After a series of missteps sliced and diced Brian’s career in the Big Apple, he came home to regroup and find himself. He’s convinced that reestablishing his connection with Jill, the girl who got away, will put his life back on track. And when she approaches him with her plan for going into business together, he’s certain it’s the one way he can have it all—his dream job and his dream girl. Jill and Brian are falling for each other all over again when Brian’s ex sashays into town, intent on sabotaging their reunion. Add in a mysterious investor who’s determined to get Jill on board with his project, and the bond between the couple is tested to the limit. Will their second chance at love implode, or will they find their own recipe for a happy ending?

This is the second in the Dare Valley series and although I did not read the first one I was able to follow along without any problems. This is a wonderful second chance romance with engaging characters that tug at your heart as they struggle with past hurts and the future they want.

Jill Hale has lived in Dare Valley all her life and she has created a thriving and successful coffee shop, Don’t Soy with Me that she loves. Recently she has focused her attention on Brian, a man who came back last summer after a successful career in New York as a chef. He has never told anyone why he came back; just says he needs to find himself again.

Jill and Brian were best friends in high school but she got angry when he did not tell her he was going to The Culinary Institute in New York, she felt betrayed because they use to tell each other everything. Eight years later, a funeral for one of their friends pulls them together and they share a tenuous reconciliation, she is waiting for him to make a move as she is ready for the next step, at least she thinks she is, until she finds out some interesting truths.

As they dance around each other, and decide what and where to go with the relationship, many things get in their way: a business collaboration that they fight over, the fact that Brian has not told anyone why he came back to Dare Valley and then his ex-lover shows up to renew their relationship and bring him back to New York to work with her. These things drive Jill toward collaborating with Mac, a mysterious man who wants to bring a resort to the area that many do not want.

French Roast is a moving book about second chances. Jill has been in love with Brian for years and was heartbroken when he left, now she is ready for their relationship to move to the next phase but he is not sure and that is the problem I found with this book, as much as I like the characters and the story, the indecisiveness of Jill and Brian kind of drove me crazy. Most of the problems come when Simca, the ex shows up and she dangles Brian’s dreams in front of him, yet he does not want to screw up again with Jill. So Jill gets angry and bounces around an offer that has been given to her, helping with a new resort in the area. They truly want each other but in the beginning they are not sure they want to give up dreams they have been striving for.

One thing I was intrigued about are the secondary characters and a bit about their lives. We meet Peggy who is the new sheriff and although she is hardheaded, I see a softer side that she shares at times; she is trying to raise her son in a good town. I also know that she will be the focus of the next book and I am intrigued by her and Mac’s story. Pete, on the other hand is another friend who shows up in several scenes, I do not know much about him, but here he is an ass and it may take a good story to get him back into my graces. Meredith and Tanner, from the first book are also prominently portrayed here; they are very concerned with Jill’s well being and want only the best for her, even if they are concerned about Brian. This is, after all a small town where everyone knows your business.

Jill and Brian are good for each other and once they get over the anger and jealousy, they make a great couple with the chemistry to go along with it. I like that they keep trying as they know they are meant to be together, they definitely are determined and I was pulling for them! All in all a good book with a lot of angst as they strive for that second chance at love.

I give French Roast by Ava Miles 3.75 stars!

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