Cider Brook by Carla Neggers (Swift River Valley #3)

Cider Brook by Carla NeggersAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Unlikely partners bound by circumstance…or by fate? Being rescued by a good-looking, bad-boy firefighter isn’t how Samantha Bennett expected to start her stay in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. Now she has everyone’s attention—especially that of Justin Sloan, her rescuer, who wants to know why she was camped out in an abandoned old New England cider mill.

Samantha is a treasure hunter who has returned to Knights Bridge to solve a 300-year-old mystery and salvage her good name. Justin remembers her well. He’s the one who alerted her late mentor to her iffy past and got her fired. But just because he doesn’t trust her doesn’t mean he can resist her. Samantha is daring, determined, seized by wanderlust—everything that strong, stoic Justin never knew he wanted. Until now…

The third in a series about this beautiful area of the world and the engaging people that live here, I was entertained and immersed in this story about trust and family.

Samantha Bennett is a treasure hunter and it seems she was born into the profession. Most of those in her family are famous for their own archeological adventures so when she comes to a place looking for pirates and treasure, she can’t do it quietly. Her grandfather passed away over two years ago and she has been going through and cataloging his possessions. She loved the stories he told and is fascinated with the pirate Captain Farraday and his life. When she comes across a painting of a cider mill and an unfinished novel that could be clues about Farraday, she hitches a ride with her uncle hoping to camp in the area and find the information she needs in Knights Bridge.

Two years ago she was working for Duncan McCaffrey, a man familiar with Knights Bridge who now has family there, she failed to tell him about her history, and claiming trust issues he fired her. He died a few weeks later and she has always regretted how things ended. His son Dylan lives in Knights Bridge now and she would like to talk to him about his father and make amends. It is quite ironic that her first night in the woods she is caught in a fire at the mill and is rescued by Justin Sloan, one of many Sloan family members and a close friend with Dylan. The tangled web surrounding Sam, the Sloan’s, Dylan and others in the area is thick and causes trust issues along with secrets and lies, add in an upcoming wedding, a growing romance and family dynamics and you have a story with intrigue and passion.

This is the first book by this author I have read but I can say it will not be the last; I enjoy her voice and look forward to reading more from her. The way she describes the area surrounding the cider mill made me feel like I was standing there on a rainy morning with the creek bubbling in the distance, so enchanting. The story is quiet without much action or suspense as we delve into a three hundred year old mystery of pirates and treasure. Samantha is very likable, a woman who stands on the outside of life, believing she is not a part of what is happening. I wanted her to let herself go, enjoy the friendships she was beginning to make but many times she would over-think and walk away. And what an amazing man Justin is, I liked the way he interacts with others, a straight forward approach, you always knew where you stood and I like that he never really pushed Sam, he just let her come to her own conclusions, letting her quietly become part of the community.

The two together have chemistry but it was slow in coming, they are attracted to each other but with trust and many things left unspoken it was hard for them to make a move. The romance is light as most of the book is about the mystery of Farraday and the friends and family that are entwined into the story. I enjoyed the secondary characters, there is a connection to the first two books but I had no problem following along with the story.

I really enjoyed the ending; both the mystery and the relationship between Justin and Sam had satisfying conclusions. All in all an entertaining story with a quiet romance interwoven between a mystery and the families that inhabits a quaint New England area.

I give Cider Brook by Carla Neggers 4 stars!

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