A Better Man by Candis Terry (Sunshine Creek Vineyard #1)

A Better Man by Candis TerryAvailable: March 29, 2016 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Avon

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Meet the Kincade brothers: they’ll do what it takes to protect their legacy—but what happens when love gets in the way? Hockey star Jordan Kincade wasted no time ditching Sunshine Valley and everyone who mattered for a career in the NHL—a truth Jordan confronts when his parents’ deaths bring him home. Now he’s back to make amends, which begins with keeping his younger sister from flunking out of school. It’s just his luck that the one person who can help is the girl whose heart he broke years ago.

Lucy Diamond has racked up a number of monumental mistakes in her life, the first involving a certain blue-eyed charmer. She has no intention of falling for Jordan Kincade again, but when he shows up asking her to help one of her students, Lucy just can’t say no. Worse, the longer he’s back, the more she sees how much he’s changed. And so when a blistering kiss turns to more, she can’t help but wonder if her heart will be crushed again . . . or if she’ll discover true love with a better man.

Small town romances are some of my favorites and the fact that this is set at a family Winery is all the more reason I wanted to read it. This is the first book in a new series about family, wine and romance.

The Kincade family runs a winery in Washington State. The large family is close but various businesses and jobs take them away from the area, but when tragedy strikes they reunite to face the pain. The five brothers and one younger sister are grief stricken as they bury their parents and decide on the future of their family and the business.

Jordan is a famous Hockey player helping his teams try to make the season playoffs when he hears the news. He immediately goes home and feels the guilt of being away from the family for so many years and makes a commitment to the family that he is all in and will deal with his job later. His brother Ryan who is running the winery gives him the task of finding out what is wrong with his younger sister, Nicole, something more than just their parents death has bothered her for several months, now is the time to become someone he has never been before, a big brother.

Lucy Diamond is one of Nicole’s teachers and sent home a note of concern. She grew up in this town but was the quiet one in school and although many do not remember her, she remembers Jordan. After school she went away and entered into a disastrous marriage only to return home with a new name and a new view of the world. She knows the minute Jordan is back to town and with his sister in danger of not graduating it is only a matter of time before they run into each other, so she prepares her heart.

A great start to a new series featuring many of my favorite things. I love the family dynamics of these close knit siblings and even though they are far away from each other for many years, I enjoyed the camaraderie they all feel.

Jordan is feeling some deep guilt, he left home at an early age when he was drafted into hockey and other than coming home for celebrations he has been away. When he finds out that Lucy is Nicole’s teacher he realizes he also needs to make amends to her for standing her up in high school. Whew, he has a lot to do at home, and this does not include what he needs to do about his team and contract. I love how he wants to make himself a better man and deal with what he has left behind, and the way he treats Lucy is so sweet, making her feel things she has never felt before.

Lucy is delightful, she is dealing with the aftermath of a horrible marriage but she loves the town and the kids she teaches. She is very invested in Nicole and you can tell in everything she does that she wants her to succeed. When she sees Jordan for the first time in years, she is flustered and tries to not show much but he knows how he treated her and apologies almost immediately and from that moment on he seems to focus on her, I love their chemistry.

The pace works well, slow and steady with a bit of drama and a mystery that does not end with this story. I love the Kincade family, each with their own personality and backgrounds; I see the potential for many stories which I am looking forward to reading. I like the fact that there is a side story, as Nicole’s problem is very important to the overall story arc, no one knew why Nicole was angry, it started before the parents died and she refused to talk about it, but when Nicole finally confides to others her fears she realizes her family has her back. And this opens up many questions and a mystery that will blend into the next book or two. I like that things are not always tied up in a neat bow at the end and will be waiting to read more in upcoming books. I did miss that the winery was not as featured as I would have hoped, but I know with the secrets and lies that were unveiled the winery setting will definitely be front and center soon.

I give A Better Man by Candis Terry 4.25 stars!

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