Falling for Her Enemy

Falling for Her Enemy

by Victoria James

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633754706
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 11/09/2015
Series: Still Harbor , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 189
Sales rank: 19,700
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto. She is a mother to two young children, one very disorderly feline, and wife to her very own hero.

Victoria attended Queen's University and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She then earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing.

Her dream of being a published romance author was realized by Entangled in 2012. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.

Victoria would love to hear from her readers! You can visit her at www.victoriajames.ca or Twitter @vicjames101 or send her an email at Victoria@victoriajames.ca

Read an Excerpt

Falling for Her Enemy

a Still Harbor book


By Victoria James, Alethea Spiridon Hopson

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Victoria James
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-470-6


CHAPTER 1

If the Grinch himself had walked into the bakery, eaten all the pastries, stolen all the candy canes from the tree in the window, and the cash out of the till, it would still have been a more promising Christmas than the impending one. It was like every day brought more bad news.

Alexandra McAllister stared through blurry, tired eyes at Mrs. Cooper who was currently wringing her wrinkled hands and frowning.

"I'm so, so sorry my dear. I know you had your heart set on buying this bakery from me in five years, but I can't wait that long." The elderly woman grabbed one of the old-fashioned candy canes in the glass jar beside the cash register, ripped off the plastic wrapping, and broke off a piece with her false teeth. Alex watched her, wondering if the hard candy might pull Mrs. Cooper's dentures loose. She tried to be a good friend to the woman she had grown to adore, even though this news was disastrous. She was able to keep this in perspective. She could do that. She was calm and collected.

Or maybe she was reacting so calmly because nothing compared to the news her soon-to-be brother-in-law Matt Lane had delivered last month. Matt was a private investigator and had shaken her world when he'd sat her down and told her that his new client thought he might be Cassy's father. At first she'd clung to the hope that maybe this was all a mistake, but the evidence pointed to the fact that this man, Hayden Brooks, could be Cassy's biological father. They still needed to do a paternity test — nothing was certain until that happened.

"You shouldn't be worried about me with everything you have going on. I understand. This wasn't meant to be. You have to take care of you and your husband." At least she had come up with something polite to say. It was true. She was just leaving out the part about how this would completely screw up her plans and would mess with her need to provide security for her daughter.

Mrs. Cooper's eyes filled with tears again, and she waved the candy cane around. "Oh my dear, if only I could give you the bakery. But now that Martin had that awful stroke and I have to find a retirement home for us to live in, I won't have the money. I need every penny, because those places are a fortune."

"I know, of course. There will be other bakeries. I'll have more opportunities come my way," she said, lying. She grabbed a candy cane and began eating with her soon to be former employer. They crunched in silence a few minutes, both of them too agitated to lick and enjoy. She knew she had so much to be grateful for — a home, a fresh start in Still Harbor, her family, and most of all her adopted daughter, Cassandra. But owning her own bakery would have been the security she needed for the future. In five years she would have been able to do it. She would have squirreled away money each year. Mrs. Cooper had already given her the figure she needed in order to buy. Except poor Mr. Cooper had suffered a stroke, and they were left with no choice but to sell now. There was no way she could come up with the money on such short notice.

"What about a small business loan, dear? I know that would be taking on more of a burden, but we know this bakery makes excellent money. Surely Mr. Tuttle over at the bank would help you with a payment plan. Maybe I could put in a good word."

"I wouldn't be approved. I've taken on a mortgage with my sisters for the house, and I have Cassandra's expenses. It would be too much. I know I wouldn't get the loan."

"Oh dear, oh dear," the elderly woman said. "And right before Christmas too."

Alex swallowed the last bit of her candy cane and decided she needed to ditch the self-pity long enough for Mrs. Cooper to feel better and leave. Then she would wallow in pity privately in the form of an assortment of Christmas cupcakes. "Well, it's closing time now anyway. You should get home. It's been a long day. Don't worry about me. I'll figure something out," she said, forcing a smile on her face. Right. Figure something out.

She gave another fake smile as Mrs. Cooper made her way to the front of the store. "I'll be sure to lock up and put up the closed sign," Mrs. Cooper called out.

Alex barely heard her. She was busy sinking behind the old cash desk. On her way down she managed to grab the box of cupcakes she had planned on bringing home. She sat there, alone in the empty bakery, and wondered how the heck her life, which had finally seemed to be going so well, had just blown up this week. Ripping open the lid, she looked at the mixture of Christmas cupcakes and decided that the candy cane surprise, egg nog, and peppermint chocolate cupcakes would be her first victims.

She retrieved a takeout dish, lined up her cupcakes like three shot glasses at a bar, and prayed they'd have the same effect on her mood.

She took a bite of the first one, slowly closing her eyes and letting the sweet mix of vanilla, chocolate, and sugar take her far, far away from the place that she was in right now. Leaning her head back she tried to forget that tomorrow the life she'd carefully constructed for herself was about to be seriously jeopardized. This cupcake was going to be dedicated to misery, her current state at the moment.

She eyed the peppermint chocolate, deciding not to finish the rest of the candy cane surprise. If she ate half of each cupcake, it would be like she'd eaten only one and half, which would make her total three for the day because of her earlier samplings. She needed to start working out. More than her walk to The Sweet Spot Bakery every day — it wasn't proving enough of a counterbalance to the calories consumed. The extra fifteen pounds she had packed on was proof of that. Running could help. Her sister, Kate, and her fiancé, Matt, had invited her to join them on their jogs. Those two ran almost every morning, but they were so in shape, there was no way she'd be able to keep up. Maybe she should start training in private and then join up with them in a few months. Maybe they'd be like, "Wow, you're an amazing runner, Alex ..." She stuffed the last piece of chocolate in her mouth, thinking she should make that a New Year's resolution.

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you." She almost choked on the dense cupcake in her throat when a voice, a very deep, amused voice rang out in the supposedly closed, empty bakery.

Alex swiftly wiped off the crumbs from her apron, her body humming with anxiety made even worse with the amount of sugar now running through her bloodstream.

She slowly stood, mortification drowning her, as she faced what she hoped was an early gift from Santa Claus. She tried to inconspicuously lick the crumbs from the corners of mouth as she stared into the bluest eyes and the most gorgeous face she'd ever seen. She didn't need to see a mirror to know that she was a wreck. Judging by the way the man looked like he was trying to hold back a smile, she looked even worse than a wreck. His smile was delicious, as was the slight stubble across a great jawline and the dark, inky hair that was delectably mussed up ...

"Hi, sorry if I startled you. The door wasn't locked so I assumed you were still open."

Mrs. Cooper was becoming so forgetful. "No, no worries ... I was just um —" She felt for the box and plate with her foot and surreptitiously tried to hide them from his line of vision. "— cleaning up for the night. Can I help you with something? We're actually closed, but I think there are still some nice baked goods to choose from."

"I'm not here for the bakery. I'm looking for Alexandra McAllister."

It was him. It had to be. She'd never seen this man before, not that Still Harbor was such a tiny town that she knew everyone, but she could tell he was different. She took in the beautifully fitting black coat over a suit. The tie. The way he stood there, as though he owned the place.

This wasn't how she was supposed to meet the man who wanted to take her daughter away. She was supposed to appear strong and formidable. She was supposed to have the upper hand. Right now, she looked like an out-of-control version of the Pillsbury Doughboy's wife.

She searched his face to find similarities to Cassy's. She didn't have to look for long. Cassy had dark hair. Blue eyes as well. It was wrong of her to not be happy for her daughter and she would be if this man proved to be who he thought he was. Cassy would have a father that cared enough to track her down. She could be happy and very, very terrified at the same time, because what would bring happiness for Cassy could destroy her.

But now he was here. Who was she to deny her daughter the love of a biological father? She would have given anything to have one of her parents walk back into her life and profess their love for her, to tell her that they were here to take care of her. Who was she to take that, him, away from Cassy? If he was Cassy's father.

She looked down at her hands, which were currently braced against the worn marble counter, smudges of chocolate around a few of her nails, and squeezed her eyes shut. She wasn't ready for this. She wasn't ready to meet him, not at a disadvantage like this. She opened her eyes to find him staring at her intently, like her reaction had just told him who she was. "I'm Alexandra ... Alex."

He held out his hand, face now serious. "I'm Hayden Brooks."

She wiped the chocolate from her fingers and extended her hand. His larger one engulfed hers in a firm, no-nonsense shake.

She was not ready for him, for the problems he was bringing with him. He threatened everything she had worked for, longed for, yearned for her entire life. She had walked through hell, only to finally end up living her dream with her little girl. But now Hayden Brooks was here and determined to shatter her life.

She quickly withdrew her hand and stuffed it into the front pocket of her holly-printed apron. "You're a day early."


Hayden stared at the cute brunette who looked like she was either going to cry or reach across the counter and strangle him with his own tie. She was beautiful, undeniably, but not in a made-up, manufactured way. She wasn't decked out. In fact, she was the opposite. Her Christmas apron was covered with chocolate and was crooked, hanging loosely off her neck. Her hair was dark and shiny and at some point during the day had probably been pulled back; now most of it was hanging around her gorgeous face. Her green eyes reminded him of the color of the cedar roping he'd noticed around the bakery door, and her lips were a gorgeous, kissable pink except for the dark brown chocolate in the corners.

But more importantly than all that, she was the mother of his might-be daughter. What would bring a single woman to adopt a child? He'd never think of doing something like that. He'd been wondering this when he got over the shock of finding out he might have a child he never knew about. This woman had adopted Cassandra and was now raising her, and if he was Cassandra's father, he owed this woman everything.

"I thought I'd get settled into the Harbor House Inn tonight before we met tomorrow. But when I was driving through town, I saw the lights on at the bakery. I knew you worked here, so I thought I'd drop in." He was trying to keep his voice as calm and agreeable as possible. That was how he had to play this whole thing. The more this woman liked him, the easier it would be to get what he wanted, and the faster he'd be able to get out of this town and get back to work.

She stared out the window and he followed her gaze. It had been snowing on his way into town, the drive getting progressively worse as he left the city and took the rural roads to the middle of nowhere. From what he saw, it was a picturesque little town, like one of those places you'd see on a postcard. There was cedar roping on the stores in the downtown center, a big town square with a giant Christmas tree, and that overall charm that a city couldn't offer. It seemed like a great place to raise a kid, if a person didn't have any other ambitions than ... family.

"Sure, not a problem. Harbor House is a nice place. It was probably a good idea to come into town tonight since we're supposed to get a bunch of snow tomorrow."

"Yeah, I'd heard about that." He didn't want to be chit-chatting but he understood he needed to be patient with her and that she was evaluating him. After speaking to his lawyer, he knew the best way to deal with all of this was by keeping it out of the court system for as long as possible. If he and the adopted mother could come to some sort of an understanding, that would be best for all of them, especially the little girl.

"So, um, Cassandra is at home right now. I live with my sisters and their kids."

He nodded. "That's great ... It must be a challenge juggling everything."

Something flashed in her eyes, and she lifted her chin slightly. "Not that much of a challenge. Nothing I can't handle. It's an absolute pleasure."

He got it. "I'm here to find out if I have a daughter. We'll take things one step at a time. I think we can both agree that we only want the best for Cassandra, right?"

She nodded, her features relaxing slightly. "We'll be going to the Santa Claus parade tomorrow afternoon. Three o'clock. The whole family. If you'd like to join us, that might be a nice way to meet Cassy without her becoming suspicious of anything. Then we can take it from there."

Take it from there meant she'd scope him out some more and decide whether or not she'd let him have the paternity test taken. That was fine; he had no intention of screwing anything up. The more agreeable he was, the faster this whole thing would go and hopefully be uncomplicated. He would approach this as a real estate deal. Lure the client in, charm them, make them have faith in him and his abilities, and then close the deal. That technique had never failed him before, so why would it now?

As for kids and Santa Claus parades ... he'd have to fake it. The last kid he'd spent any time with was on the flight from Vancouver to Toronto, and it hadn't been pleasant. The whining had set his nerves on edge, but luckily earphones had drowned that out; he didn't expect he'd be able to do that with his own kid. He cleared his throat, realizing that Alex was staring at him, looking worried. "So where should I meet you?"

"We can meet right outside the bakery. It's a good spot, and if the kids get cold, they can come in here and warm up."

He nodded, then nudged his chin in the direction of her phone that was sitting on the counter. "Do you have any pictures of her? Can I see one?"

Her mouth dropped open slightly, but she nodded after a few seconds and picked up her phone. Her wallpaper was a picture of her and Cassandra. Her hand trembled as she passed him the phone. Emotion, the kind that snuck up on a guy, ambushed him until all his senses were awake. He studied the little girl who was beaming at the camera. She had the kind of smile that could make a stranger smile. Alexandra was holding her, and they were on a swing. They looked ... happy, like one of those stock photography pictures of a mother and daughter in a new picture frame.

He cleared his throat. "She's really cute."

"I think so."

He continued to search the picture. She had dark hair and blue eyes, but that didn't mean anything ... much ... except that it was the same as his ... and his mother's.

"I guess you're probably looking for a resemblance?"

He looked up. She was staring back at him, insecurity stamped on every lovely feature. This entire thing was kind of surreal — finding out he may have a daughter, tracking her down to this small town, and then meeting the woman who had adopted her. He felt warm, and he didn't know if it was the bakery filled with the comforting smells of cinnamon and sugar, the large Christmas tree in the great big store window with its faded multi-colored lights, or the melancholic sound of Nat King Cole's voice softly singing in the background. Snow was falling outside, blanketing the already pretty town in a sheet of white, making him believe for a second in fate and destiny. Was this all supposed to happen like this? Was this the way his life was supposed to play out? Maybe it was a second chance for him, a chance to correct the biggest regret of his life.

Shit, he'd better get it together before he turned into Norman Rockwell. He rolled his shoulders and passed her phone back. Less than an hour in this town and he was turning into a sap. Get it together, man. He needed to get back to his room at the inn, go over the proposal for work, and then review his strategy for this ... situation.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Falling for Her Enemy by Victoria James, Alethea Spiridon Hopson. Copyright © 2015 Victoria James. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Falling for Her Enemy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
What+a+sweet+story.+++Loved+the+characters+and+it+was+a+fun+read.+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed both books in this series. I am concerned, though, that they've been out for quite a long time and there's been no third book for Cara's story that I can find! Please tell me it's still coming. Otherwise I'll be really disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story! So sweet & romantic!
TobiForgetHousework More than 1 year ago
Alex has done for everyone else her whole life. She's created a life and loving family that makes her heart happy. Hayden is the one man that can come in and swoop it all away with a paternity test with her adopted daughter. Though the beginning was rough between Alex and Hayden, the romance between them builds slowly through the story and had me flipping the pages wanting more. When Hayden bonds with Cassy it melted my heart, especially when he tucks her in to bed. If you enjoy sweet romances that will light your Christmas tree I highly recommend Falling for Her Enemy.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Such a feel-good read! If you've read Falling for the P.I. or The Billionaire's Christmas Proposal , then you've seen teasers about this book, and you were probably as anxious as I was to get to read it! Matt, the hero in P.I. alludes to something he knows about Alex and Cassy at the end of his book, and since Proposal is happening at the same time as this book and Hayden's close friends with its hero Ethan, we see glimpses of him in that book and get hints about what's going on. Totally. Worth. The. Wait. :) (And no worries if you haven't read either of those books, because this one works okay as a standalone too.) I really enjoyed Alex and Hayden's story. They were just adorable together--once they let themselves be together, that is. The question of Cassy's paternity was like a giant sword, though, hanging over their heads for so much of the book; it even had me on edge! I like how Ms. James resolved that issue--very satisfactorily done. The book left me with all kinds of warm cozy feelings, and has me almost looking forward to the white, fluffy stuff they're saying we're going to be getting this weekend--even if the chances I'll get stranded in a dodgy B&B with a totally hot billionaire are practically nil. The third "sister", Cara's, story is strongly hinted at toward the end--I can't wait to see how things turn out for her as well :) Rating: 4 stars / A- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
ObsessedwithBooks More than 1 year ago
Alex’s life isn’t going quite the way she planned. She had plans to save enough money to buy the bakery that she worked in. Except the nice elderly lady who owned the bakery couldn't wait that long due to health problems. Not to mention she had found out that the man who possibly may be her (adopted) daughter's father was flying to Toronto to get a paternity test done so he could find out if this woman who showed up on his doorstep was right and he had a child. I'm noticing a pattern when reading this series. It's not a bad pattern, but it's easy to see where the story is going. Each of the three "sisters" have adopted a little girl. Each of the "sisters" have had traumatic pasts that are linked into why they are single parents of said children. They live in the same house and their kids are happy, well adjusted, and are close-knit. Just like Janie in Falling For The P.I., Cassy is absolutely adorable and was fun to read about. I really came to like Alex and could definitely understand how she felt like she was about to fall into an ocean when Hayden appeared and wanted to take Cassy back to Vancouver if the DNA test proved Cassy to be his. Hayden was easy to like, even if he wanted to take Cassy away from Alex if the DNA test proved that Cassy was his. He made sure to make both Alex and Cassy comfortable with him around and not let Cassy know exactly why he was there. If I had one complaint, it would be that the use of the words perfect, hot, gorgeous, etc. was a bit much. I get it, but it doesn't need to be said every fifteen pages. Also, I get that he wanted to take her to bed, but good Lord, that seemed to be all he wanted once he stopped thinking of Cassy and Alex as a business project. Overall the story was enjoyable and was a quick read. Out of the two stories in the series so far, this is my favorite. I'm looking forward to reading Cara's book when it comes out! Note: Falling For Her Enemy is part of the Entangled Bliss Line of books. These are sweet romance novels with sex scenes behind doors. There is mild cussing and foreplay. I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. This review can also be found at Once Upon A Book.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
A sweet, heartwarming story about family of heart, magical Christmas time, and finding the forever kind of love. The story has some difficult issues handled in a beautiful matter. Alex was neglected child, whose mother walked out on her. She had adopted Casey, loved and cared for her, giving Casey the tools to be the beautiful, smart, trusting, loving girl that she is. She was on her five year plan to save money for the bakery she wanted to own one day. All was well in her world. Until Hayden walked into their lives. Hayden lost his loving mother at young age, and grew up with his dad, on the CEO's office or on the construction side. One day he was told that he had fathered a little girl several years ago, the result of a one night stand during a difficult week in his life. The emotions run high in the story, and that is to be expected, after all, a little girl's life is on the stand here. With the insecurities Alex has, coming from her childhood, it is understandable that she doesn't feel hospitable towards Hayden. But there are so many moments in the story that brought a huge smile on my face. There's a conversation about an ugly Christmas tree, that was just a delight, the career goals Casey has had me laughing out loud. The relationship Casey and Hayden form is so tender and dear, they have such a special connection. The connection between Alex and Hayden is special as well, I loved how uncomfortable Hayden was with all the 'feelings'. But he was falling, and he was falling hard. The passion between them hot, even though there are no explicit scenes in the story. Strong, charming and loving characters, families formed by love instead of blood, romance that makes you sigh, snow storms and Christmas cookies, all makes to one enjoyable, touching, and entertaining tale ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
Definitely a pulls-at-your-heartstrings kind of read! Loved it! I couldn't figure out whether to love Hayden or hate him, but there were just too many lovable moments and I admit it, I was weak and let him weasle his way into my heart. :) Hayden Brooks is minding his own business being his typical workaholic self, when his world is blown away. A one night stand from years prior shows up at his door to announce he's a Dad ... of a 6 year old daughter that she put up for adoption when she was born. Alexandra McAllister gets her own shock when she gets notified that there's a man claiming possible paternity to her daughter. Hayden comes to Still Harbor to meet Alex and try to convince her to let him have a DNA test done on Cassy. They spend time together on several occasions to get to know each other. They start to feel like true family outings. When the paternity test results come back just in time for Christmas, what will happen to the feelings Hayden and Alex are having for each other, and will Cassy have a new Dad, but lose her Mom?
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Wow, this was such a pleasure to read. I was captivated from the first page to the last with a story that was heartwarming, sweet and just magical. It was filled with so much love and it evokes such emotions that range from laughter to tears. These characters were so embedded into my heart that I was vested in their happiness and their journey. This is my first story by Victoria James and it definitely won't be my last, this did not disappoint. I could not put this story down and read it in one seating. "You are going to break my heart... You want to take my daughter away from me" Hayden Brooks had just opened his door to come face to face with a one night stand that he had been with seven years ago. He was furious to be told that she had a baby girl and gave it up for adoption. He had never been one to want a family, work was his life, but knowing that he had a daughter out there he had to find her. Alexandra McAllister had given up her dream of college in exchange of another, to adopt a child of her own and raise her with the loving support of her foster sisters. She fell in love with her daughter Cassandra the day she met her, years ago when she was an infant and couldn't love her anymore if she had given birth to her. So when Alex meets Hayden she wants to hate him, but instead the more time they spend together they both begin to fall for each other. But what will happen when the fraternity test results come back? Is he Cassandra's father?You have to read to appreciate this heartwarming, emotional read that will pull at your heart strings. Highly recommended! Loved it! Received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
TangledUpInBooks More than 1 year ago
Actual Rating 3.5 out of 5 Stars! Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating! Sometimes there's nothing I love more than a really emotional book or series. I swear the Still Harbor books are going to be the death of my emotions. I was in a near constant state of tears through almost every point in this book. Although if you read that blurb there's really nothing else you could expect from a storyline like that. The threat of a very happy and sweet family being ripped apart. I loved the way it was written though, for the most part. So first I'll get to the couple of things that I didn't like before I move on to my praise. First, and I cannot stress enough how much of a oh-please-no-just-stop this is, but this series focuses on three very intelligent women yet all three of them seem to say a phrase constantly, that the way it is spelled in the books, really grates on me. That phrase would be "ohmigod" exactly like that. I just, I don't even know how to explain it. I see that and I'm like why? Why? The other thing I didn't understand was there's a moment when Hayden is in Alex's driveway waiting for her and he's having a conversation on his phone with a friend. The conversation you read goes something like this: "Yeah. Which one? Oh you think that's funny?" All you get is Hayden's side of the conversation. I realize that said conversation literally has no kind of impact whatsoever on the plot so you don't need to know what's being said but the scene was in Hayden's point of view for crying out loud! Why even have that phone call at all without seeing both sides? Why have a long paragraph of one sided conversation? Why not just have him lost in thought or I don't know....anything! It just felt really weird and off and it broke up my momentum because I was chugging along and then I paused to wonder why this was happening. I mean, I realize that both of these things are not anything major and I'm pretty much nitpicking, but both ended up breaking up my reading flow. On with the praise. I feel like, as a mother myself, it was extremely easy to slip myself into Alex's shoes and truly sympathize and feel everything she was going through. When I tried to imagine someone possibly taking my son away from me I understood how very real Victoria James wrote Alex. She did such a good job with her character and Alex is definitely going to be my favorite of this series. She's just this really amazing force of good and I wish that more people in the world could be exactly like this woman. It'd be a much better place that's for sure. While, by the end, I loved both characters, it took me a bit longer to warm up to Hayden. He comes off like this elitist snob most of the time. Looking down on public schools and things of that nature. But he did have moments of extreme sweetness and this natural fatherly connection to little Cassy that melted my heart and made it difficult to hold how he was raised against him. Since I've already written a novel here myself I'll wrap this up by saying that, sure, there were a couple of things that annoyed me, but I just love this series. It's sweet and emotional. The romances will leave you swooning and breathless. I'm not sure how my heart will survive the last book, but I can't imagine it being more emotional that this one but really good all the same.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Alex McAllister is trying to build a safe and secure life for her and her adopted daughter, Cassy. The sudden arrival of Hayden Brooks, the possible biological father of her child, has thrown her world into a tailspin. What's going to happen to her family? Alex is a giving and beautiful woman. She survived a rough childhood. She knows pain and abandonment. She will protect Cassy. Hayden is stunned that he might be a father from a one-night stand. There is no way he won't claim his child, but why is he so attracted to Alex. He still hurts. The death of his mother devastated him. He compensates by working non-stop. He's not sure how to deal with a precocious child, but he wants to learn. I enjoyed the interaction between these characters. It was emotional, romantic and at times humorous. I wanted them to be a family. I enjoyed Still Harbor and her people. It was nice catching up. The story was smartly written with great dialogue and wonderful characters. It was impossible to put down Falling For Her Enemy. It's a perfect holiday treat. Victoria James doesn't disappoint.
Lori-Gonzo More than 1 year ago
Very beautiful story! Hayden and Alex will steal your heart! This was such a moving story. My heart hurt throughout feeling the emotions Alex felt. And then it went out to Hayden, who only wanted to do right by his daughter. But the way he treated Alex was so sweet, so endearing, oh how I loved him. Alex was so afraid of her feelings for him. And that one scene at the B&B, just brought tears to my eyes. They were both in need of love and a family but too afraid to even think about the possibility. For me, this story just touched my heart and made me feel so in tune with all the characters. Cassy was a gem and stole the story. How could anyone not love her! She was funny, sweet, very articulate for such a young age. And she connected instantly with Hayden. Her interactions with Alex made me smile, her easy acceptance of what her momma would tell her. I loved this story, maybe more than the first one. I cannot wait for Cara's story. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
I just started to read holiday-theme books, and Falling for Her Enemy was full of holiday spirit that just made it enjoyable to read. From the very beginning we get to meet Alex McAllister, who has done anything and everything to provide for her adopted daughter. With the hopes of buying the bakery that she has been working at for years, she is disappointed when the owner informs her that she will be selling the property soon. With no idea of how she is going to get the money, she decides to focus on what she can do now that her daughter's biological father is said to be looking for her now that he knows that he has a daughter. Not knowing what he wants terrifies her, and the possibility of having her daughter taken away from her is not an option for her. So as she waits for the stranger to show up at Still Harbor she plans her next move. That all soon changes when the stranger does show up unexpectedly at the bakery, and when she sees him eye-to-eye, she knows that is going to be in deep trouble now that she knows what he looks like and how nice he seems to be. Hayden Brooks has a very successful career in the city, but his playboy ways have come back to haunt him when his ex/one-night-stand gets word of his success and has come back to tell him that he fathered a baby with her. In return of her silence she wants money, but Hayden is quick to let her know that she is not going to get anything until he finds his little girl. So now he is at Still Harbor ready to take back what is his, but not before performing a paternity test. With the holidays approaching he knows that he doesn't have a lot of time to prove that Alex's daughter is his, but he is willing to do anything to prove that he is going to be a good father to both Alex and the little girl. Which soon changes when his relationship with Alex gets stronger as they get to know each other, but the surprising revelation at the end changes the course of their lives. I really liked the overall idea of the book, the characters are well thought out, and their back stories made the book that much more interesting to read. I could understand the decisions that Alex had to make in order to protect herself and give another a second chance. Though it is a full novel, it felt like a novella to me. The characters don't seem to grow much, and it all just happens in a very short time. There were things that were left unanswered as well, which could have made the story complete and whole. Overall the story does make you feel like it's Christmas already, and it really has the perfect festive romance to make you want to pick up this holiday. I still recommend it if you are looking to read a quick festive read. :) ***ARC provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.***
IreneC More than 1 year ago
4.5 heartwarming stars Falling for Her Enemy was a beautiful and heartfelt read. The storyline was touching and emotional, I really felt for both Alex and Hayden and what they had to deal with. I enjoyed watching Alex and Hayden come together, it took time for them to open up and trust each other. A huge draw for me was watching Hayden with Cassy, Alex's little girl. They made my heart swoon with their interactions, Cassy was such a sweetheart, loved her. Overall this was a well written heartwarming read with beautiful characters that will leave you with a heart full of love. I'm really enjoying the Still Harbor series, Falling for Her Enemy is the second book and while each book can be read as a standalone I highly recommend them both.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
Falling for Her Enemy, Victoria James Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre:  Romance,  I’ve enjoyed many books from Entangled now and loved the description of this one. What I forgot to check though was the imprint designation.....My Fault and I own up to it! This is from the Bliss imprint,  and though they are great for many readers, for me they’re just too sweet, too heart-warming and gentle. I need a bit more drama which comes via different imprints. Entangled say about Bliss: Romance is in the air at Bliss with fun, fresh, flirty stories of modern women and every-day men finding their happily ever after in sweetest of places. Its a perfect description and just what so many readers want – but not me. Having said that, this was an easy read, with likeable characters and storyline, Alex is so likeable and easy to empathise with. She and her chosen sisters and kids are so close, and have been through so much that when Hayden comes looking to see if her adopted daughter is his child, one he knew nothing about unti recently, its awful to think of what it might mean for them. Hayden is a nice man, wealthy, and determined to give his child the best, but he lives a long way away and if he takes Cassy then Alex will only see her maybe a couple of times a year. It's story that makes you feel for all of them, happy as they are as a family money is tight, and the future looking a bit scary financially. Hayden doesn’t have that problem, he has money but little family other than his elderly father – Cassie would be so welcome in his life. Whichever whay things go you just know someone is going to get hurt and it made me feel sad for whoever it would be. They both want the best for Cassy, but what is best for her?  Overall though I enjoyed this it was simply just a bit too happy, simplistic, sweet, charming for me. As always of course its well written and edited, and if you’re looking for a relaxing, simple read with a perfect HEA then this is one that could be perfect for you.     Stars: Three from me, a good book but not really my kind of read, this will be five star if sweet and light is what you want. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
aprilrenee1976 More than 1 year ago
Sweet and Emotional Christmas Read This is a sweet, emotional read which is part of a trilogy but each can be read as standalones. This story is about Alexandra (Alex) McAllister, her little girl Cassy and Hayden Brooks. Alex and Cassy are single mom and daughter –she adopted Cassy when she was a baby because she knew what it was like to be unwanted. She was a product of the foster care system-her and her “3 sisters”. She and Cassy live in Still Harbour. She gets word that a man has shown up in town because he believes her daughter is his bio daughter. Now Alex is scared she will lose her adopted daughter to this handsome man who just wants to do a DNA test and take her and run. What can she due but fight for not only her daughter but fight for their future. Hayden got word from an ex-girlfriend that she gave up their daughter for adoption several years ago without telling him. Now after tracking down that child, he is in town to do the DNA test and if the child is his, take her back home with him even knowing she has been adopted. But after meeting her beautiful adoptive mother, things aren’t so cut and dry anymore. This headstrong, alpha male is bowled over by a precious child, her sassy and sweet adoptive mother but still the emotions rule him. He doesn’t want to let love in his life . There are some emotional twists and turns in the story that take you til the every end. This is a good read and I do recommend the story , in fact, I will be looking for the next book in the series. My Rating: 4.0 stars **** ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for my honest review****
BridgetsBookBungalow More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars When Victoria James writes a book, it’s no surprise that I’m going to like it. But when she writes a book where the heroine is sitting on the floor stuffing her face with cupcakes when she first meets the hero? I’m going to more than like it. I’m going to LOVE it (foodie for life). Which it’s a good thing I loved it because it would be a shame to be disappointed after that freaking cliffhanger at the end of the first book. Ahemmm. You can’t just drop a bomb like THAT on a woman Matt!!! We first met Alex in Falling for the PI. She’s one of Kate’s caring sisters, as well as the mother to six-year-old Cassy. The whole premise of Falling for Her Enemy is that Alex’s family unit is being threatened. Threatened by the big shot business man Hayden Brooks. You see, Hayden was approached by an alleged one-night stand from years ago who claimed to have given Hayden’s daughter up for adoption–a daughter that Hayden never knew about. Being a man with strong morals–a man who likes to try and correct the mistakes of his past–Hayden immediately gets to work on searching for his daughter. *Cue the music of DOOM.* Turns out, Cassy may be Hayden’s daughter, which means that Alex may lose the one person that means the most to her. Well, take me on an emotional journey why don’t ya? This one was tough. While I could understand their point-of-views, I couldn’t always agree with the way they treated each other. But that’s kind of the reality of a custody battle, right? It’s messy and people act recklessly. So I can appreciate the realness of the situation even though what Hayden and Alex are going through isn’t quite a custody battle. Besides, I couldn’t dwell on their bad behavior for long. I mean, I would be tense waiting for a paternity test to happen, too. Three people’s lives and fate could change any minute. Also, you eventually get to watch these two characters grow in their own ways, but also with each other. I loved watching Hayden fall in love with Alex. I love that he can see how Alex is a good mother to Cassy–the best mother, a mother in all the ways that count. I love how Cassy wraps him around her little finger–exactly what should happen between a daughter and a father. And Cassy, you gotta love that spunky squirt! I love that Alex helps Hayden reconcile with his past (and vice versa). Alex and Cassy both help Hayden become a better man–a man that they can love without reservations. And just so I can throw around the word “love” some more…I LOVED that the setting was Christmastime. That Christmas tree scene–priceless. The snowed-in at the creepy inn scene–MY GOD, I LOVE YOU. Readers can look forward to seeing more of Matt, Kate, and Janie, too. Their fist Christmas together is just adorable. Tis’ the season to be really, really jolly! Someone get me some Christmas cookies and hot chocolate, please! As far as other secondary characters go, more is revealed about Kate and Alex’s other sister, Cara. I’m pretty sure that her book is going to confuse me and hurt my heart. I’m not at all prepared for the final installment to rip out my heart and stomp it. and stomp it. and stomp on it some more. WHY DID YOU LEAVE, JACK?? WHY? I’m going to have the tissues ready, but I know it will be worth it in the end because I can already tell that the love between the two main characters is going to be powerful. An ARC was provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
LightningCityBookReview More than 1 year ago
A sweet, funny, yet emotionally charged romance with a Holiday Happy Ending. My two favorite scenes are "The Slum" B&B and when Hayden tucks Cassy into bed one night. They are both incredibly funny and then turn, in pretty different ways, into quite touching scenes. Even though "Falling For the Enemy" is a tame Contemporary Romance Victoria James manages to pack it chock full of sexual tension. In addition the hero is a high powered workaholic type that isn't used to family dynamics or dealing with children so he has to grow into quite the learning curve. The heroine is a self sufficient single mother who has been caring for herself and others since she was a very young child and now she's got to learn to take a risk and let someone else lend her a hand. The secondary characters are sprinkled here and there but the presence of the character Mark the Private Investigator who is also the heroine's, Alex, sister's boyfriend and Alex's adopted daughter Cassy are especially notable. The sisters and their daughters are present but not as involved as Mark and Cassy. As I said this is a tame love story and the sex is alluded and not described however that does not lessen the sexual tension and attraction between the hero, Hayden, and the heroine. This novel is a easy read that is perfect to get you in the holiday mood. This novel is terribly sentimental with the specter and memories of Hayden's mother rising up more and more in his mind and heart during this journey and experience with Alex and Cassy. Cassy is the type of child character that is wise beyond her years and yet still has the ambitions of a little kid. Alex's back-story is sad and traumatic and like Hayden, as this paternity ordeal goes on many of the memories of her family's past rises up within her and you understand her a lot more once she divulges it. Mark is such a great secondary character, having to play both sides - working for Hayden but being the protector of Alex. It's great. The character growth is there, the sexual tension is there and the mega attraction is there. Victoria James gives us a straight up Romance in "Falling For the Enemy". To read the entire review please visit: http://bit.ly/1klwvr9
LoriP123 More than 1 year ago
This story was an emotional Christmas story! Alex McAllister has always wanted a home and family to call her own after being abandoned at a young age. She and her two best friends from foster care banded together and became a family when they were older. They all adopted children from the system, but now Alex was facing her biggest fear. The possiblity of losing her daughter to Hayden Brooks, the man claiming to be her biological father. Hayden Brooks has never wanted a family because he has always been too busy working and building his family's real estate empire, but discovering that he might have a daughter that he has known nothing about makes him set his sight on finding and bringing her home. I was given an ARC for an honest review. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
MelodyMay More than 1 year ago
I received a chance to read Victoria James Falling for Her Enemy. I have to say that it was a pretty good read. Basically, we meet Hayden Brooks who finds out he might have secret child from a one-night stand about 7 years ago. The woman who says that he might be the father is blackmailing. Of course, he hires an investigator to find the child that could be his. He finds the child and wants to know if she is his. He comes across Alex McAllister who happens to be the child's adopted mother. We have Hayden who wants a DNA test to confirm or deny if the child is his, which causes Alex to panic that she might lose her daughter. We see Hayden, Alex, and Cassie getting to know one another throughout the story. Hayden starts to fall for both mother and daughter. Oh how sweet. Overall, it was a sweet story. We get to know Alex a little better and see that she has abandonment issues that stem from childhood. She has this fear of her life that she created is crumbling right before her eyes when Hayden starts making waves. It's a nice story that gives a child something she wants. However, I was a little disappointed that issue of the blackmailing woman wasn't truly dealt with. We just ended up with one big happy ending, and felt she was just swept under the rug. I wish there was an epilogue to find out how Alex and Hayden dealt with this woman that stirred up trouble, but that just me. However, for a sweet story that centers around the Christmas time frame, it's pretty good. Copy provided by Entangled via NetGalley
Linda_RochesterNY More than 1 year ago
*ARC received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review* Alex's dream is to purchase the bakery she works at so she can provide a good life for her six year old adopted daughter, Cassy. Hayden is a businessman who comes to Still Harbor to discover if Cassy is his daughter, and ultimately, take her away with him, if she is; but getting to know Alex and Cassy and their extended family shows him everything that's missing in his life. The attraction between Alex and Hayden is undeniable but neither is sure what will happen when the paternity test results come in. Falling for Her Enemy is a quick, emotional, and satisfying read. The characters are really likable and I easily pictured their snow covered little town. I loved this story.
TheSassyBookster More than 1 year ago
The concept for this series really is an interesting one and from the first book, I was interested in seeing how things would change for each character as they fell in love and added to their little family. Alex McAllister's abandonment by her mother and her subsequent stay in foster care have made it difficult for her to trust anyone, with the exception of her sisters of the heart. Together, these three women have created the warm, loving and happy family they always longed for. Unfortunately for Alex, her carefully crafted world is in danger of tumbling down due to the arrival of an attractive stranger claiming to be the biological father of her adopted daughter. All in time for Christmas, off course. Hayden Brooks has been focused on building up the family business alongside his father and has been recently honored as an up-and-coming businessman. Now a one-night stand from seven years ago has come forward with the news that he fathered her child, a child she gave up for adoption at birth and is threatening to expose him as a deadbeat father unless he pays up. Hayden hasn't given a thought to having children but he's not going to abandon his responsibility to his child and he's determined to bring her home, if paternity is established. Going to Still Harbor to meet his daughter is supposed to be a quick trip but turns out to be anything but when he faces stiff opposition from her very attractive adopted mother. His attraction to her is unexpected and he finds himself extending his time in Still Harbor. But will he be able to break Alex's heart and take Cassy from the only mother she's ever known if the test results prove that he's her father? Or will he be able to walk away from them, if the tests are negative? Whatever the choice, someone is bound to get hurt. I really enjoyed this story and felt sorry for Alex as she battled the fear of losing her dreams: her daughter and the business she had hoped to purchase, especially because of the sentimental reason behind it. Hayden came across as a rich and disconnected jerk sometimes, but his own history and the way he cared for Alex made it easy to love him. FALLING FOR HER ENEMY was an enjoyable read and much lighter than the previous book. The best part for me was Alex's daughter Cassy and her smart mouth, and I also liked the little unit Alex, Cassy and Hayden became. There were a few issues, but nothing major enough to affect my enjoyment and I look forward to the next book in the series. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
Once again Victoria James has a heartwarming story, perfect for the holiday season. This is the second book in the series, but can be read completely alone. Alex is a single mom, who adopted Cassie. Alex grew up in the foster system. She does not have much in life but very contented with her two other foster sisters and her bakery. Hayden, rich businessman has just found out that Cassie might be his daughter. Hayden shows up in Still Harbor, requesting a paternity test. Nothing in common with each other but their love for Cassie. Should enemies fall in love. The results become official on Christmas, will the results be happy celebrations. I loved these characters, very strong and loving. How can you not fall in love with Cassie, she is so cute. I highly recommend this book along with the first book in the series. I received this book from netgalley for an honest review.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Alex McAllister was abandoned as a child, and since then she has always kept herself sheltered from others, for fear of being hurt again. However, her fears never put a damper on her dreams of being a mother and having a family of her own, so when she has the opportunity to adopt a little girl she jumps at the chance. Cassy is her pride and joy and she fills a void left long ago, that Alex never thought would go away, she finally has her own family...that is until Hayden Brooks shows up on her doorstep claiming to be Cassy's father. Suddenly her worst fears are realized, and her long desired family is threatened to be taken away from her... Hayden Brooks has never thought of himself as a family man, he has dedicated his life to becoming a successful business man, and help sustain his families' real estate empire. He doesn't do relationships or let himself get tied down to anything, he more so prefers to keep things more on a one night basis. But one of those said strings free excursions has unexpectedly landed him in a little predicament. Seven years ago he unknowingly fathered a child, and now that child's mother is on his door step telling him she wants money, and that she put his daughter up for adoption. His world is left in shambles and he is left wondering where his daughter is and how he goes about getting her back... This was my first time reading a book by this author and I have to say that I really enjoyed it, so much so, I plan to read more of her books. This story grabbed my attention right from the start and had me flying right through the pages...I had to know what was going to happen next! To say that this story will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions is an understatement...it is destined to have you reaching for the Kleenex box one minute, and leave you smiling the next! Definitely one of the best first reads I have had in a while, highly recommend it!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.