But when her boss, gorgeous hotel owner Jack Summers, returns from his supposed wedding without a ring or a wife, Melanie discovers there's more to him than she ever thought. For one, the ex-soccer star is her son's idol. But the closer she gets to Jack, the more she pulls away. She can't share her past. Ever.
For too long, Jack's protected his scarred heart by letting gold-digging women make him think love didn't matter. But a sweet single mother and a soccer-crazy little boy change everything. He knows Melanie has secrets. Secrets she'll have to share if he's to help her realize she's finally home.
|File size:||511 KB|
Read an Excerpt
An awful realization hit Jack as he watched Stephanie, his fiancée, soon to be wife, methodically unpacking his suitcase in their hotel in Barbados.
He didn't want to marry her.
She unfolded a pair of his socks and refolded them her way before placing them in a neat row beside the others in a drawer. She was so controlling and fastidious she'd drive him nuts if he had to live with her full time. She'd take over his home, reorganize everything. And he liked his life how it was.
She glanced up at him, her long blond hair sliding over her shoulders as she angled her head. "Don't just stand there looking gormless, Jack. Pour me a drink."
Jack located the minibar in the corner of their luxury thatched bungalow overlooking a strip of golden sand fringed with palm trees. He poured Stephanie a glass of white wine and a gin and tonic for himself. Then he knocked his drink back in a few swallows and wiped the sweat off his upper lip.
This whole situation was his own fault. He and Stephanie had worked well together on a charity project and stupidly he'd thought they were compatible. He'd been flattered she wanted to date him when every man in the local chamber of commerce worshiped the ground she walked on. His mother hadn't helped. One hint of romance and she was pushing him to get hitched so she could have grandchildren. She and Stephanie had ganged up on him. Neither of them listened to a thing he said, simply plowed on with what they wanted regardless.
He handed Stephanie her drink and she frowned at him.
"Come on, Jack. Get with the program. I know you didn't want to get married in Barbados, but we're here now, so stop sulking." She tapped the screen of her phone. "We have a meeting with the hotel's wedding planner in two hours to go over the final arrangements."
Jack swallowed his sigh. What was a respectable amount of time to be married before he filed for divorce? Christ, Jack, grow a backbone. Divorce was not the solution. He needed to call off the wedding. Now. Before the meeting with the wedding planner.
"Look, we need to discuss this."
"Discuss what?" Her head jerked up, her gaze intense. Her solicitor's gaze. The one that could flay a cat at fifty paces.
"I know it's a bit late to say this, but I think we're making a mistake." He smiled to soften his words.
Stephanie's eyes narrowed, then her tense expression faded and she returned his smile. Not the reaction he'd expected. She sauntered closer and ran her fingers over his chest. "Don't tell me Jack Summers has cold feet." She smiled seductively. "We can't have that. Let me warm up those feet for you, honey."
She hooked a finger in the waistband of his jeans and pulled him towards the bed.
"No!" Jack stepped back and raised his palms. "This isn't the answer." He put some more distance between them. "I really can't go through with the wedding. Sorry."
He cast around for a reason, one that wouldn't hurt Stephanie's feelings. But all that came to mind was his bad experience with his first fiancée years ago, and that was ancient history.
"Oh come on. You don't mean it." Stephanie advanced on him again. He had to grasp her upper arms to hold her back.
"No." It occurred to him that she always did this, used sex to win him over when he disagreed with her. His jaw hardened at the thought. She'd proposed to him in bed when his defenses were down. He wasn't even sure he'd said yesshe'd just assumed he'd agree.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Finally Home by Helen Scott Taylor I got more than I was expecting. I expected your standard romance where you had one or both people trying their best to deny they had feelings for the other. I expected a secret where maybe her husband was embezzling money from his finance company or something like that. I wasn’t expecting the humor in the beginning of the book and the seriousness the book turned into. And I definitely wasn’t expecting the true secret Melanie Marshall carried around. The story starts out with Jack on holiday preparing to marry his fiancee Stephanie. Jack not only gets cold feet, he realizes that he isn’t in love with Stephanie and that she isn’t in love with him. He attempts to break things off, saying that he isn’t in love with her, but she’s not buying it. Stephanie assumes there’s someone else and she backs Jack into a corner, forcing him to tell her who. Desperate to come up with a name, Jack tells Stephanie that he’s in love with Melanie, the lady he hired to manager the hotel two months ago. You have to keep in mind, Jack doesn’t really know Melanie or anything about her. Melanie’s problems started five years ago, with the police investigation of her husband Marcus for horrible crimes. In the midst of the investigation, Marcus was killed in a car accident and the town Melanie lived in and her entire family, except for her beloved Grandma, turned against her. Melanie’s problem/secret is so bad that once people find out who she is, she always get fired and has to move to a new city. Upon returning home, Stephanie tells everyone about Jack and Melanie. Jack’s mother Imelda weighs in and just assumes they are going to get married. Talk about pressure. After spending some time together, Jack realizes that he does have feelings for Melanie who is NOT happy with that prospect at all. All she wants is to be friends. Jack sees a way to get to Melanie through her six-year-old son, Ryan. As the story progress, Melanie tells Jack very few details about her past. Jack knows that she has some secrets, but he’s willing to wait and hear what they are. Once Melanie’s secret does come out in the local newspaper, she’s prepared to do what she always has done which is leave. Jack is prepared to do whatever it is to make his soon to be family stay where they are. Finally Home is a story about learning to forgive yourself for the transgressions of others that you have no control over. It’s a story of realizing that there are bad/evil/misguided people in the world, but that not everyone is like that. It’s a story of letting go of the hurt from the past and finally allowing yourself to be happy. Source: NetGalley Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews
Just two hours before his wedding, Jack Summers realizes that he's about to make a huge mistake. An even bigger mistake is telling his fiance exactly that. Thinking that there must be another woman, she backs him into a corner and demands an answer. The truth seems to go in one ear and out the other. What is the man supposed to do? A little white lie won't hurt, right? When her boss announced his upcoming nuptials, Melanie Marshall stepped in as manager of Greyfriar House Hotel. Suddenly her boss is back sans wife in tow. As if she doesn't have enough to worry about, like losing her job, her life has just gotten more complicated. The scorned ex-fiance shows up and drops a bombshell. Melanie never saw that one coming. Five years ago, Melanie Marshall's husband committed an unforgivable crime, leaving her and their son Ryan to deal with the aftermath. Shunned by the people in the village, as well as her own parents, she took her son and fled. She avoids dating at all costs. She finds men untrustworthy, but she also knows that any man would take off once they found out the secret she's been keeping. Now Jack is looking at her differently, as if seeing her for the first time. He comes to care for her and Ryan. As their relationship grows, she knows she owes him the whole truth, even if that means losing him. Jack only hopes that their connection is strong enough to keep her from running again. This story was a surprising blend of charm, humor and angst. Melanie struggles with the demons of her past, and Jack has the patience of a saint where she is concerned, but he's not afraid of pointing out when her self preservation hurts his feelings. Her control starts to slip when Ryan becomes attached to Jack, and she realizes that he can connect with her son in a way she never can. Her fears are not completely unfounded. Reading about how judgment had been passed on her and seeing her as guilty by association was really sad. What made me angry was the fact that those grown ups didn't think about what their vitriol might do to an innocent little boy. Jack and Melanie's intimate relationship is hinted at, but this story didn't need anything graphic to convey their turn from friends to lovers. When Melanie has a setback, Jack's mother and sister ride in to the rescue. I think the moral(s) of the story would be not to pass judgment without thinking about the consequences, running from problems doesn't solve them, anything good is worth waiting for, and if you really love someone, you'd set them free if you had to. 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4. Thank you Carina Press via NetGalley for the ARC. Disclaimer: A review in exchange for the ARC was not promised. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.
Slightly unusual story but good that it is a little different. I wasn't sure about Jack to start with but he really grew on me.
Grade: C- Once I trudged through the thick-as-molasses melodrama, <i>Finally Home</i> rewarded me with a touching romance. I empathized with Melanie. Her obliviousness to her late husband’s criminal activity causes her profound shame, which has been reinforced by public ridicule and hostile media attention. Her anxiety to forming a relationship with a famous ex-football star appears realistic. Initially, Jack’s character felt shallow; his actions unworthy of a hero. He develops substance as the story progresses. His despair of overcoming Melanie’s issues seems sincere, if a bit repetitive. By the story’s end, Jack proves he is worthy of Melanie and Ryan’s love. Overall, <i>Finally Home</i> is a sweet contemporary romance that shows when you stop running and listen to your heart you can find the path to love. (This bookis courtesy of Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
My Review: Honestly, this book was an okay read. It just seemed to be lacking something. The story was all there for it to be really good, but I went to bed with only 10% of the book left to read and was fine walking away from the story. That's not the way it should be. From the very start, I had an issue with Jack as he realized he was being pushed into a marriage he didn't want. In his own words, he seriously needed to grow a pair. Because he was afraid of being talked into a marriage he didn't want (hello, I can't respect a hero who can be pushed into a marriage he doesn't want), he lied to his fiance about why he was breaking it off by telling her that he's in love with the manager of his hotel. What he doesn't realize at the time is that this manager is hiding a pretty big secret about her past. But by telling this lie, he begins to notice Melanie in a different light. Melanie is a woman with a past that she's desperate to keep hidden. Her priority is to keep her young safe happy and healthy. She is not happy with Jack's attention towards her. Even though he's gorgeous, intelligent, a great guy with an amazing physique, she continues to push him away, thinking that he won't understand about her history. She has reason for her reticence....she's been burned by those she loved in the past...namely her parents, when they didn't stand by her when the accusations started flying. If she couldn't trust them, then why/how would she ever trust anyone else? I understood that aspect of the story, but there were other things that caused issues. There were things I really loved about this book: *I like that Jack is a former footballer so he knows a bit about paparazzi and how bad the press can get. *I loved Melanie's son, Ryan, and how attached he immediately becomes to Jack. *I even liked the story from Melanie's past. What I couldn't work past in the story line was: *Melanie's continued attitude about the incident from her history...even when there's no evidence that it's going to continue to be a problem. *Up to the VERY END of the story, Jack still didn't understand how much of an issue that was for Melanie. *I just have a hard time believing in a true HEA when the hero and heroine are so bad about seeing the true nature of each other's issues. The writing on the book is fine. I think the issues I had with it are just me...in fact, knowing that the book is set in England, I am guessing that the author also is and it truly may come down to a regional issue rather than anything else. All I know is that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I'd hoped. I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Thanks to the publisher, Carina Press, and NetGalley for the chance to read this early! I often venture out of my comfort zone to try new authors -- more often than not I’m rewarded with a new adventure. This time I was very disappointed. I think my main problem is the lack of romance, or should I say, the fact that the romance between Jack & Melanie seemed lacking – and even a little forced. My favorite relationship in the book is between Jack & Ryan, Melanie’s son. I'd say the majority of this book revolved around Melanie’s past. Even after Ms. Scott delved into Melanie’s background, I couldn't sympathize with her, and towards the end of the story, when her past is revealed to everyone I felt that she over dramatized everything. Another thing that bugged me about her is she is extremely overbearing when it comes to Ryan; to the point of WoW give the kid a break. Even though, Jack was a very well developed character, and believably written, he wasn't all that easy to like – Who wants a hero who can’t stand up for himself? Not Me. Also even though I felt that Melanie was over dramatizing her issue – Jack never seemed to gain an understanding. Disclosure: This ebook was provided to me free of charge through NetGalley for the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments, and ratings are my own.