Love Him or Leave Him: A Small Town, Big Dreams Novel

Love Him or Leave Him: A Small Town, Big Dreams Novel

by Sara Daniel

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Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O'Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor's back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he's sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he's always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622661930
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 07/08/2013
Series: Small Town, Big Dreams
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 483,232
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read--irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. On the personal side, Sara is a frazzled chauffeur, chef, personal assistant and slave to her children. She's crazy about NASCAR and country music. She has her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband. She is the author of nearly a dozen romance novels, novellas and short stories.

Read an Excerpt


Becca Sanders had spent two years studiously ignoring Connor O'Malley's return to Kortville, Illinois. No small feat considering he was the police chief of their town of two thousand and she had to ring him through the grocery lane twice a week. Too furious to disregard him any longer, she tightened her no-nonsense ponytail and marched across the street and six houses down the block, rapping on his front door hard enough to make her knuckles sting.

He didn't answer immediately, but the squad car parked in the driveway assured her of his presence.

Finally the door opened. He stood before her, shirtless, with wet hair, as if he were in the middle of shooting a testosterone commercial. "Is this an emergency?" "Not a police emergency." Dang, just looking at him could give a woman a hormonal emergency.

"Then it can wait until I'm dressed." He tried to close the door on her.

Having deflected her obstinate brother Toby's similar attempts many times over the years, Becca slapped her palm on the door and wedged her foot by the door jamb. "What I have to say can't wait, not as long as you're interfering with my family and my brother's future."

"Excuse me?" Connor looked so confused she briefly wondered if Toby had told her the wrong name.

No, she knew Connor had been mentoring Toby since the high school's at-risk program began four months ago. She could name every single other townsperson who'd chosen to volunteer and correctly match them with each kid who was enrolled. The grocery store checkout line had no regard for privacy. People who wanted a confidential life lived somewhere else, not in Kortville. "You've been mentoring my brother."

"Yes." His expression relaxed, dissolving the tick in his jaw as he almost cracked a smile. "Toby's been really receptive. Seeing these kids make better choices is encouraging."

Becca had been doing everything she could to help her brother. She checked in with the school every morning to make sure he'd arrived, instead of skipping like he'd tried last year. She fixed meals for the two of them to eat together each night and stressed the importance of good grades to get into a good college.

Only to have the highest authority figure in the town — an adult male he looked up to — undermine her.

"So, did you tell my brother staying in town after graduation was a better choice than going away to college?"

Connor scratched his head, as if trying to remember. The gesture tousled his uncombed hair even more and sent a shower of water onto the thin red scar across his shoulder, then cascaded into the small circular indentation on his bicep. Interestingly, the town gossip had never mentioned whether he'd acquired the scars in the military or on the Chicago police force.

"Well, yeah, I guess," he finally answered. "Toby said something about wanting to stay in town and work, and I thought it sounded like a good idea."

"A good idea not to get a higher education? Are you insane?" She would not let some lousy ex-boyfriend of hers mess up Toby's life.

"He never mentioned college to me. I didn't get the impression he was considering it."

"Of course he's considering it. What's the alternative?" Her throat swelled around a sudden lump. She knew the alternative. She was living it. Toby deserved to have better options for his future.

"He likes his job working for Matt." A single water droplet slid from the center of Connor's chest down his rock hard abs as he spoke.

Mesmerized, she leaned forward. No! Focus, Becca. As a fitness enthusiast, she ought to be able to objectively appreciate a well-toned physique, instead of lusting over one like a schoolgirl.

"That's an after-school job," she explained, keeping her gaze on his clean-shaven face. "He needs to consider choices that are stepping stones to launching a successful career. He's met the conditional admission to a state school. He needs to pull up his grades to continue to meet their requirements."

At one time — more than a decade ago — she thought she'd known Connor better than anyone. She hadn't, of course, not well enough to get through to him when it mattered, but she should still be able to connect well enough for him to see her point of view.

"So I'm supposed to advise him to go to a college he'd likely flunk out of because he doesn't want to be there in the first place?" Connor's eyebrows rose incredulously. "I'm not going to tell him something I don't agree with."

She blew out a frustrated breath. "After all these years, you still won't listen to reason."

"Reason?" he echoed. "You know, Becca, if your advice worked so well, I expect Toby wouldn't have been placed in the at-risk program to begin with."

She didn't want there to be an ounce of truth to his words. She'd busted her butt and cried countless tears trying to figure out how to do everything right for Toby. But even though she'd put her future on hold to take care of him, she'd still failed. She turned away fast enough her ponytail slapped across her cheek before Connor could see more tears gathering in her eyes.

"Just because his future goals are different from yours doesn't make them wrong," he called after her. "Not everyone counts success by how far away from town they can get."

Cured of any hormonal interest in the insufferable man, she marched down the front walk without looking back. Risking the revival of humiliating gossip by storming down the street in plain view of every single nosy neighbor had been a mistake.

What was so wrong about wanting to be more than a grocery store cashier? She dreamed of seeing the world — or at least the world beyond her view of Main Street's single stop sign, seen through a store window that was taped over with ads for ground chuck and soda pop.

Nothing ever changed here. Twelve years after their high school breakup, Connor still jumped on the first opportunity to believe the worst about her.

Connor backed his squad car into the parking space at the corner of Pauline's crowded, well-lit diner, radioing dispatch with his dinner break location. Matt and Veronica Shaw, Wilbur and Agatha Hollister, and Mrs. Parker already sat at the long table in the middle of the room, ready to welcome him.

He needed their relaxing conversation to take the edge off the restlessness and frustration from Becca pounding on his front door this afternoon. Considering he'd been wearing only a towel, she'd put him at a distinct disadvantage. His half-naked appearance hadn't even given him the satisfaction of flustering her.

He opened the cruiser door just as Becca herself sauntered around the other side of the building, her shiny brown ponytail swaying as she entered the diner and headed straight for the middle table. Darn. With their unspoken rule of pretending the other didn't exist, he'd normally pick up carryout at the counter and eat it in his car.

Not this time. Not after she'd stormed over to his house, breaking the two-year façade he'd maintained because she'd preferred it to hashing out the past. A group setting would be the perfect place to begin a rational discussion, where he could admit she'd caught him off-balance earlier and he didn't really blame her for Toby's at-risk tendencies.

He marched across the parking lot and pushed open the door as Becca seated herself at the table with their mutual friends.

"Toby apparently had better plans for his Friday night than having dinner with his sister," she announced to the group with a sigh.

"Don't feel bad," Matt, the owner of the town construction company, replied. "Jenny had better things to do than hang out with Veronica and me, too, and she's only nine."

Everyone laughed, but Becca's smile died on her lips as she locked eyes with him.

Connor strode toward the table, despite her less-than-welcoming expression. He wouldn't let her make him feel awkward and out-of-place in his own town, a community she didn't even want to be a part of.

"O'Malley, I trust everything is safe out there," Wilbur called. The elderly mayor wore a headache-inducing orange and green striped shirt that would have been outlawed in any other town.

"Shaping up to be a quiet night," Connor assured him, pulling out the final empty seat, which happened to be across from Becca.

She immediately turned to Veronica, seated on her right. "So, where is Jenny?"

"She's spending the night at a friend's house," Veronica said of Matt's niece, whom they were raising together.

"Hot date night for the Shaws," Connor teased Veronica. He grinned as Becca's fist clenched. Yep, his days of fading unobtrusively away to appease her were over.

"You bet. No place we'd rather be." Veronica winked at Matt on her other side. She'd arrived in town a year ago, giving up her ritzy city life for construction work, winning over the town while taking down Matt and his preconceived notions about rich girls.

Becca scowled at Connor. The expression scrunched up her small, straight nose and furrowed her high forehead, normally smooth and flawless with her brown hair pulled back from her face in an ever-present ponytail. Connor never realized how endearing frustration could be.

"Okay, everyone, before we get into today's special, I assume you saw the poster outside the front door." Pauline stopped in front of their table, order pad tucked away in her apron.

"Poster?" Matt asked.

"How could you miss the giant hot cocoa mug?" Veronica teased.

"I was mesmerized by you, dear." He bestowed a smacking kiss on her lips.

Connor glanced away from them at the same time Becca did, and their gazes collided. Although they'd never achieved such easy familiar affection, as a teen, he'd treasured every moment he'd held her in his arms and touched his mouth to hers.

Her lips had been soft and supple. Now they shone with a light gloss, parted slightly. Her tongue darted out to touch them, and he wrenched his eyes away. If she even guessed he envisioned kissing her now, she would slap him so hard his face would sting for days.

"I'm discontinuing the espresso taste tests because I'm looking into using them in a new business venture. So, I'm teaming up with the grocery store to create a unique hot cocoa drink in their place," Pauline enthused. "Only instead of me making up the flavor, anyone can vie for the honor through a four-week competition. The winner will have his or her cocoa flavor become a permanent item on the diner's menu. What do you think of my new marketing plan?"

"Uh —" Matt began, only to be cut off as Veronica nudged her elbow in his ribs.

"Absolutely. Sign us up," she said.

Connor had to bite his cheek to keep from laughing at the look of horror on Matt's face. Thankfully, he didn't have to worry about a woman sweet-talking or strong-arming him into anything he didn't want to do.

"Excellent. I knew I could count on my financial adviser," Pauline said. "Wilbur and Agatha, what do you say?"

"Of course. We wouldn't miss it for the world," Wilbur said without missing a beat.

"Sounds like the most fun this town has had since the grand opening of the community center," Agatha added, as Pauline beamed at them.

"I don't think you can beat the community center opening," Becca murmured. "Matt gave Veronica the best marriage proposal of all time."

The door to the diner opened with another loud jingle before anyone could reply, and the collective attention shifted to the man and woman in the doorway.

"Larry." Wilbur's shocked gasp reflected Connor's internal one. The former police chief and his wife had retired two years ago to Florida, prompting Connor to leave the city force in order to take over his job. Now they'd returned, apparently without a word to anyone.

"Harriet!" both Agatha and Mrs. Parker chorused, jumping to their feet in surprisingly spry movements, considering their advanced age and normal tottering walks.

"Mayor." Larry walked toward them, shaking Wilbur's hand, long and steady.

Connor stood slowly and shook hands in respect for the chief who'd preceded him. Chaos reigned for a couple of minutes as introductions were made to Veronica, another table was pushed over to accommodate the newcomers, and people settled into their seats.

"Retirement bored me stiff," Larry announced to the group. "We missed Kortville like you wouldn't believe. Man, all I could think, Wilbur, was you told me if I ever changed my mind and returned home, the job would be mine again."

"So, you're staying." Pauline beamed at the new set of easy victims, explaining her cocoa contest all over again.

Connor sank into his seat, then lifted his eyes and found Becca watching him. He turned away from her sympathetic expression. His job wasn't in jeopardy. Since he'd taken over, he'd made his name synonymous with law and order. He took care of this community now. He kept the residents safe and ensured the town stayed a sanctuary from the evils of the outside world. And he would keep doing it.

He wasn't going anywhere. Ever.

Becca averted her gaze, wishing she hadn't made eye contact, wishing she hadn't come to the diner at all this evening after Toby had blown off her attempt at a family meal. Despite her anger over Connor's advice to her brother, she understood having big dreams for her life and then suddenly finding them ripped from under her. She didn't wish that on anyone.

The bell over the diner entrance jingled once again, and Jake Barney, owner of the convenience store, stumbled in, breathing heavily. "Officer." He heaved himself over to their table and leaned on the end of it to catch his breath. The surface tipped toward him.

Connor grasped the table to steady it while Becca touched the stuttering pulse on the big man's wrist. "Jake, what's wrong?"

"Fetch," he gasped, breathing too hard to choke out more words.

"Your dog? Is he sick? Hurt?"

"Got loose. Ran off. Tried to catch him. But. Can't. Run." The table quivered under Jake's pressure.

"Sit here." Becca stood and nudged him toward her chair, genuinely concerned for the man's health but also relieved for the distraction.

"Which direction did he go? I'll track him down." Connor rose to his feet, bringing him shoulder-to-shoulder with her.

She resisted the instinct to step back and let him nudge her out of the conversation. If being this close didn't bother him, she sure wouldn't let on that her heart thundered like she'd gone through a double DVD of strength and cardio with a kettle ball.

"Toward the corn field on the edge of town. But you know how he likes to run down the middle of the road and play chicken with the cars." Even gasping, Jake sounded stricken. "I'll come with you."

"You rest," Connor said firmly. "I'll look for him, and everyone in here will spread the word, so people driving on the road will have their eye out, too. We'll find him."

Jake shook his head in refusal, clearly wanting to join the search.

"Tell you what," Becca said. "Connor will go ahead and start looking. You and I will sit here and order a carryout of the meatloaf special. Then we'll follow in my car. If Connor hasn't corralled him by then, the food will coax him to return."

Jake nodded.

Connor's arm brushed her shoulder as he shifted his stance. "Thanks, Becca."

She met his gaze, and something familiar called to her, something she hadn't seen since high school. She focused on taking Jake's pulse again. She'd concocted the plan for him, not Connor.

Ten minutes later, Jake had his breath back and their food order, and they set out for her car. As he sank into the passenger seat, a loud ripping sound filled the air. "Oh no." He reached his hand back, and his pudgy face flushed with embarrassment. "I just ripped my pants wide open."

"At least it's dark out," Becca said, trying to play it off cheerfully so as not to humiliate him further. He'd been working hard to change what he considered a loser image, and with her reinforcement over the past few months had convinced everyone to call him by his first name instead of the last name of "Barney," as he'd been known for years. "No one will notice."

He shook his head. "I'm too damn fat. I got so tired of needing to buy another size up I stopped buying clothes. What am I thinking? My pants aren't to blame for how big I've gotten."

She opened her mouth to deny his weight problem, but by anyone's standards she'd be lying. She considered Jake a friend, and she didn't sugarcoat the truth for her friends. "So, are you going to order the bigger size you need, or are you going to exercise and improve your diet so you can fit into the sizes you've outgrown?" she asked as she began driving.


Excerpted from "Love Him or Leave Him"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Sara Daniel.
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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Love Him or Leave Him : A Small Town, Big Dreams Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
MsRomanticReads More than 1 year ago
This story gets my vote for one of the sweetest romances I've read so far this year. At first I wasn't going to read it because of my insane schedule, but the blurb wouldn't leave me alone, so I opened it some time late last night and finished it this morning. I couldn't put it down, and I am so glad I caved. One of my favorite tropes is that of an old flame returning and reigniting the sparks from times past. Even though the main characters never quite made it to the lovers stage, I felt that their unresolved sexual tension just kept going up a notch every time they were together. Becca and Connor were wonderful characters, and their mature and open communication made this an engaging story from start to finish. I love it when the characters don't beat around the bush unnecessarily. They were caring, compassionate, extremely likeable and above all else, genuine. Their emotional growth was believable and well paced. Their obstacle from the past returned in the present leaving them with the choice to either repeat past mistakes or prove they had matured. There are quite a few scenes where Becca stood up for Connor that were very touching. The rest of the townsfolk were an eclectic mix, and despite their penchant for gossiping or the occasional snide remark, they proved they could and would come together for the sake of one of their own. The love scenes were fade to black, but even so, the ignited passion seamlessly carried over into the normal flow of the story the morning after. The ending gave both Becca and Connor what they wanted. It was perfect for them and brought them full circle. Love Him or Leave Him made me smile through my tears and long for a cup of cocoa. A must read. Favorite Lines: "You made a turtle cocoa. You remembered." That made me smile because of its significance. ~*~ "You're an idiot. You've always been worthy of my love." "Aren't those two statements at odds?" ~*~ Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing this book I want to pack up my home and move to a small town and meet me some young hot sheriff man to fall in love with. This book starts out with how Becca Sanders has spent the last two years of her life ignoring Connor O’Malley, since he returned to small hometown Kortville. Apparently back in high school they were a thing and of course something happened and they broke up with broken hearts and years later something has brought them back into each other’s lives and of course feelings start to come up again and some more drama comes up and either they try to suppress those feelings and somehow still get thrown together. The book is truly comical watching the way Becca and Connor try to ignore each other and then at times trying to get along. Becca’s life is kind of crappy in the sense that her dream since she was a little girl was to leave the small town and travel the world. She got an amazing scholarship for college, but had to turn it down because her mother got sick and ended up passing away. When Becca turned 18 her father decided he was down with the small town and Becca could learn to raise and take care of her younger brother Toby by herself and signed over guardianship to her and left. WOW? Really? What the hell kind of parent does that? I don’t care if you want to live in a small town or not, it isn’t like children can’t live in different cities. So poor Becca is stuck in a small town she hates and can’t wait to get out of and this is finally the year. Toby turns 18 this year and will be graduating and Becca is going to start living her life traveling the world.  On the flip side of this Connor has been the local sheriff for the last two years. However, before that he served in the military and on the Chicago police department. I love that his wake up call every morning at 5 am comes from a crazy old lady to complain about her neighbor being up too early.  Through different events Connor and Becca seem to constantly be stuck working together on something or another. Which give them a lot of time to learn to have to be around each other and actually talk. Since Connor and Becca were the "it" couple in high school we find out a little more about their breakup and why they can't really stand each other so many years later. Eventually, of course, they begin to realize that spending all this time together they still have unresolved feelings for one another.  As if that wasn't enough drama for a small town to have....where everyone knows every one's business. There have been a series of pranks happening around the town. Furthermore, the old sheriff who retired 2 years ago has come back to town with his wife in hopes of getting his job back as sheriff because he's bored of retirement. So now on top of pranks destroying his town, having run ins with Becca, trying to mentor a troubled Toby, Connor has to worry about his job. This book has a lot of twists and turns that keeps the reader interested. Not only did she make me want to up and move to a small town and become part of that community, she gave me a better understanding of what community truly means when bad things can happen to good people. This was the first book by Sara that I read and I'm excited to get my hands on more of her books to get lost in the "fantasy" she creates. I highly recommend this book as a must make sure to order your copy!!
HarlequinJunkie_ More than 1 year ago
In Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel, Becca Sanders and Connor O’Malley used to be high school sweethearts. But when Connor’s so-called best friend started rumors about Becca, Connor did nothing to stop them and turned his back on her. Now Becca is a cashier at the supermarket while she is finishing her degree online and is trying to get her brother to finish high school and send him off to college. A promise that she made her mother on her deathbed and one that she will see through until she can make it happen. Connor never forgot Becca, not while he was in Afghanistan or when he was a cop afterwards. Now he has been the town’s sheriff for the past two years, and Becca has gone out of her way to avoid him the entire time. A standstill that changes when she charges up to his house to get on his case for telling her brother that it was okay to stay in town if he didn’t want to leave for college. As his mentor Becca believes that he should’ve encouraged him to further his education not to tell him it was okay to stay there like she had to and remained a cashier since her mother’s death. Convincing Becca to give him another chance will not be easy, and his recurring nightmares of the war are not conducive to him trying to begin a relationship. And with Becca planning to leave town as soon as her brother graduates time is running out. But things are not ever easy and in a town that has always seemed peaceful, what starts like pranks soon escalate to vandalism and everything points to Becca’s brother being part of the problem. With the ex-sheriff walking back into town and wanting his job back, Connor cannot slack in his job even a tiny bit. He may end up having to decide what is more important Becca or his job, a decision that could bring Becca back to him or loose her forever. Connor will not be the only one having to make tough choices. Becca will also have to see how much more important her traveling dreams are than having the love of her life back and being there for her brother. Both Connor and Becca will have to look deep inside themselves and find what will truly make them happy in the end before they throw it away and lose it forever. For a fun, sweet and very entertaining contemporary romance, don’t miss Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel.
AMR0406 More than 1 year ago
These Entangled Bliss books have been fun to read. They are light, flirty, fun, and sweet. Is the word "sweet" overused in reviews? Yeah, I think it is. But this one IS sweet because there is a hot cocoa contest in it and doughnuts. I was a little worried about reading another Bliss book thinking it would be too similar to the others I have read (which were very good) but I was pleasantly reminded that each author is different and each book is different. I really liked Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel! In this story, we follow Connor and Becca. They were high school sweethearts but some rumors and teenage uncertainty got in their way.  Now, twelve years later, they are living in the same small town trying to run from their past and figure out their future. Connor is the town's Sherif (check out my interview with him here) and Becca is trying hard to get her younger brother, Toby, graduated from high school so she can go explore the world.  As you can imagine, things don't always go as we plan. Sara does a great job of playing out Connor and Becca's romance in the story and weaving in a few plot lines to make for a very interesting read. I had a tough time putting it down because there never seemed to be a place that I felt I could stop and come back to it, so I read it pretty quickly. She adds a touch of suspense to the story with a crime spree going on in the cozy little town of Kortville. This was my first book by Sara and will not be my last.  Her writing is smooth, her plot is well developed and her characters are ones you can root for with just enough amount of flaws but have big hearts. Love Him or Leave Him is the second book in the series, but you can read it as a standalone.  It does make me want to go back and read about Matt and Veronica (Construction Beauty Queen) who are very much a part of the story in Love Him or Leave Him. If you are looking for a light, fun, clean, contemporary romance that will have you wishing you lived in a small town, I highly recommend you read Love Him or Leave Him!
MelodyMay More than 1 year ago
Today I finished Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel. Let just say that this story is a sweet small town story. With most small town stories any scandal is a huge scandal. Plus, everyone is in everyones business.  Everyone knows that Becca Sanders wants to get out of dodge once her brother graduates from high school. However, her brother doesn't want to go the route Becca wants him to go. So, we have two siblings going head to head on what's a right choice. Then you throw in the hot police chief, Conner O'Malley, who happens to mentor to Becca's brother. Let's not forget that these two use to be high school sweet hearts until something stupid happen and cause these two to breakup.  I'm not a huge fan of reunited lover stories. The reason why is usually the past lovers broke up, because of something dumb, and Becca and Conner is no exception. Basically, Conner choose his bro's story over his girlfriend. However, in the story Conner and Becca learn to trust each other. By learning to trust one another, they are able to figure out what's going on.  Overall, Love Him or Leave Him is a sweet story set in a small town. It's a story about reuniting lovers. So, if you are looking for a sweet romantic read which emphasis on the sweet, you might want to give Love Him or Leave Him a try.  Copy provided by the publisher
Eve379 More than 1 year ago
I read the first book in this series "Construction Beauty Queen" and really liked it so when I was offered an ARC copy of Love Him Or Leave Him I jumped at the chance. Becca had plans to leave her hometown, go to school and see the world. Things changed when she's suddenly raising her younger brother Toby. She's chomping at the bit waiting for Toby to graduate high school, go off to college whether he wants to or not, so she can finally leave the town and her ex Connor behind. Connor's been home from Afghanistan for 2 years. He and Becca have an unspoken rule of avoiding each other do to anger and past hurts from their high school breakup. Conner has no desire to see the world. He likes being sheriff of his town and doesn't plan on leaving it and doesn't see why Becca would ever want to go. When crazy things seem to be happening all over town with only Becca in common, they're thrown together while Connor tries to prove Becca's the victim, not the suspect. I really liked it. I also liked that we caught up with Matt and Veronica. If Sara writes another book in the series I'll definitely get it. She writes about some really quirky characters and is really funny. It's the perfect combination at the end of a stressful day at work!
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
Love Him or Leave Him (A Small Town, Big Dreams Novel) (Entangled Bliss)Sara Daniel. ARC supplied by publisher. Romance, I love it :) and eagerly started on this book. Connor is a lovely man, finally back in the small town he grew up in after some horrific experiences in Afghanistan with the military, and then with the city police. He loves the way it's so secure and has pledged to make it his duty to keep it that way, and wants nothing more than to stay in the town the rest of his life. His schoolgirl sweetheart is there still. They split acrimoniously, and for the two years he's been back have been very carefully avoiding each other. Becca dreamed of travelling but had to sacrifice her dreams to look after a younger brother. Now he's almost eighteen she can't wait to leave and start her travels. Even though the attraction between the two is still shimmering there thoughts on the future are worlds apart – literally. On the face of it I thought it was a perfect set up for romance but... the small town part was just too small for me. The characters irritated me. I grew up – and still live – in a small village, so I'm aware of how gossipy and awkward things can get but this seemed a step too far. The police tracking a lost dog as an emergency? The vandalism possibly resulting in an attempted manslaughter charge? When son no 1's car was broken into a couple of years back it took two days for police to arrive, and their response? “if you hear anything about who the culprit is contact us” I thought that was their job, certainly they'd never take anything as minor as the events that happen here so seriously. Even though its UK versus US and the policing style is different, and that’s its fact v fiction its still just too far for me. I need to feel that events could be real and this just didn't work. There were some good moments, I liked the way the people pulled together to help Becca set up her fitness centre, and the gossiping was something universal to all small villages I guess, and can be very funny as an onlooker. I felt for Becca in her quest to get her brother to go onto further education, and felt for him too. He was basically a good lad, but wanted something different out of life than Becca and resented her – as kids do resent parents. I remember the struggle to get my own kids to take education seriously – probably my parents had the same problem. Something else universal to all generations :) Overall I enjoyed the book, but as a one off read only. Its very light, has some humour and very little sex for those who don't like that. As an old fashioned romance it works well, for those who want more sensual, realistic scenes like me its not one for the keeper files, but then we all (thankfully ) like different things which is why I give reasons for what I didn't like. That may be the opposite for someone else and make this a perfect read for them. At £2.36 for 184 pages its good value of this sort of novel appeals. Stars: three from me.
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
Love Him or Leave Him is a wonderfully fun, sweet story about second chances and finding home. Full review available at BookTrib or RomanticReadsandSuch on Wordpress.
Mebuffy More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book plenty, but beware that this book starts off kind of sad.  The history of the characters and between them is enough to make a girl cry a little.  However, I enjoyed the town and its people, especially as they related to our couple.  Connor is so sweet, and Becca is so dedicated and the people around them can’t help but be supportive.   You can tell there was a story before this one, but not in such a way that you feel like you’re missing anything, so this makes a fine standalone read.  It’s well-written with good mystery, even if it’s a little predictable, good personal conflicts and character depth, and great chemistry even with closed door love scenes (which is disappointing, but I maybe I’m just a smut addict).  The ending was very sweet and just gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of love, family, and community.
KittyKelly28 More than 1 year ago
As posted on The Smutty Kitty reviewed by KittyKelly 3 out of 5 Licks I haven't read the first book in this series but I don't feel like I missed out on anything reading this one by itself. There wasn't a lot of conflict in the book. Kortville is a very small town so while I can understand that the scandal that occurred was probably pretty big for them it just kind of made me bored. The attraction between Connor and Becca is apparent but they fight it pretty hard. The PTSD that Connor is suffering from did break my heart. I am too patriotic for my own good sometimes and reading about military peeps (past or current) always hits me hard. This was a light, sweet read that would be great to read on a nice quiet afternoon.
Lagalloway More than 1 year ago
4 Big-City-Lights Stars! I have always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a small town, wishing that I had and I still want to raise a family in a small town. Sara Daniel’s Love Him or Leave Him just solidified that dream for me. I truly enjoyed this heartwarming tale of Becca and Connor in small town Kortville, IL. Becca is feisty, strong, sticks by those she loves, and carried more on her shoulders than any young person ever should. After her dreams of leaving Kortville for college and to explore the world were shattered, she couldn’t wait to get out of town a decade later when she saw the chance. Especially after Connor O’Malley came back into the picture. She would never forgive him for believing the rumor mill of the small town, not trusting her, not sticking up for her, and letting her reputation sink in high school. There was a reason why he was her ex-boyfriend and no amount of time had healed her heart from his betrayal. Yet, Connor still showed up with a need for help that no one else but Becca saw. And Becca’s good nature couldn’t be so cold towards him. Connor has suffered immensely from self-pity and guilt from not being able to protect those close to him and he doesn’t think he could ever be able to give Becca everything she deserves. Yet, he just can’t help himself. He wants Becca to be his. As things in the usually quiet town of Kortville start to escalate in acts of extreme vandalism, the town seems to be against Becca once again and it’s up to Connor to pick a side, once again. I didn’t know how to handle Becca’s situation. I’m not sure I would have handled things the way she did (and her way was much better) and that’s what I was most drawn to with her. She was strong and knew herself well enough that she could stand up for what she believed to be right. Connor also found a soft spot with me in his need to do everything right by Becca, even if it was too late.  Sara’s writing had a way of making the reading effortless and incredibly enjoyable, letting the time slip away ¿ (I received an ARC for my review and this is my honest-to-goodness, straight from the heart review)