From award winning author Laura Trentham comes Set the Night on Fire, a novel about starting over, finding your way back homeand falling head over heels. . .
Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foesand to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.
Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcée who shows up to the garage in stilettosand the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?
About the Author
Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and Set the Night on Fire. She is a member of RWA, and has finaled multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
Ella Boudreaux drove past Abbott Brothers Garage and Restoration instead of pulling into the parking lot and marching inside like the part owner she was. She wasn't scared exactly. More like slightly nervous about her reception.
Lies. Her stomach was ready to turn itself inside out. After all, she'd unwittingly performed a hostile takeover of twenty-five percent of the garage. Ford had made it sound like buying his stake would be doing his family a favor. The three other Abbott brothers had not viewed her buyout as a favor but as an act of war.
Especially Mack Abbott, the de facto leader. The oddity of a well-off society divorcée buying into a car garage and restoration business wasn't lost on her, but the opportunity had fired some deep well of sentimentality she'd thought had been slashed and burned by her divorce.
She stopped the car on the shoulder of the narrow parish road, the Abbott Brothers sign still visible in her rearview mirror. The coward's voice in her head urged her to leave the garage in her rearview and have Andrew Tarwater negotiate a sale back to Mack Abbott. She silenced the dissenting voice with her sometimes-faked bravado. "Fake it until you make it" wasn't just a quaint saying, it was her life motto. She was going to march into the garage and prove she could be an asset.
Would they judge her on her car? She squeezed the steering wheel of the small blue convertible. It wasn't her style, but it was sexy and expensive and had annoyed her ex-husband, Trevor, which had been as good a reason as any to buy it after the divorce.
Since moving to Cottonbloom, people had assumed she was living off her divorce settlement, and she hadn't done anything to dissuade the misconception. Let them underestimate her like her ex-husband had.
The truth was she had taken a cut of the business she had built with Trevor and formed Magnolia Investments. She was buying up promising real estate around Cottonbloom. Her above-average instincts coupled with her methodical research meant she rarely took a loss.
She'd stayed below the radar, using a young, hungry, discreet lawyer to close deals. The last thing she needed was her ex to catch wind of her new venture and to interfere. Negotiating when no one knew her gender was simpler and faster. Dodging all the "honeys" and "sugars" and infiltrating the south Mississippi good-old-boys' network would take time and proven successes.
The garage was different. Personal. Instead of taking on a silent investor role and flipping for a profit, she wanted to get her hands dirty. Her brother had taught her that anything meaningful required work, and she wanted to make him proud — even if he wasn't there to see it. His passion had been cars, and the hours she'd spent shadowing him as a kid had affected her. Although at the moment, she worried her nostalgia had affected her sanity.
She whipped her car around, the tires spinning on the gravel on the shoulder, and headed back toward the garage, parking next to a big black truck that could squash her little convertible like a no-seem-um.
Her hands trembled. While hard work might not scare her off, she was a teensy, tiny bit afraid of facing Mack Abbott. Not only was he physically intimidating, but his dark eyes could cut a person to ribbons.
She slipped out of her car and smoothed her gray high-waisted pencil skirt and retucked her white blouse. The red pearl-buttoned sweater she wore did little to protect her from the bite of the March breeze.
In case anyone was watching, she pasted on a smile flavored with more than a little bit of "I don't give a damn what you think of me." It was a smile she'd perfected since leaving her childhood home in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi, and it had served her well.
She threw open the customer door and was hit by a wall of noise. Sparks arced from a corner where an Abbott grinded down a piece of metal. His coveralls and safety mask made identification impossible, although he wasn't as big as she remembered Mack being. In another corner, another brother welded, and she averted her eyes from the snapping light. He too was concealed by a mask.
That left the third Abbott on a skid tucked under a jacked-up cherry red Datsun 240Z. Ella touched her fingertips against the cement-block wall to ground herself in the here and now. She'd sat on a worktable when she was a kid and watched her brother fix up a car exactly like it, down to the same color.
Her heart rate picked up like goosing a gas pedal even though her head accepted the fact that the man underneath the car wasn't her brother. Yet, could the car be an omen?
Only the man's jeans and work boots were visible. She cleared her throat, but it sounded like a pebble falling into a raging waterfall. She stood there for several minutes without anyone noticing her. Honestly, she had expected to walk in and spark a fight, not be ignored.
The wait sent a nervous ball ricocheting around her stomach, setting world records in how high and fast it bounced. She felt physically ill.
She nudged the leg of the man under the car with the toe of her red high heel and could only hope it was one of the twins and not Mack. While they might not like the situation, they didn't seem as volatile as Mack.
The man didn't move. She dropped to a crouch and peeked under the car. The man's face was obscured by shadows and pipes. He twirled a socket wrench at his hip, not putting it to use as if he were deep in thought. His blue-and-green flannel shirt was untucked, the sleeves rolled up almost to his elbows.
It was a broad hand with calluses and visible tendons and an underlying grace highlighted by the economy of his movement. His forearm was muscular and exuded raw power. Awareness of danger tinged with something she couldn't identify streaked through her.
Her impulse trumped her common sense, and she touched his arm. Before she could register more than a sprinkling of dark hair and warm skin, the man shot out from under the car on the skid. Surprise sent her reeling back. She teetered on her heels, unable to regain her balance, and plopped on her butt.
Of course, the man under the car with the pornographic forearm was Mack Abbott. If she had to confront him first, she'd want to do it in his office, calm and cool and confident. Instead, she was on her butt in the middle of his garage with her skirt riding up and no graceful way to rise without giving him an eyeful.
He was still lying back on the skid with a direct line of sight up her legs. She pressed her knees together. Slowly, he sat up and leaned toward her. Even sitting, he loomed over her like a hawk on the hunt. Unfortunately, she was the mouse. Her muscles tensed and trembled, and she forced herself to relax before she gave away her nerves.
"What the hell are you doing on your ass in my garage, Ms. Boudreaux?"
She responded to his attempted intimidation the way she had since her kindergarten teacher had whispered a soul-withering question about her family in her ear while she'd traced her letters — with a knee-jerk sass that got her in trouble.
"Not entirely yours, Mr. Abbott." It was the wrong thing to say.
He stood. An anger-fueled energy threatened to burst out of him, like the Hulk. The grinding noise had ceased, leaving an eerie silence. Her attention didn't waver from Mack and the threat he presented.
She remained on her butt, unsure what he planned to do and how she would react. Men were unpredictable creatures, some more prone to violence than others and with no guessing the outcome from the way they looked or how much money they had in their bank account.
His eyes narrowed on her, his mouth in a grim frown. He raised his fisted hand, uncurled it, and held it out in offering. She stared at it for a long moment, slightly disbelieving. His palm was scored with grease.
"Too dirty for your highness?" His voice was rife with sarcasm and disgust.
Before he could pull away, she slipped her hand into his. The dirt and grease didn't bother her in the least. That Mack assumed they did bothered her more than she cared to examine at the moment.
His hand engulfed hers. A heat wave traveled up her arm and into her face as a blush. He hauled her to her feet with little effort and waited until she quit teetering on her heels before he let go. She had to berate her brain to quit clinging to him.
Standing didn't improve the situation. He still loomed over her with a stormy expression in his eyes. Eyes that weren't dark at all, but a swirl of blues and greens and browns with a golden circle outlining his pupils, highlighted by the sunbeams cutting through the windows in the bay doors.
Everything else about him was dark, though, from the heavy brows shadowing his unexpectedly lovely, complicated eyes to the dark beard covering his face. His hair was a mixture of dark browns and waved a little at his collar and over his forehead.
But, most especially, the invisible yoke around his shoulders was dark. Dark and heavy and burdensome.
"What do you want, Ms. Boudreaux?"
"I want ... I want ..." She blinked and forced her eyes away from his. "I want you to call me Ella. Since we're going to be working together."
He took a step back as if she'd physically shoved him, even though she was pretty sure if she'd tried it would have been like moving a two-ton boulder. His gaze roved down and back up to her face. Not in a sexual way, but in an "am I being punked?" kind of way.
"You planning to slide under a car and work a wrench in that getup?"
"Of course not. Don't be silly." Her skirt and pearl-buttoned sweater felt more ridiculous the longer she stood there. She should have worn jeans and a T-shirt, but that wasn't the professional first impression she'd wanted to make.
"Look around you. This is a garage, Ms. Boudreaux. It's grease and metal and hard work. Are you going to pull your weight?"
"Not under the hood of a car."
"Then we don't have anything to discuss. Why don't you run along to your riverside mansion and paint your nails or something." He crossed his arms and chucked his chin toward the door.
Did he intimidate her? A little, but now she was starting to get pissed. Paint her mother-flipping nails? She had a two-hundred-thousand-dollar real-estate deal to close when she got home. "I think not. Unless I'm mistaken, I own as much of this garage as you do, Mr. Abbott."
She was dimly aware that the noise of work had ceased. An old rock song played on in the background, its upbeat guitar riffs at odds with the tension ratcheting tighter like an over-torqued nut.
A door in the back of the shop opened and a person in a baseball cap stepped through. Her figure had a hint of female curves under the coveralls and brown hair curled at the edge of the cap. Ella stared over Mack's shoulder at her. An employee?
A ball of black-and-white hair streaked in her periphery, and Ella gave a little scream. A dog. Friendly or menacing? Fear was like a blanket thrown over her head, leaving her in the dark. It was all she could focus on. This dog whose intent was unknown.
It was coming at her, teeth barred. Animals could sense fear, couldn't they? She should stand her ground, yet her feet were on the retreat. Her heel hit something metal and heavy. It didn't give, but her body did. She windmilled her arms, but only managed to slow her fall not stop it. For the second time in less than five minutes, she was on her butt in front of Mack Abbott.
The dog pounced, its paws on her chest driving her backward. Would it bite her? She cringed back and closed her eyes, the nightmare of getting rabies shots or plastic surgery flashing through her addled mind.
A rough tongue went up the side of her face, accompanied by warm, panty breaths. She cracked her eyes open. The dog gave her another lick. Ella swore it looked like it was smiling. Was it getting a taste before it took a bite?
"River! Bad dog. Get over here." The girl in coveralls tugged at the dog's collar, but it stood its ground, focused on Ella's face.
Ella swept her forearm over its legs, pushed the hairy devil off her, and scrambled backward like a crab until her back hit the cool cement wall.
"All Along the Watchtower" started playing in the background as the Abbott brothers gathered in a semicircle around her.
The girl in the hat and coveralls squatted next to the dog and held on to its collar. "I'm so sorry, Ms. Boudreaux. River is not usually so energetic with strangers. She must like you." She laughed, but it was an uncomfortable sound.
Ella smoothed her hands down her skirt and tugged at the hem. Now that she could see the dog, the threat level ramped down, but the blast of fear left her trembling. River was shaggy and harmless looking, except for her teeth. Her black-and-white face might even be cute if you were into dogs with huge canines. Which she wasn't. Obviously. She'd exposed a weakness to Mack Abbott, and the damage needed to be minimized.
She smiled when she really wanted to lock herself in her car and cry. Putting on a "face" was something she'd gotten good at through necessity. "I guess bacon-scented perfume was a poor choice this morning." If her voice was less lighthearted and quavered more than she wished, she chalked it up to being out of practice.
She rose with as much grace as she could muster under the circumstances. The dog lunged toward her with a bark and a lolling tongue. Ella pressed into the wall, wishing she was on the other side.
The girl tugged the dog by the collar, led it to a side door, and shoved it outside. Ella took a deep breath. Not that she was comfortable facing a testosterone-hardened wall of Abbotts, but at least they wouldn't take a bite out of her. Probably. Mack's face was blank, but she could imagine he had a plan to capitalize on her epic fail.
"I'm so sorry about River. She's very friendly though. Doesn't bite; only licks you into submission." The girl whipped her hat off and ran a hand through thick chestnut hair that was at an awkward stage between short and shoulder length.
The girl shuffled closer. No, not a girl, but a woman. Younger than Ella, but only by a few years. And she was pretty. Very pretty. A woman that pretty didn't work with three men and not attract them. Ella understood from a too-young age how men manipulated and wielded power.
Mack stepped forward to stand at the woman's side. Were they involved? They looked good together and had a lot in common, no doubt. Ella's smile felt like a caved-in soufflé.
"I'll pay to have your blouse cleaned." The woman stared at Ella's chest.
Dirty dog prints dotted the front of her white blouse. Ella tried to brush them off but only managed to transfer grease from her hands to her shirt. Black streaks highlighted both breasts. She needed to retreat and regroup.
"I've got some wipes in my office. Come on in. We need to talk." Mack turned on his heel and walked away, expecting her to follow. She hesitated. The moment felt like a skirmish in their battle of wills.
The woman gave her a tight, apologetic smile. "Send me the bill. Seriously."
"Sure." Ella nodded, though she knew she wouldn't. The blouse was an expensive remnant from her failed marriage. She wouldn't replace it.
Mack had propped his shoulder against the jamb of the door, his bulk filling the doorframe. Although a part of her wanted to stick her tongue out as she stalked past him to her car, her practical, mature side decided to concede. Just this once. She needed to establish the fact she wasn't going away.
She ambled over, making sure to swing her hips. The grease and paw prints decorating her chest dented her air of brazen defiance. He didn't immediately move to allow her inside his office, and a game of chicken commenced.
She slowed but didn't stop. He shifted like a door opening when she was inches from his chest. She sidestepped by him, so close his heat and scent enveloped her. He smelled of honest work and cars. Potent, painful memories rushed her like a flash flood and left her floundering for her footing.
Afraid to give him access to another weakness, she presented her back to him. Two deep breaths helped control her physical reaction. She rubbed at the grease stain on her hand, and like her memories, the grease didn't go away, only spread over her palm.
"Here." His voice was husky. He held out a canister with the top popped and a wipe poking out.
She ran the lemon-scented cloth over her hands, turning the white gray. Next, she dabbed it over the front of her shirt, doing nothing but wetting the cotton. Giving up, she tossed the wipe into the trash. "Thanks."
"You've got ..." He pointed at her face.
She swiped her hand over her right cheek.
"No. The other side. Here, let me ..." He pulled another wipe from the canister and stepped closer. Taking her chin between his thumb and forefinger, he titled her face to the right.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Set the Night on Fire"
Copyright © 2018 Laura Trentham.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cottonbloom is the place where the wounded come to heal and start over, I’ve only read the first in this series, but you can start her without any issue at all – the town and its magic reveal itself to you from the first page. As it did for Ella Boudreaux, who moved here after her divorce, needing a new start and to rebuild her shattered confidence and esteem thanks to her ex-husband. But Ella is no ordinary woman: she’s smart and investment savvy, and has managed to build quite a tidy nest egg, through her keen sense of business potential and investments. She has, in fact, offered the Abbott brothers (or one brother, Ford) some ready cash and a chance for something else by purchasing his shares. She now has a quarter of the business, and two hundred percent of the animosity coming off Mack Abbott in waves. Mack is furious that Ford would sell his shares to an outsider, and a woman at that. It is a garage – and having a woman, yet another woman show up unexpectedly is just not on. See, Mack’s mother has suddenly reappeared after years without contact when she vanished like new car smell, and he’s not particularly interested in hearing her reasons either. There’s too much on – and all he wants to do is make the garage support the family, ignore the new investor and do it HIS WAY. Adversaries to partners is the key here: Mack isn’t really as much of a heartless hothead as his hedgehog exterior would lead us to believe, and Ella isn’t a garage (or turning a business around) novice. All it takes is some serious sizzle and arguments, a never back down attitude from Ella, and some black in the balance sheet, and Mack’s resistance is wavering. Neither can deny the attraction that crackles between them. When his brothers Jackson and Wyatt start championing her cause, and Mack sees that he’s only steps away from repeating his father’s mistakes with his intractable stance, the two start to understand one another in ways that show the sweetness and ‘meant to be’ connection that has again found two people in Cottonbloom. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I love small town romances so I knew my visit to Cottonbloom would be wonderful! Laura Trentham's sixth installment in the series, Set the Night on Fire, is filled with two headstrong characters. Ella and Mack butt heads from the beginning, but their working relationship turns into something more as they truly get to know each other and resolve their issues. I really loved that they had separate issues to work out with other people. For Ella it was her cheating ex-husband's new wife and for Mack it was his older brother. It made for a lively, compelling contemporary novel that sucked me in until the characters figured out their problems! I wish had made a visit to Cottonbloom sooner! *ARC provided in consideration for review*
A delectable story of starting over and finding what you never knew you were looking for! Who knew middle brother Mack with all of his gruff surliness would turn out to be my favorite?? I've really loved this series and all of the Abbott brothers that we've had put before us so far, but Mack just stole my heart. I didn't expect to like him so much, but the way he took to Ella even though he didn't want to, it was just a touching story. Really enjoyed it, and hope we get Ford's story one day! Ella Boudreaux might have recently lost a cheating husband, but she's gained the means and freedom to do what she pleases. One of the happiest times in her life revolved around cars, so when she's handed the opportunity to buy into Abbott Brother's Garage, she jumps at the chance. She plans to use her marketing skills to aid the guys in building their classic car restoration persona. She wasn't counting on the negative attitude and downright hatred of the situation from one of the Abbotts though! Mack Abbott will do just about anything to make sure the garage his father started and spent his life tending to remains a success. He's been trying for months to get Ford to buckle under and be a help to him and his other brothers in the day to day running of the shop, but all Ford seemed to want to do was gallivant here and there until he up and betrayed them by selling his quarter of the business to some trophy wife has been. He's furious ... and he's going to get back that 25 percent ownership if it's the last thing he does!
In Mack Abbott's view, his brother, Ford, committed a cardinal sin. He sold his share in the family's Abbott Brother's Garage and Restoration, without telling his family, and to none other than Ella Boudreaux. When Ella arrives to claim her stake in the business, the fireworks begin. Mack knows Ella is an attractive, wealthy divorcee who has no place in his garage. Ella's is prepared to let him underestimate her, just as her ex-husband did. Beneath all this bravado is a simmering attraction that blooms into a passionate relationship. Ella shows you can't judge someone only by appearance. She stands up for herself, not only with Mack but also with her ex-husband. Mack's resentment turns to admiration and love as she proves an asset in his life as well as in business . Opening up to Ella helps Mack repair his relationship with Ford and also his estranged Mother. Laura Trentham's prose paints a vivid picture of small town life, the garage, and the developing relationship between Mack and Ella. You will love the description of Ella's first day at the garage and how she does an oil change! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I loved returning to Cottonbloom, such distinct and strong characters, and the plot was entertaining and passionate. The love story was sweet with a bit of the emotional tension that always heightens the storyline. Mack and Ella were perfect together, so strong they jumped off the page. The conflict of her having bought out Ford’s share of the Abbott garage, and how Mack wants the interloper gone as quickly as possible, was well executed and developed really well. It made for such a great story. Ella hasn’t had it easy and she has made something out of her life and doesn’t want to hand over control to a man ever again. Mack is such a take charge and manage everything kind of guy that Ella totally shakes up his well oiled life in a way he isn’t sure he wants. I loved every second. It was sweet. It was beautiful. It was romantic. Such a great small town romance series.
Once again love blooms in Cottonbloom. Ella finally wants to prove herself after a disastrous marriage, so she decides to buy in part of the Abbott Garage. Mack Abbott the other part owner, is not happy about having a sexy divorcee in his garage. But soon they can not deny the sexual chemistry that they share. Loved these characters, both with personal baggage from their pasts but together they can succeed. This is part of a series but can be read as a stand alone. I highly recommend this book along with the rest of the series.
I never get bored with this series. I loved how Ella and Mack work to get to know each other. They start out not caring too much for each other but they grow on each other. I hope there will be another book in the series so we can learn more about Ford. Remember that this book does have some sex scenes so be prepared. I had a hard time putting this book down. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I came late to the Cottonbloom series by author Laura Trentam, but quickly fell in love with these books. The small-town feel, the Southern vibe, and characters that are easily relatable make for enjoyable reading every time. I've been waiting for Mack Abbott's book, and Laura absolutely delivered with SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE. Although not the eldest Abbott brother, Mack has carried the weight of responsibility for his family, being the glue that kept them together after the loss of their father. All that Mack really wants is the happiness of his family and the success of their family business, and he's willing to do just about anything to make that happen. Hoping to make a new start, Ella Boudreaux came to Cottonbloom to escape the pain of her past. Buying into the Abbott brothers' auto repair and restoration puts her at immediate odds with Mack. Not only does she need to prove herself as a savvy businesswoman, but sparks of a completely different nature are soon flying as well. I really love seeing Mack and Ella work through the darker parts of their past, the mistrust and need for control, and open up to each other. Their chemistry is off-the-charts hot, but it's not just physical. Their banter, their sparring, all of it works together to create one heck of a satisfyingly steamy read that manages to pull at the heartstrings at the same time. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE is an easy 4.5 stars for me, and maybe my favorite book in the series so far. And, while each of these books are standalones, I highly recommend reading them all, because they're just that good. There's still plenty of love to be discovered in Cottonbloom, and I will continue to visit as long as Laura is writing her stories.
Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham Cottonbloom #6 Ella Boudreaux and Mack Abbott should have nothing in common…I mean…she is wealthy, high society and into designer clothes while he is all about the cars, grease and keeping the family garage going. Their first meeting didn’t go well and the next one, when she comes to the garage, does either. He is a grouch and she is on the defensive. Little do they know that they have more in common and more to offer to one another than either might realize. Ella is a woman with a heart of gold. She ran into the wrong man to be her husband way too early in her life. The fact that she survived the marriage, managed to get away and then thrive afterward is amazing. Her back story, when it comes out, is an insight into even more of what makes her tick. Her ability to empathize and be there for others and see things through and…well…I found her an amazing woman and one I wouldn’t mind being like! Mack is a man who is complex. He is one of four brothers with a backstory that also is fraught with secrets and made him who he is. When he finally realizes a few home truths it is a bit of a wakeup call…the fact that Ella may have helped him see a way through the issues that are blocking him is a testament to her but also the fact that he is willing to make some changes is a testament to him. The chemistry, rapport and growing relationship between Ella and Mack was a joy to read. I have no idea who will star in book seven but can’t wait to find out! Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and the author for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
I am not going to get into my complaints about reading books out of sequence if they are in a series. I keep accepting them, so my complaints are void at this point. But, it does show talent if the author can take book 6 and make it completely stand alone. That is one of the things I enjoyed about Set the Night on Fire. The other hight points of this book were how it tugged on my heartstrings and how the main characters were completely relatable. Of course, there were aspects that I didn’t like but they didn’t affect my review in a huge way. Mack’s 180 change on how he felt about Ella, Ella’s ex-best friend and husband, and the whole mystery behind Mack’s mother leaving I didn’t care for. But, I enjoyed reading Set the Night on Fire. Set the Night on Fire is a cute, fast-moving romance set in the town of Cottonbloom, Louisiana. Ella moves to Cottonbloom to start over again. Recently divorced from an abusive excuse for a man, Ella has something to prove. Mack is the owner of a successful garage. He is furious that his brother sold his shares to a stranger. That anger grows when he realizes that the new part owner of the garage is a woman. An attractive women who match him step for step. He soon realizes that Ella is much more than she seems. Ella realizes that behind Mack’s gruff exterior is a kind, passionate man. Can Ella help Mack overcome traumas of his past? Can Mack help Ella realize that not all men are like her ex? When I started reading Set the Night on Fire, I was expecting some parts of the book not to make sense to me. I mean, this is book 6 the Cottonbloom series. So, I was surprised when the author explained Ella and Mack’s shared back story up front. There were some vague references made to other books but it wasn’t enough to make go scratch my head and go “How does this relate to the book“. I loved it. I was able to enjoy reading Set the Night on Fire without wondering what happened in the other book. It also made me want to read the other books in the series. I liked Ella. From the first scene, when she was parked outside the garage, I thought there was something about her that stood out to me. The more the author got into her back story, the more I liked her. She had a hellacious childhood that left her with a severe phobia of dogs. She also survived a marriage that was abusive. She wouldn’t allow herself to be backed into a corner. She also had one of the biggest hearts that I have seen in a book. She took in the woman who was her ex-husband’s mistress (now wife) when he started abusing her. She stood up to her ex when he showed up at her house, demanding where his wife was. She organized a charity drive for a couple that she barely knew but felt compelled to help. I 100% related to her.
ARC for honest review with no compensation 4.5 stars Set the Night on Fire: A Cottonbloom Novel by Laura Trentham is my first book by this author and was given by St. Martin Press and NetGalley. While this is a standalone it is part of a series and I will be getting the other books in this series! Love the Abbott brothers! Mack Abbott and his three brothers are partners in the family garage and restoration business that is until his brother Ford sells his quarter share to wealthy divorcée, Ella Boudreaux who knows how to invest wisely, make money and build an empire. When she steps foot into the garage it takes her to a time and place with happy memories of working on cars with her brother especially when she sees the 240Z that Mack is in the process of restoring. She knows she can help make this business into a major success but she will have to butt heads with Mack every step of the way and try to keep the off the wall attraction between them to a minimum. Can these two learn to be a team, make the garage a major success and find what has been missing in both their lives...a HEA together or will Mack keep pushing Ella to throw in the towel, give up and move on??
I just love books where characters are so much more than they appear, and Set the Night On Fire delivers an enemies to lovers romance that proves that perception isn’t always reality, especially when the heart gets involved. There is so much truth that you shouldn’t judge someone until you get to know them, and this is just the case for both Ella and Mack. Ella has recently arrived in Cottonbloom and does nothing to dispel the rumors that she is living off the settlement from her divorce, even though that is far from the truth. She’s finally in a good place and has put the wreck of her marriage behind her, grown stronger from the scars it caused, and has learned to stand up for herself. Mack runs the Abbott Brothers Garage with his brothers and is seen as gruff and a bit rough around the edges. He’s felt the pressure of keeping the garage afloat since his father passed and has little time to enjoy life, especially when he feels the weight of his family’s world on his shoulders. When Ella buys a 25% stake in his family’s business Mack can’t wait to buy her out and get her out of his life –and watching these two square up against each other was a lot of fun, especially when it’s clear they are also fighting a very strong attraction to one another as well. One thing I really loved about both Ella and Mack was their giving, caring, and protective nature. They both showed that it didn’t matter who you were or how well they might have known you, they both would go out of their way to help. From the fundraiser that Ella plans to Mack’s protective nature when Ella’s ex shows up, these two were just genuinely nice people. This is the first I’ve read in this series and I have fallen in love with the quirky town of Cottonbloom. From the dual nature of the town to the colorful residents, this town won me over just as much as Ella and Mack did. There is a story behind everyone and everything in town and I can’t wait to read more in this series. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style – the book was easy to read and the plot flowed smoothly. There was great dialogue between the characters and there was a wonderful interplay between the characters, especially when it came to some of the more emotionally charged scenes. Even though this is part of a series this can be read as a standalone – one that I would highly recommend. I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book I received from the publisher from NetGalley.
Many have questioned her life choices. Even she has to admit to losing her way. After numerous disappointments and regrets Ella has come to a fork in the road that points her in a most unlikely direction. Set The Night on Fire, although set in a fictional town, gives some realistic advice. After veering off course Ella is searching out her dreams. Rediscovering who she is as a new business owner and a woman. Along the way she finds the courage to fight for what she wants. Even if that means risking her heart. Cottonbloom is the place to go to find the life and love that fate had waiting all along. Trentham never misses the mark when she takes aim at the heart. Copyright of Night Owl Reviews
I have been in love with the Abbott brothers from the first I met them. I knew Mack's book was going to be sizzling hot yet emotional just because who he is, and boy did the story deliver the goods. I am still swooning over Mack and Ella! Ella Boudreaux is a self-made woman, who knows what she wants and is not afraid to stand up for herself or go after what her heart desires. This was not always so, she had to learn it the hard and painful way, leaving scars to her mind and to her heart. But she knows now what to do when the doubts and insecurities start to rise in her mind. She has a big heart of gold, she is generous, kind, considerate, and sweet. Yet she can kick arse if needed, she is tough, resilient, patience, passionate, with a quick temper and stubbornness only to match Mack Abbott's. Mack has been holding everything together since his father passed away and the business was divided for the brothers. He is a loving and caring worrier, a protector of what he considers his. He has so many layers hidden under the gruff and tough exterior. His kindness, tenderness, sweetness, and happiness when around Ella just melted my heart. He is so supportive, encouraging, uplifting with her, it was beautiful, just amazingly adorable. The adoration and attraction between Ella and Mack is like a lightning bolt, the way they learned each other, their weaknesses, their strengths, their past pain and future hopes, along with the loving yet blazing hot physical connection and exploration, the depth of the emotion and feels from each scene with Ella and Mack just blew me away. Mack has had a lot to deal with since his parent's divorce. The way their father brought the brothers up built up walls that have to come down for their peace of mind. The troubles with Ford and their mother has to be solved for life to move on. Mack has to find the understanding and forgiveness and the courage in his heart to make peace for the whole family, to start building it up instead of tearing it down. I loved this story so much, it was hard to put down, even at the end. Mack and Ella have to go through a whirlwind of emotions, changes, and growth to find their fragile balance, and even then it could be blown away by careless situations. The story has such a smooth, effortless flow, it pulled me in from the first, and help me captivated throughout. A wonderful, passionate, emotional addition to the series that all romance readers will enjoy, adore, and swoon over ~ Five Spoons
Favorite Quotes: “… you and Sutton have a wedding to plan.” “All I have to do is show up, according to Sutton. Her mom is going a little crazy. She has mentioned a harp player and doves.” “Good Lord, one of the Abbott cousins might pull out a shotgun and shoot a dove if they’re in season.” … the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee drawing him in like a cartoon mouse to cheese. Mack led them out and around the garage to the parking lot where the Corvette was parked in a ray of sunlight like the Second Coming. A deep shuddery breath forewarned a rising tide of tears. She had to get home. A threesome in bed with Ben and Jerry was all she craved. Trevor’s smile was full of smug self-satisfaction. How had she ever thought he was handsome and sophisticated? He was a nasty little bug, and she wore the shoes to smush him. My Review: I have greatly enjoyed each of my three visits to Cottonbloom, an especially peculiar little town with an identity disorder as it falls within two different states with divisive social circles. Book six in the series was the third in a row to feature the hard-working, endearingly flawed, resilient, and devastatingly handsome classic car mechanics of the Abbott family. I could almost smell the motor oil as Ms. Trentham’s agile use of lush details cunningly employed all the senses and painted a complete, spectacular, and vivid picture for the mind's eye while also smoothly keying-in the emotional tone. The writing was well-balanced and expertly paced while evocative, amusing, steamy, and heart-squeezing with crisscrossing and engaging storylines. I enjoyed the verbal sparring and developing romance as well as the surprises from the unfolding secrets of family drama - all culminating into a highly satisfying HEA. I keep hoping for prequel scenes to chronicle the now elderly aunties hellion salad days, as I’m quite certain they had them.
Absolutely loved this book!! When Ellie Boudreaux bought out Ford’s share of the Abbott’s garage, she did it for the memories of her brother. Mack Abbott isn’t happy to say the least and isn’t shy to show his displeasure at an outsider owning part of his family business. When the sparks fly it isn’t all business but quite a bit of the heat is coming off Ellie and Mack. Can they overcome their differences to run the garage together or will one of them lose out?
I have loved all three of the Abbott brothers' stories! Wyatt and Jackson are great, but Mack's gruffness combined with his softer, fun side makes him my favorite Abbott brother. I liked Ella and thought that she was the perfect match for Mack. I loved the bonus epilogue featuring Wyatt and Sutton's wedding! What a great way to end the story. I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley.
Loved this story. Sparks and tempers ignite between Ella and Mack when Ella buys a quarter share of the Abbott Brothers garage business from the oldest brother who decided to sell and leave town. He had his reasons, which we see later in the story. Mack is the next in line and has always run the garage along with his twin brothers who are a few years younger. Their mother left them years ago and the father who passed away a few years ago made his life about the business. The garage is in the tiny town of Cottonbloom which is cut in two by a river. Ella buys the small piece of the business as an investment. She knew it would anger them but she was caught off guard by just how angry Mack was and could be. Having been through a physically and emotionally abusive marriage and now divorced, she's got her own investment business and she's doing well for herself. She's got a good head for business. She and Mack butt heads constantly while the twins and their respective wife and fiancé really like her. She's smart and doesn't take any crap from Mack which everyone else apparently has cowered before Mack. I liked the way the brothers ran the business, they vote. Nothing gets down without discussion. The one sticking point for them is their Mom which the twins have basically forgiven and Ford leaving because he needed to. Mack still can't get his head around that. When you through in their twin aunts, how pop in unexpectedly quite a bit, an upcoming wedding, Ella's ex who shows up and then the ex's current wife who had left him. Hysterical. Oh and the sparks that these two shoot every time they are around each other. After a couple aborted attempts, no fault of their own, these two make some page turning steam. They were a great couple I really liked them. I loved the story, the characters, the plot, the flow was a little slow for me but it still got there. Great read and yes, I'd recommend it for sure. Now I have to go back and read a couple of the previous books. It's a great story and well done. *arc from NetGalley and publisher for an honest review*
Set The Night On Fire by Laura Trentham is a fabulous, well-written book by Laura Trentham. Ms. Trentham has given us a book that is loaded with outstanding, lovable characters. Ella bought shares of the Abbott Brothers Garage and Restoration, against the wishes of three of the brothers. Mack is determined to buy back the shares and keep the business in the family. Ella and Mack's story is loaded with drama, humor, sizzle and a bit of suspense. I enjoyed reading Set The Night On Fire and look forward to reading more from Laura Trentham in the future. Set The Night On Fire is book 6 in the Cottonbloom Series but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to return to Cottonbloom for another visit with the Abbott brothers. Set the Night on Fire is the sixth book in the series, but it can be read as a stand alone. But, you will miss out on some great books if you don’t read the rest of the series too. The Abbott brothers, Jackson, Wyatt and Mack own and operate the garage that was started by their deceased father. There are four brothers. Ford, the oldest brother, sold his share of the garage to Ella Boudreaux and left town with no explanation, leaving the other three brothers confused and angry. Ella is an intelligent, independent business woman. She divorced her worthless husband and built a successful career in investment. After investing in the Abbott garage, she is determined to help the business grow. She has good ideas, but Mack is not inclined to listen to anything she has to say. The sparks fly when Ella and Mack are together. In the beginning, they are sparks of anger, but as they spend more time together at the garage things begin to change and the sparks are an entirely different kind. Laura Trentham has once again written a book that is rich with small town charm. She makes her characters come alive. I highly recommend Set the Night on Fire and the whole Cottonbloom series. Laura Trentham never disappoints.
A new to me author laura Trentham. A good book, Set The Night on Fire. Even though I liked the storyline and characters. I would have enjoyed the book more if I had read the other books in the series before hand to get more of the back story
Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham is Book 6 of 6 in the Cottonbloom series. The tagline says “Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home--and falling head over heels. . .” This book is the first time I have visited Cottonbloom, and it stands alone just fine. But after finishing I want to go back to the first 5 books and learn the beginning of everyone else’s story, too. Set the Night on Fire is Ella and Mack’s story. Ella comes back to Cottonbloom to heal and start over. Mack is desperate to retain control of the family business. They each feel they have a lot to prove to family, friends, and foes - that they can do what they set out to do and that they haven’t made any mistakes that can’t be fixed. Ella and Mack are both determined and strong-willed, to put it mildly, and at cross-purposes from the beginning. But the attraction between them is undeniable. And what makes this such a delightful love story is the expert way author Laura Trentham mixes heat and fun. The heat is definitely there. Even though they are constantly clashing and wary of one another, they are also drawn seemingly beyond their control to each other. And just when you think you might explode from the heat something sweet or funny happens. Who could resist Ella’s description of Mack’s unexpectedly lovely, complicated eyes, with the swirl of blues and greens and browns. But who doesn’t smile when those eyes draw her like a bug to a zapper. Who wouldn’t laugh out loud when his glance toward her mouth was like handing her a roadmap with a giant X on Kissytown, and her imagination goes on a pleasurable jaunt down Inappropriateness Lane. And even the heat – you feel it slowly build as Mack checks out Ella’s body in the doorway of his office – but you smile again when he does a check, double check, and checkity-check. The book is full of these moments. As I said, it’s delightful. Full of characters you can’t help but root for, with a solid plotline and some suspense and surprises. I received a copy of Set the Night on Fire from the publisher via NetGalley. I thoroughly enjoyed it and do not hesitate to recommend it.
You might want to keep a fire extinguisher handy when you read Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham, my fellow romance book loving friends. The chemistry and steamy scenes between this enemies to lovers main couple just might cause your pages/ereader to self combust. But not to worry, folks, steam in no way replaces substance in this romantic tale. There is plenty of back and forth bickering to flirtatious banter and a genuine connection between Ella and Mack as they truly get to know each other. A great cast of subcharacters brings this small town themed storyline to life, as well. What surprised me the most was this sassy, feisty heroine was extremely compassionate, too. She took under her wing and gave protection to the last person on the planet you would expect. I couldn’t help but admire her even more for that. This author’s writing style is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The writing flows and keeps me fully engaged. Though I’ve only read a couple of her books, you can bet I’ll be backtracking and keeping an eye out for more of her new releases. Title: Set the Night on Fire, Series: Cottonbloom (Book 6), Author: Laura Trentham, Pages: 336, stand-alone but part of a series, adversaries to lovers, beautiful, sassy, successful, compassionate heroine, knucklehead at first/good guy hero, very steamy scenes, small town setting, romance safe, no cheating, no love triangle, no OW/OM romantic drama. Book 1 - Kiss Me That Way Book 2 - Then He Kissed Me Book 3 - Till I Kissed You Book 3.5 - Candy Cane Christmas (novella) Book 3.75 - Light Up the Night (novella) Book 4 - Leave the Night On Book 5 - When the Stars Come Out Book 6 - Set the Night on Fire (I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not given any payment or compensation for this review, nor is there any affiliation or relationship between this reviewer and the author/publisher/NetGalley.)
Sexy & Entertaining! Sweet, sexy and entertaining with these likable characters. I had a hard time putting this down. Set the Night on Fire is a slow burn Romance, it is not rushed and the angst level is just how I like it, not too crazy high but just enough to leave the reader wanting more, waiting in anticipation for something, just anything to happen. Loved Ella and Mack, they were dramatic, stubborn, romantic and utterly lovely. Their sizzling attraction, as well as the animosity between them is enough to set the night on fire. Loved Mack’s deep love for his family and his passion for the family business. Well of course I’m not going to tell you the outcome, because you will have to read this book to find out what all happens. But I will say “Set The Night On Fire” is To Die For! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This series is just awesome! Trentham has a way of putting her characters at odds with each other that makes their falling for each other that much sweeter when it happens. Ella and Mack really, really don't like each other. Ella has bought a share of the garage that Mack's family owns from one of his brothers. She's determined to be a part of the everyday operation by doing the promoting and the books. Mack is determined to get her out of his garage as soon as possible. Ella tries hard to be a hard nose and stand up to him, but things keep happening to highlight the vulnerability she's trying hard not to show. That vulnerability may be the key to changes to come. As some aspects of their relationship start to thaw, others are hot enough to set the night on fire!