Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started...
Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It's been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake, Michigan, to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O'Rourke makes him wonder if he's missing out on something bigger than fame.
For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can't afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay?
The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans.
Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series:
The Summer He Came Home
The Christmas He Loved Her
The Day He Kissed Her
"Everything I love in a book: A hot and tender romance and a bad-boy hero to die for!" — Molly O'Keefe, author of Can't Buy Me Love
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Cain Black hadn't been home in ten years.
At the age of twenty he'd packed his guitar-a beat-up Gibson Les Paul-said his good-byes, and left. Always a rebel, he'd had no trouble disappointing half the town, and as for the other half? Hell, they'd expected it of him.
Cain Black-the star quarterback who'd had the arrogance to turn his nose up at a full ride to Michigan State University. The nerve, some said, after everything the town had done to support him and his mother. He'd left for Los Angeles one hot summer night in July and hadn't looked back until now, and-truthfully-he'd rather be anyplace other than Crystal Lake.
He ran fingers through the thick waves atop his head and cracked his neck in an effort to relieve the tension that stretched across his shoulders. Damn, but his muscles were tight, his legs stiff. He placed a booted foot on the top step of the Edwardses' porch and paused. He'd been traveling for hours and would just about kill for a bottle of Jack Daniel's, except he was fairly certain it would knock him on his ass. He was dead tired and knew he'd either crash hard or catch his second wind.
He smoothed his hair, trying to tame the waves a bit. It wasn't as long as it used to be, barely touched his shoulders these days. With the earrings and the nose ring long gone, he was almost respectable.
Or, at the very least, as close to some kind of respectability as he was ever going to get.
He glanced at his forearm. The edge of an elaborate tattoo peeked out from under the hem of his sleeve. It was the only thing left over from his hell-raising days, and that was way before LA Ink and Kat Von D had brought tattoos into the mainstream.
Now everyone and their mother had one.
Cain blew out hot air, tugged his shirtsleeve down a bit more, and glanced around. It was surreal, standing here after all this time. How many nights had he and the boys hung out, shooting the shit and dreaming of a future that would rock their reality?
He shook his head, a bittersweet smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Too many nights to count.
His thoughts darkened, and he clenched his teeth tightly as the reason for his return hit him in the gut. Not everyone's future had turned out as planned. The unimaginable had happened, and it was a sobering reality check.
One that had brought him full circle. Back to Crystal Lake.
Back to this porch.
He glanced up at a pristine blue sky and a plane caught his attention-its drone a melancholy sound that echoed into the stillness. A warm breeze caressed his cheek, bringing with it the smell of summer-of freshly mowed lawn, flowering bushes, and warm lake water. He closed his eyes and the scent took him back. Memories rushed through him: Fourth of July celebrations that lasted the week. The annual boating regatta that filled the lake with hundreds of revelers. Christmas out at Murphy's sugar shack. Tailgate parties and football. Beach nights with the boys, a guitar, a couple of girls, and a case of beer.
He saw the kid he'd been-the teen who'd dreamed large and let nothing stand in his way. Hell, none of them had. The twins, Jake and Jesse, had realized their dream to serve their country, while Mackenzie had fought his way out from beneath his father's fists to make a life in the Big Apple.
Ten years gone and it seemed like yesterday. Like nothing had changed.
The Edwards family abode was a large, redbrick Georgian with a long rambling driveway lined with petunias in varying shades of violet. At the moment, every available space of blacktop was occupied. There were at least thirty cars parked in the driveway, and several had pulled onto the grass near the road.
He'd left his rental on the street, because if memory served, Mr. Edwards was pretty anal when it came to his lush green lawn.
Cain reached for the door, but something held him still. His fingers grazed the cool burnished-steel handle and he faltered. He hated hypocrisy, and at the moment it felt like his throat was clogged with its bitter taste. He was so far off the grid, he felt like he didn't belong anymore.
He took a step back instead. Christ, could he do this?
Less than twenty-four hours ago he'd been on stage in Glasgow. BlackRock-the band he fronted-had snagged the opening slot on the Grind's latest tour and had performed in venues all over Canada, the United States, and Europe. It had been the chance of a lifetime-one he'd been waiting years for-and the exposure had been more than a gift, it had been a godsend.
The tour had been a grueling, eye-opening experience with more than its fair share of drama, yet every drop of blood had been worth it. The record label was happy, and the buzz was incredible. BlackRock was a band on the rise, and after years of sacrifice, his dream was within reach.
It was a dream that had taken him from this town ten years ago, and sadly, it had taken a funeral to bring him back.
The door opened suddenly, and a small boy ran out, yanking it closed behind him. He skidded to a halt, barely missing Cain, his shiny shoes sliding across the well-worn wooden planks. He looked to be about six or seven and had a mess of russet curls, and large blue eyes that dominated his face. The child was dressed for church-black dress pants, white button-down shirt-and he clutched a bright piece of fabric in his hand that was a shade darker than emerald green. The boy's eyes widened as his gaze traveled the tall length of Cain.
"Who are you?" His young voice wasn't so much surly as defiant.
Cain cracked a smile. The kid had spunk. "I'm Cain."
"Oh." The boy's brow furled. "I don't know you."
"No, I suppose you don't."
The kid angled his head, peered around him, and frowned. "Why are you standing out here by yourself?"
Good question. "I just got in a few minutes ago." He nodded to the boy's hand. "What's that?"
The little guy's mouth tightened as he unclenched his fist. His face screwed up in disgust. "It's a tie. My mom made me wear it, but I hate 'em." He glanced at the long settee off to the side. "Thought I'd hide it so I didn't have to wear it the rest of the day."
Cain laughed out loud. "Good call. I'm not really a tie man myself."
"You won't tell her?" The kid grinned and ran to the settee, where he promptly stuffed the offending piece under the seat. He carefully placed the cushion in the exact way he'd found it and stepped back. "Do you think she'll know?"
"I'm pretty sure she won't."
Cain walked over to the boy and paused. They stood in front of a large bay window, and he heard voices-muffled of course, but he knew there was a good-sized crowd in the house.
"Did you know him?"
The child's question hit a nerve, and Cain clenched his jaw tight, fighting the emotion that beat at him. Know him? He was like a brother.
"What did you say your name was?" he asked the boy instead.
His reflection in the window didn't look promising. He'd been on a plane for hours, and then there'd been the long drive from Detroit. He hadn't showered since before the show in Glasgow. His jaw was shadowed, his clothes rumpled-the black shirt, faded jeans, and heavy boots were not exactly appropriate either.
He looked like shit and knew he'd hear it from his mother, but until now none of that had mattered. His only thought had been to get home in time for the funeral, which he'd failed to do. As it turned out, he'd been damn lucky to make the reception.
"My name's Michael." The boy's eyes were huge as he looked up at Cain. He shoved his small hands into the pockets of his pants and scuffed his shoes along the worn wooden floorboards. "Mom says he was a hero. I never met a hero before." He squared his shoulders. "Did you know him?"
Christ, but the kid looked earnest. His pale skin was dusted with light freckles, his round cheeks rosy.
"Because I didn't."
Cain looked inside but couldn't see shit. The reflection of the sun didn't allow it.
"Yeah, I did." A wistful smile crossed his face, and he glanced down at the kid. "Your mom's a smart lady. He was a bona fide hero." He nodded. "I was about your age the first time I met the Edwards twins."
The young boy smiled, but it faded as he glanced toward the door. "I should go. My mom is gonna wonder where I am."
They both turned when the front door opened and a slender woman stepped onto the porch. She wore a simple black skirt cut to just above her knee, a fitted blouse in a muted moss green, and low-heeled shoes. Her hair was held back in a ponytail-one that emphasized the delicate bone structure of her face-and was dark, a shade between crimson and brown, more like burnished amber shot through with bits of sun. Her skin was the color of cream, and when she turned toward them, Cain felt a jolt as their eyes connected.
Hers were blue-like liquid navy-feathered by long, dark lashes and delicately arched eyebrows. She was, without a doubt, one hell of a looker. A little on the thin side for his tastes, but Cain's interest was piqued.
Her eyes widened for the briefest of moments, and then she turned to the boy, eyes narrowed and lips pursed. "Michael John O'Rourke! What are you doing out here"-her voice lowered-"and where is your tie?"
She had a slight Southern drawl that rolled beneath her words. It was melodic and soft.
"It was tight and, uh, I took it off and I, um..." He tapped his foot nervously and shrugged. "Well, I'm not sure where I left it."
The boy shot a quick look his way, and it took some effort for Cain to keep a straight face.
The woman sighed. "Michael, this is a serious occasion." She walked over to them, ignored Cain, and bent forward to fix a stray curl that rested upon the boy's forehead before fastening the top button of his shirt.
Her scent was subtle, fresh with a hint of exotic. Cain liked it.
"I know, Mom. But, like, can't I be serious without a tie?"
A ghost of a smile tugged the corner of her mouth and Cain smiled. "He's got a point." Cain motioned toward his tieless shirt.
She straightened, though her hand never left her son as her eyes traveled the length of him. Gone was the smile. The lady was all business. "And you are?"
Cain opened his mouth and then closed it. What to say? Obviously she wasn't a townie, because he'd sure as hell have remembered someone like her. For the moment he didn't feel like sharing his relationship with Jesse, didn't feel like owning up to his hell-raising days.
"A friend of the family," he answered instead.
She grabbed her son and pushed him toward the door. The boy opened it and a soft swell of voices spilled outside. He ran inside, but the woman paused. She looked at Cain as if he had two heads.
"Aren't you coming inside, then?"
Her abrupt tone kick-started him into action. Cain exhaled and followed in their footsteps.
The Edwards home boasted a grand foyer-the focal point, a massive centered staircase that led to the upper level. He took a second and glanced around.
The walls were no longer taupe and had been done over in pale, cool greens. The wood accents-the railing and trim-once oak, were now dark ebony, and the ceramic floors had been replaced with a funky hardwood. It was similar to what was in the house he'd shared with his ex-wife, but damned if he remembered what it was called.
Music wafted from the back of the house, and he assumed a good many people were gathered outside on the deck. It was the first week in June, so the weather was warm and the Edwardses' yard was renowned for its landscaping, pool, tennis courts, and prime lake frontage.
It was the sweetest spot on Crystal Lake and one not many could afford.
There were quite a few folks talking quietly. He felt their interest. It was in the understated whispers and covert glances directed his way. Cain ran his hand over the day-old stubble that graced his chin and winced. Shit, he should have at least shaved.
The woman and little boy disappeared among the crowd, and he took a step forward, suddenly unsure of himself. He was surrounded by faces he recognized, yet he felt like an outsider. Again he fought the sliver of doubt.
Maybe he should have stayed away. Sent a card or a flower arrangement.
"Cain, you came."
The whispered words melted his heart. Years fell away as he turned and gazed down into Marnie Edwards's face. She was older, of course, her face fuller, with time etched into the lines around her eyes and mouth. Her dark hair was elegant, hitting the curve of her jaw in a blunt cut. She wore a smart black suit, with a dash of red in the scarf draped loosely about her neck.
Marnie opened her arms, and he grasped her small frame close to his. She trembled against him. "I knew you would."
Grief welled inside him. Hard, like a fist turning in his chest. He couldn't speak; his throat felt like it was clogged with sawdust. So he just held her, took her warmth and strength into his body, and closed his eyes.
"Cain, thank you for coming. It means a lot."
Cain looked up, kept Marnie secure in his arms, and nodded to Steven Edwards. Pain shadowed the older man's eyes, and Cain swallowed hard. "Sir, I tried to get here for the funeral, but..."
Steven Edwards nodded. "I know, son."
"Jesse would be so happy to know you're all together." Marnie wiped her face and slipped from his embrace. "Mackenzie and Jacob are out back somewhere." She crossed to her husband's side. "You should go see them."
"Is my mother..." His voice trailed off as he struggled to gain control over the emotions inside. "I tried to get hold of her earlier, but she didn't pick up."
Marnie smiled warmly. "She's here somewhere, helping with the food, I think." She glanced up at her husband. "It's good now. We're all home." Marnie motioned toward the back of the house. "Go, the boys are waiting."
Cain nodded and slipped through the small groups of people gathered in the hall. Muted voices and snatches of conversations followed him as he entered the kitchen and headed toward the patio doors. He recognized a lot of the faces, smiled, said hello, but didn't stop to talk.
The deck was crowded, and conversation halted as he stepped outside. Hot sunlight filtered through the vine-heavy pergola overhead, and the scent of lilac filled the air. The bushes alongside the pool house had grown a lot. They were in fact twice the size he remembered and were full of fragrant white and soft purple-colored blooms.
His gaze wandered past the deck. There was no one here he wanted to talk to. Bradley Hayes, a classmate from back in the day, nodded and headed in his direction. They'd never been friends, and he sure as hell wasn't in the mood to pretend.
Cain turned abruptly and took the stairs two at a time to the patio below.
He cleared the bottom step, grabbed a cold beer from the nearest waiter, and took a long, refreshing draw. He glanced out over the backyard as his hand absently wiped the corner of his mouth. The tight feeling in his gut pressed harder, and his skin was clammy.
Cain was used to being the focus of attention but this was different. These weren't fans. They were old neighbors, teachers, acquaintances, and some he'd considered friends a long time ago.
Were they judging him? Was he the prodigal black sheep, returned?
He squared his shoulders. None of them were the reason he'd come back.
Two men caught his eye, and he moved methodically through the crowd of mourners, nodding to those who called greetings, yet his gaze never left the duo several feet away from everyone.
The man on the left was dressed in a suit, his tall frame draped in expensive Armani. Cain knew this. His closet was filled with the crap. His newly minted ex-wife, Natasha, had insisted he wear nothing but the Italian designer whenever he accompanied her to one of her damn premieres. She'd spent wads of cash dressing him up like one of her West Coast buddies. After she had left, he'd considered getting rid of the lot, but hell, it had cost a fortune and he didn't see the benefit in throwing money away.
The man on the right was decked out in full military dress.
Cain stopped a few feet away, and they both turned at the same time to face him.
Silence fell between the three, their eyes locked on each other as a world of pain united them.
Armani raised his beer, a tight smile settling on his face, though his eyes remained shadowed as he spoke. "You look like shit."
The soldier stepped forward.
"I'm sorry...I..." Cain struggled to form a coherent sentence but faltered. Two arms enveloped him in a bear hug that was crushing and welcoming and hard, in the way it was among men.
The pain he'd felt for days, ever since he got the news, grabbed him, twisting his insides until he nearly choked from the intensity. Mackenzie stepped back, gave them some room, and Cain fed off the strength and energy that was Jake Edwards.
After a few moments Jake let go, grabbed another cold beer from the bucket at his feet, and tossed it to Cain-who nearly dropped the one he already had. Mac scooped one for himself, and they wandered down to the beach.
There were no words spoken. The easy silence of their youth enveloped them as if the passage of time meant nothing.
They'd buried one of their own today.
There was nothing else to say.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Read on January 24, 2013 BOOK SYNOPSIS Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started… Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame. For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay? The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans. My Thoughts Complex fully rounded characters make this a fast easy read and the complications posed by both Cain and Maggie's pasts add spice, drama and realism to their story. A young man who leaves home to make his way in the rock and roll world is back ten years later to bury a childhood friend who has died serving his country. The tragedy is the reason why Cain comes home but the reason for staying is embodied in a woman and her son that fill a hole that he did not know was even in his heart. I feel like every time I read a contemporary romance there is a little piece of the story that resonates deep in my heart and makes me feel like the characters portrayed could be people that are friends, loved ones, neighbors or family and this helps me to connect with their story that much more strongly. In this particular book that is very true. The fact that Cain and his friends Mac and Jake were once like brothers, along with Jake's deceased twin Jesse, makes the story even stronger as these characters once again reign supreme as the reunited force they were as boys in the town of Crystal Lake Michigan. Friends but the bond goes deeper than that and when Cain finds himself falling deeper and deeper for Maggie and her son Michael the other two men do everything within their power to make sure she and Michael are part of their group. There is lots of humor sprinkled throughout the drama and intensity in this story, just finding out more about Cain Jake and Mac lends the reader an eagerness to know more as these three men are each in their own way fascinating characters whose charm comes through loud and clear off the written page. While it is true that this is Cain's story the book also holds so much more as it allows us to meet other townspeople like his mother and some of the people who the boys went to school with or worked for. What I really enjoyed was the dynamics between Cain, Maggie and her son Michael.The three made a family unit that filled the need in each their hearts and gave the reader a warm feeling as the characters worked their way towards overcoming a multitude of obstacles in the path of lasting happiness with each other! I love happy endings, rock and roll and small towns where friends are family! This is my first read by author Juliana Stone , it will not be my last! [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Maggie is trying to move on with her life by starting from the ground up in Crystal Lake with her son Michael. While working an event she caught the eye of Cain Black, one of the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake. Cain left his hometown to pursue his dream of being a rock star but has returned home for the funeral of one of his closest friends and to gain some peace of mind after experiencing some problems in his personal and professional life. Neither of them is looking for a relationship or to fall in love, but when they met their attraction is undeniable. Life a moth to a fire they are drawn to each other until they succumb to the overwhelming desire each ignite in each other. Although I have read many books with the same concept of girl runs away, starts a relationship and her past catches up with her, I feel that the author, Juliana Stone, did a great job of taking it a step further so that this story didn't feel like something I have read countless times before. There were some real struggles and emotions thrown in the mix that made Maggie and Cain's story different. Add to that a great cast of secondary characters, a bad boy rocker and an adorable little boy and I was a goner. I appreciated the way the author made the characters face their attraction to each other, both clear on their expectations and respecting each others situations. I liked how supportive Cain was of Maggie's situation even when he felt that she was keeping things from him. I especially admired his integrity and honesty when, even though he knew what the true situation was, he gave Maggie the space she needed and the time to sort through her feelings. I have to say that although Maggie and Cain's chemistry was off the charts HOT, it was the way that they took the time to get to know each other and the way they related to the other characters - showing their caring sides - that truly endeared them to me and made me cheer them on to get together. The Summer He Came Home is the first book in the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series and the author did a great job of introducing the reader to the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake. I got to know some great characters and their stories interest me enough that I know with certainty that I will be reading the next books in the series. All in all, an enjoyable, sexy read. I received this title from Sourcebooks through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame. For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay? The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans. REVIEW: OMG, this was such a nice treat! I had a hard time putting it down and got wrapped up in every word written, until long after I put it down, I was still thinking of these two characters. What a nice story and a nice way to build up anticipation. I loved everything about this piece and definitely think Ms. Stone has done a fabulous job with this. It had it all, romance, sexy scene, suspense, action that shocks you to the core when it happens, sweet words, and a great sense of broody men you just want to cherish. The story has it all. If you want a great read, and a book you won’t be able to tear yourself away from, pick this one up…now. Five out of five stars for an awesome job!
Enjoyed the book so much.
Reviewed by JoAnne Book provided by the NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Wow – what a great read with great complex characters. The Bad Boys all had their own lives now that they are grown but reunited at a funeral back in their hometown of Crystal Lake when one of them was killed in Afghanistan. Seeing their sorrow, anguish and anger but also them dealing with their life the way it is now was often gut wrenching and dark but there were moments of lightness as they reminisced about their lives growing up, their life at school and on the football team, the girls they scored with and/or dated and the pranks they played and often times got in trouble for. The chemistry between Maggie and Cain was powerful no matter how often they originally fought it and tried to ignore it – especially Maggie. Watching Cain get through her defenses and find out about what she was running from plus give her son Michael the father figure he needed was heartwarming. Also seeing how the townspeople interacted with each other and brought back Cain into their fold is to me the epitome of small town life. There was sorrow, hate, tears, laughter, happiness, love, romance, music and camaraderie. The descriptions of the lake, the town, the homes and cottages made me wish I could be there. There was wonderful closure but I knew we’d be meeting up with the Bad Boys and their families and friends again since there is so much more story to tell. When I went to the author’s webpage I was oh so right since book two in the series will be out in October and I for one can’t wait to read it! Stone will definitely be added to my ever growing TBR pile. Favorite Quote: Like the previous night, she’d tossed and turned, mumbled things he couldn’t understand. He knew she was holding back the part of her that was scared, and even though he wanted her to let him in, he was afraid to push. She need to come around on her own. She needed to learn to trust him with her secrets.
Really enjoyed this book. It's the first book by this author that I've read and I really liked her writing style. I really enjoyed the story line and love the characters. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Charming story about second chances. Maggie is warm and caring as is Cain though most don't see it. This book pulls you in all the way to the end.
Cain left home 10 years ago to follow his dreams and get away from small town life. Tragedy brings him back love makes him stay. I really enjoyed this book, I am a Juliana Stone fan and I love all her work. She is really great at writing romantic, emotional stories that drag you in, you just can't help it. Maggie is running from an abusive relationship and finds peace in the small town of Crystal Lake with her son Michael. Until Cain returns home and turns her quite life upside down. I was rooting for this couple the whole time and fell in love with Cain from the first chapter. On to reading about the second Bad Boy of Crystal Lake - Jake looking forward to his story.
Sexy sweet and real
Reviewed by Kim for Read Your Writes Book Reviews The Summer He Came Home is the first book I've read from Juliana Stone. The book is full of characters you will fall in love with. You gotta love a story about close friends. That's what you get with this book. The Summer He Came Home is the first book in the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series. The book centers on Cain Black, who now is the frontman for the band BlackRock. (To make Cain even more irresistible, he was inspired by Jon Bon Jovi and Nikki Sixx.) Awww. Sorry.. Back on point. Ten years ago, Cain was known as one of the "Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, Michigan". The other guys making up the group included: Luke Jansen, now a paramedic; Mackenzie "Mac" Draper, now an architect; and twins Jacob "Jake" Edwards and Jesse Edwards, both of whom went on to serve in the Marines. After being gone for ten years, Cain and the guys return to Crystal Lake for the funeral of Jesse, who was killed in Afghanistan. Upon returning, the first people Cain encounters are seven-year-old Michael and his mother Maggie O'Rourke. Maggie is a single mother who has recently moved into town. For Cain, the attraction for Maggie was pretty close to immediate. The same can't be said for Maggie. She has a past that she's trying to hide from. One that she is doing her best to protect. She needs to stay under the radar and not draw attention to herself. Of course, for a guy like Cain, this isn't going to work. You gotta love a guy who does whatever he can to make you fall for him, like taking care of your child so you can get some rest. And doing whatever is necessary to protect you and your son. There are so many things to like about this book, I don't know where to start. You have friendship and love; people who have each other's backs without any questions being asked. I will however, say that I wasn't prepared for Maggie's secret. And when that secret came to a head, it had me wanting to skip over a couple of pages. But I managed to get through, even though I forgot to breathe. I'm MORE than glad I survived. I loved the swoon worthy ending.... Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Juliana Stones’ series, the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, starts off with a winner. The Summer He Came Home tells the story of Cain Black, a rock star who has come home to attend the funeral of his childhood friend. His marriage has broken up and he has just found out his band mate was screwing his ex-wife. After an on-stage fight, Cain finds out about his friend’s death and heads home. Suffice it to say, he is not at his charming best when he arrives. Then he sees Maggie O’Rourke and his life takes a turn for the better. Maggie O’Rourke is a newcomer in town who works as a cleaning lady. She supports herself and her young son and pretty much keeps to herself. When she meets Cain, she is attracted but wary. She is keeping a secret about her child’s father and has no interest in complicating her life. Although the story is a romantic classic, bad boy meets downtrodden woman with a secret, it feels fresh in this book. There are several plots going on at once, some with Cain, some with Maggie, and others with the secondary characters. The romantic tension between the two main characters is pretty hot and Maggie fights it pretty hard. I liked that she put her son first before finally letting herself get involved. I also liked the fact that Cain kept his grouchy, “I’m an island” persona for most of the book. It just made the ending so much more satisfying! There were plenty of hints of the stories that will work into the later books and that just made the anticipation that much more.
3.5 stars REVIEW: THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME is the first storyline in Juliana Stone's new Bad Boys of Crystal Lake contemporary romance series focusing on a small town group of childhood friends who are brought back together at the funeral of one of their own. Future storyline heroes are introduced, each with a haunted past, but The Summer He Came Home is Cain Black's story. Cain is the epitome of a rock and roll star: tattoos, sexy starlet for a wife, and a lifestyle conducive to tabloid rumors and innuendo. But the day he returned to Crystal Lake for his friend's funeral, all bets are off. Reeling from a double betrayal at the hands of his wife and a fellow band mate, Cain is instantly drawn to Maggie O'Rourke-a beautiful single mother who works hard and keeps to herself in the small Michigan town. But Maggie's move to Crystal Lake comes with a few secrets, and if her whereabouts ever become public, Maggie will lose more than her freedom-she could lose her son as well. The Summer He Came Home has the usual romantic storyline push and pull of the forbidden attraction. Juliana Stone writes a story with a build-up of the relationship, not jumping too quickly into the sex and morning after regrets. But if you are looking for the bad boy of rock and roll image, Cain's character (back home) is nothing like what fuels the tabloid pages. There are a few unanswered questions regarding Cain's future and music career, especially as it pertains to his relationship with Maggie and her son, but perhaps these issues will be resolved in a future storyline when one of his childhood friends has his story told. There is also the fact that Maggie and Cain's ex-spouses are still very much in the picture-hopefully there is some resolution on the horizon. The Summer He Came Home is a storyline of betrayal and loss, finding yourself and being able to love again despite a history of failure in the relationship department. Juliana Stone introduces a cast of characters right from the pages of Small Town, USA and forges a bond between the reader and her hero/heroine and friends. I am looking forward to reading the next installment in The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series. see all of my reviews at : thereadingcafe(dot)com
The Summer He Came Home For those looking for irresistible bad boys and the sizzling passion that moves them, Stone is guaranteed to deliver. Full review available at BookTribdotcom or RomanticReadsandSuch on wordpress
This is my first book from author, Juliana Stone and now I must check out her other books she has written because if her writing style is like this book...then I know I will definitely have to start auto-buying her. =) I had a hard time putting down "The Summer he came Home". Cain Black is finally back in Crystal Lake after so many years being away. He's not making a trip for good terms. His best buddy, Jesse was killed in action and he's attending his friend's funeral. Cain and his three friends, Jesse, Jake and Mac became the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake...all because of that one incident while pulling a high school prank. Now they are without one of their bad boys. Cain thought once he attended the funeral, he would be back on the road with his rock band and making more of his music. He never thought he would fall for Maggie O'Rourke, who happens to be not his usual type of girl, but for some reason he is entranced by her. Maggie O'Rourke is not looking to hook up with anyone. She is just wanting to do her job and take care of her son, while trying to stay hidden from her past. Unfortunately, the bad boy, Cain will not leave her alone and he will do anything to win her over. What he does not realize is that Maggie has her own secrets she's trying to hide and he is trying to make her realize she can trust him. I could go on and on...but I will not spoil the best parts and I definitely do not want to do that. I loved both characters in the story, Cain and Maggie because both had their own dilemmas they were working through. Both Cain and Maggie are complete opposite of each other and that made me love them even more. Cain being the bad boy rocker and Maggie being the sweet and innocent mom, who will do anything for her son. Juliana knows how to make you go through the tissues a lot in this book. You will not only cry for Maggie and what she goes through, but you will actually be come close to the secondary characters in the story too. I want to know more about what is going on with Raine and Jake. There is something else going on then what is really going on....I just know it. Can I also say...how much I adore Maggie's son, Michael. He is such a sweetie. He puts his Mom in her place several times and he may be young, but he knows what is going on. =) I love every bit of this story and look forward to the next book. I give this book 4.5 full moons and highly recommend it to contemporary romance readers out there. You will fall head over heels for Cain and his charming, sexy ways. (Oh...some of the sexy things he said to Maggie...made me so jealous and also the things he did for her) =) I look forward to the next book in the series. Here's hoping it's Jake's story. =) I received a complimentary copy of the book from Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.