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The Doctor's Redemption
A Shadow Creek, Montana Novel
By Victoria James, Alethea Spiridon
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Victoria James
All rights reserved.
Gwen Bailey was in love with the Muffin Man.
She leaned against the white marble counter in her chocolate shop and gazed at the man seated at one of the tables in front of the large bay window. The Muffin Man or TMM as she and her two sisters-in-law now referred to him, came in every day slightly past seven in the morning, shortly after she opened shop. He ordered a large coffee, which he always drank black, and a chocolate chip muffin. He always left a few dollars in the tip jar on the counter and then he'd go and sit at the same table in the window. He usually came in wearing a navy knit hat, with a navy pea coat, and black leather gloves. He always wore a variation of the same clothes-worn-in-all-the-right-places jeans, and a Henley in either grey, navy, or hunter green. He was tall and fit, with broad shoulders and his shirt clung to some very defined biceps.
The Muffin Man read a newspaper. He drank his coffee and ate his muffin in silence. He'd stay for approximately one hour. He always said good morning, thanks, and then gave a wave with what looked like a strong — ringless — tanned hand before he left. She knew all this of course, because she'd been secretly drooling over the man for the last few months.
But how was it that she found herself in love with a man she barely knew? Maybe it was the fact that her love life had been non-existent for the last five-going-on-six years. Or maybe it was because it was the most male attention she'd received from a man she wasn't related to in the last five years. Or maybe (and this was the maybe she was hoping for) it was because she sensed a deeper connection with TMM. Maybe she and TMM were meant to be. She created the food he obviously loved to eat.
The only problem with her theory of a deep connection was that he may not be aware of it, because in the two or so months he'd been coming in, he'd never started a conversation. And when she tried to, he usually gave a one or two word answer.
"Uh, hello, what's a pregnant woman gotta do to get a cookie around here?"
Gwen spun around, shocked to see her sister-in-law Lily standing behind her. "What are you doing here?" Gwen always did the morning shift. Lately she'd been doing even more than that to allow her sister-in-law, who also happened to be her BFF and business partner, to plan for the unplanned arrival of twins.
Lily was glowing. She was in her second trimester and Gwen had never seen her look better. It could also have something to do with the fact that Lily and Gwen's brother were now happily married after being apart for five years. "I'm just back from my doctor's appointment and thought I'd give you a hand. I know you've taken on so many of my shifts," Lily said, taking off her red coat and hat, and placing them on a stool behind the counter.
"It's the end of winter, Valentine's long gone. Don't worry, our only customer this morning has been TMM," she said, dropping her voice.
Lily sucked in a breath and clutched Gwen's arm. "TMM is here?" She nodded excitedly. Because Gwen always did the morning shift, Lily had never met him. Her heart sank as they both looked over to see TMM leaving, his trademark wave-beside-the-head on his way out the door.
"I can't believe I missed him again!" Lily said as the door shut behind him. Gwen watched sadly as his tall figure disappeared down the street. She knew that he was going to get into his black Range Rover and drive way ... to parts unknown. She had spent way too many hours wondering about that man. Where he drove off to every day. Where he came from every day. It was the longest time until she saw him again.
"Don't worry about it," she mumbled, walking across the empty shop to wipe his table. He had already cleared his garbage. She was starting to feel like a real moron. Her friend was pregnant, married, and here she was obsessing about a man she knew nothing about. A man she had nicknamed. How juvenile. "I'd rather hear about your doctor's appointment. What's the latest on the Bailey twins?"
Lily broke out into a huge smile. "Everything's great!" she said, throwing up her arms and looking totally cute with her baby bump and epic glow. "They are both growing well and the doctor has no concerns at all."
Gwen walked across the shop and hugged her friend. "I'm so happy for you and Jack. Have I told you that lately?"
Lily's eyes welled up with tears. "All the time, because you're the best, best friend and sister-in-law and business partner that I could have ever asked for. I never would have thought on New Year's Eve, when I finally saw Jack again, that I'd be standing here a few months later, married and pregnant with baby Jacks," Lily said, full-on tears now making their way down her face.
Gwen reached for the box of tissue they kept on the counter since Lily had found out she was pregnant and cried at the drop of a hat. "Me neither. As a bystander, I'd say it was also pretty fun watching you make Jack pay for leaving you."
Tragedy had struck her family when five years ago, her older brother who was also Jack's twin, had died in a car accident along with their little nephew. Unable to cope, Jack had left town, as had their brother's wife Julia. But now they were all back in Shadow Creek and settled again. Lily and Jack had gotten married in a small but very emotional and touching ceremony a month ago. They were always destined to be together even though things weren't looking very good for her brother a while ago.
Lily smiled sheepishly. "Well, I guess he did deserve it, even if I feel a bit bad now for putting him through the wringer."
Gwen toyed with the front of her apron, anxious to broach a business idea she'd thought up. "Don't worry about it, he deserved it. Listen ... I've been thinking about an idea to drum up some business around here during the slow season. What if we did one of those speed dating nights?"
Lily blinked but didn't say anything for a moment.
She knew her friend probably saw right through her pathetic plan. It was kind of out of left field, but business was slow now. She also had no social life. But really, truly, the entire reason was that she wanted a way to lure TMM into a possible date. If he turned her down, then she could once and for all forget her ridiculous crush.
"That's a lot of work, Gwen, and honestly I'm not sure I'm up for it right now. We're still not finished the house reno. Your brother is turning into some crazy nester, insisting we have the place done before the babies. Plus, he's working all the time. Then I don't want to abandon your mom with the baby shower she's planning."
"Julia, my mom, and I are all helping."
"I know, it's just that I already owe you a bunch of hours around here and my extra time I need to spend with Jack and getting organized for not one but two surprise babies. I know that sounds so self-centered. I don't want to say yes and then stiff you with extra work."
She took a fresh chocolate chip cookie off the domed cake stand and handed it to her friend. "No, it doesn't sound self-centered, it sounds honest. I know all the work you have to do over at the house and the baby planning. I get it, the timing totally sucks. Seriously. I don't want you to do anything with this, it'll be my thing." Her timing really did suck; there was no way she could dump this on Lily now. She was just desperate, but of course Lily was focusing on the house and babies. This was something even she, single with no life, could understand.
Lily frowned while taking a large bite of the cookie. "Well, maybe I can find a way."
"Nope. Of course not. I'll totally do this on my own. No extra help required. I'll put up a few signs, add it to our Facebook page and the town's page. Maybe put out an ad in the paper and that's it. It would be a great way to get new people in here."
Lily polished off the cookie and brushed the crumbs off her jacket.
"Are you sure speed dating is still a thing? Do they still do those? Wasn't that like a thing in the nineties?"
Gwen rolled her eyes. "This is rural Montana. I'm sure it's just hitting here now."
Lily angled her head. "True ... very true. I think it's a great idea, but I've got to help you. Why don't I at least do all the signage, social media posts, and the ad? I can easily do that from home."
Gwen clapped her hands. "Done! I'll do some research on the best way to run this thing, standard questions to ask and all that stuff, and then send you the details."
"Are you planning on inviting TMM?" Lily asked, wriggling her eyebrows.
Gwen pretended to wipe down the already pristine marble counter to avoid eye contact. "Well, he doesn't really ... say much. But I guess it couldn't hurt to invite him. Maybe I'll start by hanging up a poster nonchalantly while he's sipping his coffee. Usually there's no one here that time of morning. Then if he says nothing, I'll casually mention it."
Lily gave a little squeal. "Great idea. So do we know any more about TMM?"
Gwen shook her head. "Nothing. We still haven't spoken about ... anything. I've been thinking he's either unemployed or my new career guess for him is woodsman and or lumberjack."
Lily sputtered. "Pardon?"
Gwen stopped wiping and nodded. "I haven't seen him at any of the local businesses."
She could tell Lily was trying not to laugh. "So therefore he must be a woodsman and or lumberjack?"
She crossed her arms. "No. But I've thought about this. He also doesn't shave ... much. And he's usually dressed very casually, like if he were employed somewhere, he couldn't dress like that."
"Maybe he works from home."
"Yes. As a woodsman and or lumberjack."
"That's not even a job anymore."
Gwen leaned on the counter. "I guess it doesn't really matter. But as I've been sitting here these last two months, I've been doing some soul searching. I've been using everything as an excuse as to why I have no life. Michael and Matthew's death. Helping Mom and Dad. Jack leaving. Julia leaving. But they're all back now. You're all happy. I'm just eating chocolate all day! I want to start living, Lil. I don't want to wait anymore. Life's too short and there are no guarantees," she said, hating that she knew how true that was. Her brother hadn't even been thirty. Her nephew just a toddler. She should learn from that. She needed to be the woman she was meant to be before she was old and living in an apartment with only the truffles they couldn't sell to keep her happy at night.
Tears sprang into Lily's eyes again and she sniffled. "You're right. I'm here for you. Let's do this. Let's get TMM to notice you."
"It doesn't have to be him," she said, lying. It had to be him. "Also, if it doesn't work out, then I'm off men. I'd say I need to travel but that's too expensive, so I'll come up with some other fulfilling life plan. Something I'll figure out later."
"It'll work out. This is your time, Gwen. You deserve this. You've been there for everyone else, it's time to focus on your life."
"You're right. I'm done wasting time. I'm going to find someone and I'm going to do it fast."
"Okay. Well, how about some new clothes?"
Gwen looked down at her shapeless black sweater over black leggings. "I guess. I was planning on losing twenty pounds and then going on a shopping spree."
"If I weren't pregnant, I'd threaten to shoot myself if I have to hear about the twenty pounds. If you want to really live, then live now. Don't wait until you reach some goal weight that's only in your head to treat yourself well. If you want to be noticed, then dress for it. Stop hiding. Stop using your weight as an excuse. Also, not that this has to do with going shopping, you did lose weight. Again, let me point out that you don't actually need to lose weight."
"You're the best. Everything you said was true. Yes, I lost a few pounds. Three to be exact. Three miserable pounds that were all blood, sweat, and tears. All I had to do for those three pounds was walk miles every day for the last month. Oh, and I even gave up cream in my coffee. No sugar. I'm drinking black coffee, Lil."
Lily was trying not to laugh, she could tell. "Well, you look great. You always have. This is all in your head. But I'm right when I say you're being too hard on yourself and you need to start living."
Gwen took a deep breath and held up her hands. "You're so right. Fine. New Gwen, new life. Let's go after we close."
Lily beamed. "Perfect, because I need some maternity clothes. I'm bursting out of everything. My wedding dress better fit."
"Of course it will. At least you have an excuse to be bursting out of your clothes. I'm not giving birth to twins," she muttered.
"Gwen," she said sternly.
"Right. Right. Turning over a new leaf."
Lily nodded. "Should I ask Julia if she wants to come?"
Great. Another person to witness her transformation. "Sure, why not!"
* * *
Luke Thomson tried to focus on driving home and not on what had just happened. He had known this day was coming. It was the reason he was in Shadow Creek. But he had no idea that the cute coffee shop girl was Gwen Bailey. He'd had his first clue when he'd seen Lily walk in. He had treated her one night in the ER. When she had left the ER it had occurred to him that her fiancé was Jack Bailey.
The Baileys were the people he needed to speak to.
Not that he was interested in a woman, but he'd had a hard time not noticing Gwen this last month. He never would have started going into her shop if he'd known who she was. It was getting more and more difficult to ignore her though. When he'd first moved to Shadow Creek, there hadn't been any open places to grab a decaf coffee on his way home from the brutal twelve-hour night shift at the hospital. Then he'd noticed this place. The first morning he'd walked in, the sweet smell of freshly baked whatevers and coffee greeted him. But that hadn't been what had hit him in the gut; it had been the gorgeous woman behind the counter. She'd given him a smile that had soothed the turmoil he'd been living with for the last five years. Right from the first, he'd been attracted to her in a way that made her pop into his head throughout the day.
He soon found himself listening to her as she spoke with customers, smiling when he heard her laugh, glancing over at her when she was busy helping people. Everyone who came into her shop loved her. She chatted with them and asked them about their families. She had a way of making each of them feel important and special. Including him. But it was when he'd seen Lily walk in and Gwen refer to her as her sister-in-law that changed everything for him. There would be no asking the gorgeous, sweet, Gwen Bailey on a date. Gwen was off-limits. When she found out who he was, it would destroy her. He could never get close to her or any of them.
He pulled onto the last street before reaching the small cabin he was renting a few miles outside of town. The cabin served its purpose; it was an easy commute to the hospital he worked at, and not that far from town. It was also isolated, which was perfect for him as he had no interest in a social life. That part of his life was long gone and he didn't miss it.
He needed a hot shower and a warm bed.
He pulled into his driveway, frowning when he saw he'd need to shovel the walkway again. His phone rang as he trudged up the front steps. It was his sister.
"Hey, Haley, how are you?" He unlocked the door and walked in, tossing his jacket on the kitchen chair and taking off his boots.
"Okay ..." The sigh that followed her "okay" told him everything wasn't okay. He worried about his little sister. He wasn't a worrier in general, but she was the most important person to him, and her marriage last year to a man he totally suspected was a douche, left him apprehensive. Added to that was that she lived three hours from him, so he wasn't able to keep an eye on her. They had grown up together, and being that he was six years older than her, he'd taken on a parental role many times. He'd thought twice about moving to Shadow Creek for the year, but she'd reassured him she would be fine. He also hadn't expected to stay here so long. He hadn't even planned on working, but when he found out how the rural hospital had been in desperate need for doctors, he'd taken on a one year position. In a way, it made the time pass faster as he wasn't a guy accustomed to lying around without anything to do.
"Tell me exactly what's going on," he said, going to his fridge and looking for leftover pizza. He pulled out the box and waited for her answer. Luigi's pizza had saved him many, many nights. It was so good, he ate it cold from the box.
"Are you eating cold pizza?"
He stopped chewing. "No."
"You need to take better care of yourself, Luke."
He continued chewing. "It's vegetarian."
She sighed. "Have you approached the Baileys yet?"
"You're going to have to tell them sooner or later."
He chucked the crust into the open box, his appetite gone. "I know. Maybe tomorrow."
Excerpted from The Doctor's Redemption by Victoria James, Alethea Spiridon. Copyright © 2017 Victoria James. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## DISAPPOINTED. That's how I feel about this book. I really liked book 1 & 2. This one not so much. There were too many things I didn't like: *I didn't like that Gwen kept throwing herself at the hero. No means no. Have some pride lady. *I didn't like that she kept persuing him even after he tells her he never wants to get married again or have kids when that's exactly what she wants. * I didn't like that Luke waited so long to tell her who he was (he feels he was at fault for her brother's death). * I didn't like that he had a dead wife & child. * I didn't like the emphasis on Gwen's weight. * I didn't like that I couldn't feel the connection between hero and heroine. I felt like Gwen just wanted anyone and he happened to be convenient. Sad to say, this was a big miss for me.
Love and forgiveness . Great
Love this series!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book
3.5 “McDreamy who?” Stars I was eagerly awaiting Gwen’s story, and I must say I was quite pleased with The Doctor’s Redemption. I loved a lot of things about this, how Gwen’s self-confidence was slowly rebuilt, the way Luke’s self-imposed penance turned into something magical and how finally every member of the Bailey family could move on from the tragedy that struck them by the means of love and forgiveness. Gwen was one of my favorite characters of the Bailey clan from the very first in this series, and I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing her growth as a woman and all her self-discoveries. She was selfless and loving, the first to offer help wherever needed. Her self-esteem issues and sometimes lack of assertiveness, while true to character, at a point did get on my nerves. Luke was an excellent male lead. He was strong, sexy and moody… a strong, sexy and moody doctor who in spite of himself and his self-inflicted sentence found himself falling in love and being adorably awkward about it. He also had some deep issues to deal with, and I do have to say that at some point I felt he was being a bit OTT with the whole guilt thing, but I could understand where he was coming from. Luke and Gwen were totally cute and sweet together and I wished they’d had a little more time as a couply-couple, but what was there was absolutely adorable. I do feel this whole series has a bit of a pronounced Faith/Christian message to it, and while it wasn’t very strong it does have a constant presence. Again, it’s not to a point where it bothered me, but it does bear to be mentioned. With all the Bailey’s (official and acquired) happily ever-aftering in The Doctor’s Redemption, I wonder if Luke’s sister will be getting her own story in this lovely town of Shadow Creek, Montana. I’m hoping she will and I’m totally looking forward to it! *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
The Doctor’s Redemption By: Victoria James ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Star Review by Kristie K Victoria James delivers a tragic, sweet, and sensual romance with amazing characters, and all the feels… Five years ago, a tragic accident changed the lives of two families and started a lifetime of guilt and self-loathing for one man. Doctor Luke Thomas heads to the small town of Shadow Creek, Montana in the hopes of making amends. A broken man, trying to make a difference in the world, Luke keeps to himself and holds his pain close to his heart and deep in his soul. The only small happiness he allows himself is his daily visit to the Chocolaterie, where he gets a muffin and a coffee and sits at a table to read his paper…alone. He doesn’t speak to anyone, he just sits and eats, pretends to read, and absorbs as much of the beauty and warmth that he can from the gorgeous woman that owns and runs the small bakery. Luke refuses to allow himself to take anymore from this amazing woman for himself…he doesn’t deserve it. Gwen Bailey lives for her family, and has for the last five years. Now that their lives seem to be moving on, and happiness has replaced the devastation, Gwen can finally live for herself. Making the decision to seize the day, regardless of her dress size, Gwen decides it’s time to go after what she wants…and sweet, loving, kind, and generous Gwen wants the handsome stranger that she watches every morning as he ignores everyone while eating his muffin, drinking his coffee, and reading his paper. He’s determined to keep his distance, she’s determined to close the gap…as he starts to give in to her stubborn determination, a secret is revealed that may destroy them both. Oh Ms. James, how you move me… The Doctor’s Redemption both warmed and shattered my heart. The tale of a how a tragedy can both destroy, and strengthen a person, a family, a life…and change the ability to love. I was drawn into this story by the beautiful cover that made me smile, and my heart warm. And the blurb that both captivated and intrigued me. In this day and age, a story of tragedy is nothing new…but the show of strength, heart, love, redemption, and forgiveness is exactly what our world needs. Luke absolutely captured my heart. The broken devastation, and his absolute conviction that he didn’t deserve to be loved…it shredded my heart. His pain and self-loathing were palpable. Now, Gwen…she was a beacon. A beacon of love, light, strength, and survival. The pillar of strength when her family fell apart under impossible circumstances, she helped keep them together. Her insecurities, and shaky understanding of how to take her life back, to be her own woman again, created a visceral response in me. It was so real, so authentic, so gut-wrenchingly pure. It hit me hard, and I loved that she was strong enough to overcome it. Ms. James has developed characters that speak to you, make you feel, and make you smile. The storyline and plot were well conceived, touching, and very well executed. I will confess that I felt a bit of confusion and disappointment at times, as the story seemed to jump or skip. Minor issues, but I noticed it, and sometimes things seemed to go a bit fast…much faster than the rest of the story. The book as a whole was fantastic, and definitely something that will stay with me for a long time. Ms. James, you have moved me indeed… Kristie K
A feel-good story that made me smile! I was pulled in immediately by this one. Luke just happened to find himself attracted to Gwen. Super! But, Gwen also happens to be a member of the family he wants to make amends to. But Luke had zero idea about that until one fine day. Needless to say, this created some tension and I couldn't wait to see what happened at Luke's "big reveal." This book treated me to some laugh-out-loud moments. Gwen is a pistol, and I loved the things she would say! Thanks to Gwen, I was also treated to some inspirational "girl power" moments related to body image pursuing your own happiness. Never hurts to have those topics reinforced! I met the whole cast of characters from the series so far (I think), and I am VERY interested in doubling back and reading their stories too. All in all, in spite of the somber premise, this book was beautifully written and left me with a smile! (I received a copy of this book in consideration of an honest review)
Oh goodness! I loved the heavy emotion,the redemption, the finally feeling alive, the deep connection, and the family dynamic of this book. Gwen was such a strong beautiful woman with a heart equally the same. And Luke, I wanted to embrace him, was so broken and downtrodden. My heart felt for both characters. The way their story was written was beautiful and moving. It was so hard to put it down when I needed to sleep or get ready for the day. Such a wonderful addition to the series and my favorite one so far. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
This is the third story in the series which focusses on the Bailey family, their friends and family. In this story the hero is initially nicknamed ‘The Muffin Man’ - he’s the hunk who comes into Gwen’s Chocolaterie shop every morning and always has a muffin but rarely has any conversation with her or the other members of staff. He’s a brooding, tired looking, mystery who intrigues her. However, she’s also feeling dissatisfied with herself and her life. She’s always wearing frumpy, ill fitting, baggy clothes and in serious need of a fashion make over! She’s also been a pillar of strength for her family during the series of tragedies which have impacted on them during the last few years and now feels she can start to make time for herself and her life - preferably involving the Muffin Man. He’s actually Doctor Luke Thomson and he’s come to Shadow Creek to make amends for something in the past which is making him vow not to make any move on Gwen without her knowing about his past enabling her to decide whether to still be involved with him or not. This is a story of people seeking forgiveness from others but reluctant to forgive themselves. It is an emotive story, dealing with many aspects of grief, including empowering yourself and others to move on to live despite past tragedies. It is a roller coaster ride where you’re not quite sure how everything can be resolved to enable the romance to succeed. There are great secondary characters in the story, too, and it was fantastic to catch up with some of them again. I’m enjoying this series and hope there will be additional books to come - I want to know what has happened to Luke’s sister and read more about Ben, too! Another winner from Victoria James, IMHO, I have no hesitation in recommending this and other books in this series to anyone who enjoys escaping into a very moving romantic read! I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
I knew this one was going to beautifully emotional. I had the tissues handy especially for the last part of the book. Gwen is ready to live life again for herself and she has her sights on Luke. I love the nickname she gave him, the Muffin Man or TMM. My heart just goes out to Luke. He has so much guilt inside him and keeps pushing Gwen away because knows he can't have her, but that doesn't stop him from yearning for her. As Gwen works her magic on Luke, Luke braces himself for inevitable outcome. That is where those tissues come in handy because it's heartbreaking, but therapeutic as well. I really enjoyed this third book in the series. Gwen and Luke had chemistry and tome they fit well together. It was nice to also see the charters from previous books enjoying their HEAs.
Victoria James sure knows how to tell a story so that all my emotions are involved and I am invested in the outcome of the story. I adore this series, and how all the stories are twined together, how that one tragic day changed the lives of so many people, yet these stories tell how hope, love, and new life can be born from a tragedy. Gwen Bailey had been there for her family when everything fell apart. She had neglected herself while taking care of others and finally felt it was time for her to get a life, as well. Now it was her turn to be happy, loved, to have a meaningful relationship. She felt sorry for herself, unattractive, and was uncomfortable in her body. Yet her attraction to The Muffin Man gave her inspiration to do something about it, to change things, to pamper and focus on herself. She was ready for a relationship, looking actively for one, and shamelessly pursuit The Muffin Man, whose name she didn't even know. I didn't know if I should have been cheering her on for her boldness to go after what she wanted or appalled of her brazen attempts to get his attention. Doctor Luke Thomson, also known as The Muffin Man, carried a heavy guilt and pain from the past. A remorse that brought him to Shadow Creek in the first place. He is a good man, with deep emotions, good intentions, caring and kind. He also has no desire to be in a relationship, to get married, or have a family again and he is not afraid to vocalize this to Gwen. Yet there is this sweet, adorable connection between them. The pull is unavoidable, the attraction is burning hot. The draw they have to each other is stronger than the reasons they should stay apart. Until the secret Luke is holding in, hiding behind of, finally comes to light, a little too late, and has explosive consequences. There's a lot of gentle, delicious lustfulness in the story that had me smiling and sighing. Luke and Gwen are a great match, they are perfect for each other. They support each other, they share interests and are not afraid to voice an opposite opinion. I wasn't sure at the beginning if Gwen was actually attracted to Luke, or just to the feeling of falling in love, but those feelings are put to test and have to survive the fire. Love, angst, joy and regrets are all mixed in and churning in the hearts and minds of the protagonists as they are working towards healing, a better, happier tomorrow. Atonement and forgiveness take time, time to mend and accept the past mistakes and casualties, but falling in love can change everything and it can happen in the blink of an eye. A sweet, appealing, and alluring tale, a part three to the poignant and touching series that has won my heart over completely. ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
The Doctor’s Redemption, the third book in Victoria James’ Shadow Creek, Montana Series is the story of Gwen Bailey and her mystery man known as The Muffin Man aka Luke Thomson. This is a standalone read, however, readers of the series will be happy to see past couples. Five years ago, the Bailey family lost a son and grandson in a tragic car accident. The resulting fallout forced a daughter-in-law/friend and twin son/brother to leave as well. During this time, Gwen Bailey had to pick up the pieces and try to keep what was left of her family together and take care of whatever it was her parents needed. Now that the family is back together, happy, and thriving it's time to focus on her. Luke Thomson is a man carrying around a lot of pain and guilt. He’s in Shadow Creek to make amends for what he thinks he has done wrong. What he didn’t expect to happen was to have feelings for Gwen. Luke is about to find out that true love, forgiveness, and friendship finds you when you least expect it. Victoria James is one of my favorite authors and an auto buy for me. I’ve read all of her books so I know what she’s capable of. Sadly, The Doctor’s Redemption wasn’t her best work. That’s not to say that the story wasn’t enjoyable or that I didn't like it. It was enjoyable and I did like it, but it wasn't what I expected from a Victoria James story. Victoria is known for her ability to write heart-wrenching scenes, which draws readers in and leaves them reaching for a box of tissue. That was missing from this story. The main characters of Gwen and Luke are very likeable. However, I had issues with them. To me, Gwen came across as being too needy. She refused to allow Luke to turn her down when she wanted to spend time with him. There was a reason why he kept making excuses to not be with her. I wasn't fond of the fact that Luke took things too far without coming clean with Gwen about his secret. The secondary characters were all great and helped to pull the story together. They were able to show what was truly important in life and love. While The Doctor’s Redemption wasn't a huge hit for me, I loved that it eludes to the possibility of a fourth book, which I would definitely love to read. **Received a copy of the book courtesy of Entangled Publishing and voluntarily reviewed.**
Absolutely adorable story, I loved it! Gwen and Luke are a perfect match. I enjoyed reading their story. It was both happy and sad at the same time, it made me laugh, and it made me cry, that's why I loved it so much. It's a must read if you enjoy contemporary romance. Gwen hasn't been able to find her perfect man. But she is ready. And TMM is handsome in a roguish way, now all she needs to do is get his attention. She is prepared to take the first step. He has been coming to her shop for quite some time now. May be he hasn't noticed her because she is always dressed in lose, baggy clothes, so with the help of her sister-in-law she tries to pay attention to her looks. Now he won't be able to ignore her charm. Luke has been admiring Gwen from afar. He is too afraid to talk to her even though there is so much he needs to say. So when she takes initiative he is confused. He can't be involved with her but now that she has made her intentions clear he is having even harder time resisting. Soon they're spending time together and falling in love every day... but what will happen when the truth finally comes out? It's a beautifully written story. I loved all the characters, and enjoyed reading it a lot. I'd definitely be recommending it to my friends.
Luke carried a guilty so heavy for five long years. One that was not his to carry but one all the same. This is a sweet fast paced romance of second chance love. An emotional rollercoaster for the hero and a push and pull back and forth for the heroine, Gwen. I would say I was surprised of what the ultimate guilt was because truly I went in the opposite direction of that one for sure. This was a nice fast read by Victoria and I now want to see what happens with Hailey and her true back story.
"You can't tell me what or who I need. You can't tell me who I can fall in love with. All I know is that life passes by and if you're too afraid to take a risk, one day it'll be all over and there'll be nothing to show for our time here. If you don't want me, that's one thing. But to not even try because you're afraid? I don't think so." The Doctor's Redemption is the third book in the Shadow Creek, Montana Series, but can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. Told from dual points of view, The Doctor's Redemption follows the story of Gwen and Luke. After a terrible tragedy tore her family apart, Gwen has spent her time taking care of everyone and everything around her; even if that means putting her wants and dreams aside. Flash to the present, Gwen's life is finally on track and she's starting to live her dream. The last thing she ever planned on was meeting Luke....5 years ago, Luke's life was hit with a major tragedy. To this day, he still harbors guilt. He wants to make amends for his past. What he never planned on was Gwen. He knows he should stay away, but he can't deny the pull that he feels towards her. Will Luke and Gwen take a chance on what could be an amazing HEA? What will happen when Gwen learns of Luke's past? You'll just have to pick up this book and see for yourself. The Doctor's Redemption might be a novella, but this book packs a punch. It is fast paced and grabs you from the very beginning. The Doctor's Redemption is a wonderful story about second chances, forgiving oneself and redemption. I think this story was sweet and had a lot of heart. It does deal with some rather tough subject matter, but I believe that it was handled and written well. Overall, I thought The Doctor's Redemption was a quick and easy read. I was able to finish it in just a few short hours and thought it had just the right amount of romance with a dash of drama. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Loved, loved, loved!! Victoria James once again wrote a story that pulls all my emotional strings and grabs me by the heart. The Bailey's continue to show us what a family should look like and what a little love and kindness can bring to our lives. After a tragic loss of two members of the family they have each had to work through their grief and learn to live and love again. Gwen Bailey was the one trying to take care of everyone. Now that everyone seems to be doing well it's time for Gwen to go after her dreams. One is her chocolate shop - check. The other - get the attention of the regular early morning customer. Dr. Luke Thompson aka TMM or The Muffin Man, comes to the chocolate shop every morning working up the nerve to introduce himself to Gwen. His original goal was to offer an apology but after getting to know Gwen what he wants is so much more but how could he ever ask her for that? This is one for the must read list. I highly recommend it.
This is a fun romance in the Shadow Creek, Montana, series that I just loved. Five years ago, Luke was driving in an accident that killed five people. He returns to Shadow Creek to try to find a way to apologize and make amends to the people he hurt. Somewhere, along the way he began stopping in Gwen and Lily's chocolate shop after work each morning. He sees Gwen every morning without having any idea who she is. Thus begins a perfect setup for an ill fated romance. The Doctor's Redemption made me smile, even as the characters dealt with difficult things, their inherent goodness came through. I loved how they found a way to overcome their pasts and find a way to their futures. This is a feel good romance. Fans of the genre will love this book. The author is on my must read authors' list.