#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts completes the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy with a novel of starting over and star-crosed love.
Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails exterior and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…
The former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is now where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.
While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him…
Don't miss the other books in the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
The Next Always
The Last Boyfriend
About the Author
Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.
Date of Birth:1950
Place of Birth:Silver Spring, Maryland
Read an Excerpt
With a few groans and sighs, the old building settled down for the night. Under the star-washed sky its stone walls glowed, rising up over Boonsboro's Square as they had for more than two centuries. Even the crossroads held quiet now, stretching out in pools of shadows and light. All the windows and store fronts along Main Street seemed to sleep, content to doze away in the balm of the summer night.
She should do the same, Hope thought. Settle down, stretch out. Sleep.
That would be the sensible thing to do, and she considered herself a sensible woman. But the long day left her restless—and, she reminded herself—Carolee would arrive bright and early to start breakfast.
The innkeeper could sleep in.
In any case, it was barely midnight. When she'd lived and worked in Georgetown, she'd rarely managed to settle in for the night this early. Of course, then she'd been managing The Wickham, and if she hadn't been dealing with some small crisis or handling a guest request, she'd been enjoying the nightlife.
The town of Boonsboro, tucked into the foothills of Maryland's Blue Ridge Mountains, might have a rich and storied history, it certainly had its charms—among which she counted the revitalized inn she now managed—but it wasn't famed for its nightlife.
That would change a bit when her friend Avery opened her restaurant and tap house. And wouldn't it be fun to see what the energetic Avery MacTavish did with her new enterprise right next door—and just across The Square from Avery's pizzeria.
Before summer ended Avery would juggle the running of two restaurants, Hope thought.
And people called her an overachiever.
She looked around the kitchen—clean, shiny, warm and welcoming. She'd already sliced fruit, checked the supplies, restocked the refrigerator. So everything sat ready for Carolee to prepare breakfast for the guests currently tucked in their rooms.
She'd finished her paperwork, checked all the doors and made her rounds checking for dishes—or anything else out of place. Duties done, she told herself, and still she wasn't ready to tuck her own self in her third-floor apartment.
Instead, she poured herself an indulgent glass of wine, and did a last circle through The Lobby, switching off the chandelier over the central table with its showy summer flowers.
She moved through the arch, gave the front door one last check before she turned toward the stairs. Her fingers trailed lightly over the iron banister.
She'd already checked The Library, but she checked again. It wasn't anal, she told herself. A guest might have slipped in for a glass of Irish or a book. But the room was quiet, settled like the rest.
She glanced back. She had guests on this floor. Mr. and Mrs. Vargas—Donna and Max—married twenty-seven years. The night at the inn, in Nick and Nora, had been a birthday gift for Donna from their daughter. And wasn't that sweet?
Her other guests, a floor up in Wesley and Buttercup, chose the inn for their wedding night. She liked to think the newlyweds, April and Troy, would take lovely, lasting memories with them.
She checked the door to the second-level porch, then on impulse unlocked it, and stepped out into the night.
With her wine, she crossed the wide wood deck, leaned on the rail. Across The Square, the apartment above Vesta sat dark—and empty now that Avery had moved in with Owen Montgomery. She could admit—to herself anyway—she missed looking over and knowing her friend was right there, just across Main.
But Avery was exactly where she belonged, Hope decided, with Owen—her first, and as it turned out, her last boyfriend.
Talk about sweet.
And she'd help plan a wedding—May bride, May flowers—right there in The Courtyard, just as Clare's had been this past spring.
Thinking of it, Hope looked down Main toward the bookstore. Clare's Turn The Page had been a risk for a young widow, with two children and another on the way. But she'd made it work. Clare had a knack for making things work. Now she was Clare Montgomery, Beckett's wife. And when winter came again, they'd welcome a new baby to the mix.
Odd, wasn't it, that her two friends had lived right in Boonsboro for so long, and she'd relocated only the year—not even a full year yet—before. The new kid in town.
Now, of the three of them, she was the only one still right here, right in the heart of town.
Silly to miss them when she saw them nearly every day, but on restless nights she could wish, just a little, they were still close.
So much had changed, for all of them, in this past year.
She'd been perfectly content in Georgetown, with her home, her work, her routine. With Jonathan, the cheating bastard.
She'd had good, solid plans, no rush, no hurry, but solid plans. The Wickham had been her place. She'd known its rhythm, its tones, its needs. And she'd done a hell of a job for the Wickhams, and their cheating bastard son, Jonathan.
She'd planned to marry him. No, there'd been no formal engagement, no concrete promises, but marriage and future had been on the table.
She wasn't a moron.
And all the time—or at least in the last several months—they'd been together, with him sharing her bed, or her sharing his, he'd been seeing someone else. Someone of his more elevated social strata you could say, she mused, with lingering bitterness. Someone who wouldn't work ten and twelve hour days, and often more—to manage the exclusive hotel, but who'd stay there, in its most elaborate suite, of course.
No, she wasn't a moron, but she'd been far too trusting and humiliatingly shocked when Jonathan told her he would be announcing his engagement—to someone else—the next day.
Humiliatingly shocked, she thought again, particularly as they'd been naked and in her bed at the time.
Then again, he'd been shocked, too when she'd ordered him to get the hell out. He genuinely hadn't understood why anything between them should change.
That single moment ushered in a lot of change.
Now she was Inn BoonsBoro's innkeeper, living in a small town in Western Maryland, a good clip from the bright lights of the big city.
She didn't spend what free time she had planning clever little dinner parties, or shopping in the boutiques for the perfect shoes for the perfect dress for the next event.
Did she miss all that? Her go-to boutique, her favorite lunch spot, the lovely high ceilings and flower-framed little patio of her own townhouse? Or the pressure and excitement of preparing the hotel for visits from dignitaries, celebrities, business moguls?
Sometimes, she admitted. But not as often as she'd expected to, and not as much as she'd assumed she would.
Because she had been content in her personal life, challenged in her professional one, and the Wickham had been her place. But she'd discovered something in the last few months. Here, she wasn't just content, but happy. The inn wasn't just her place, it was home.
She had her friends to thank for that, and the Montgomery brothers along with their mother. Justine Montgomery had hired her, on the spot. At the time Hope hadn't known Justine well enough to be surprised by her quick offer. But she did know herself, and continued to be surprised at her own fast, impulsive acceptance.
Zero to sixty? More like zero to ninety and still going.
She didn't regret the impulse, the decision, the move.
Fresh starts hadn't been in the plan, but she was good at adjusting plans. Thanks to the Montgomerys the lovingly—and effortfully—restored inn was her home and her career.
She wandered the porch, checking the hanging planters, adjusting—minutely—the angle of a bistro chair.
"And I love every square inch of it," she murmured.
One of the porch doors leading out from Elizabeth and Darcy opened. The scent of honeysuckle drifted on the night air.
Someone else was restless, Hope thought. Then again, she didn't know if ghosts slept. She doubted if the spirit Beckett had named Elizabeth for the room she favored would tell her if she asked. Thus far Lizzy hadn't deigned to speak to her inn-mate.
Hope smiled at the term, sipped her wine.
"Lovely night. I was just thinking how different my life is now, and all things considered, how glad I am it is." She spoke in an easy, friendly way. After all, the research she and Owen had done—so far—on their permanent guest had proven Lizzy—or Eliza Ford when she'd lived—was one of Hope's ancestors.
Family, to Hope's mind, ought to be easy and friendly.
"We have newlyweds in W&B. They look so happy, so fresh and new somehow. The couple in N&N are here celebrating her fifty-eighth birthday. They don't look new, but they do look happy, and so nice and comfortable. I like giving them a special place to stay, a special experience. It's what I'm good at."
Silence held, but Hope could feel the presence. Companionable, she realized. Oddly companionable. Just a couple of women up late, looking out at the night.
"Carolee will be here early. She's doing breakfast tomorrow, and I have the morning off. So." She lifted her glass. "Some wine, some introspection, some feeling sorry for myself circling around to realizing I have nothing to feel sorry for myself for." With a smile, Hope sipped again. "So, a good glass of wine.
"Now that I've accomplished all that, I should get to bed."
Still she lingered a little longer in the quiet summer night, with the scent of honeysuckle drifting around her.
When Hope came down in the morning, the scent was fresh coffee, grilled bacon—and if her nose didn't deceive her, Carolee's apple-cinnamon pancakes. She heard easy conversation in The Dining Room. Donna and Max, talking about poking around town before driving home.
Hope went down the hall, circled to the kitchen to see if Carolee needed a hand. Justine's sister had her bright blond hair clipped short for summer, with the addition of flirty bangs over her cheerful hazel eyes. They beamed at Hope even as she wagged a finger.
"What are you doing down here, young lady?"
"It's nearly ten."
"And your morning off."
"Which I spent—so far—sleeping until eight, doing yoga and putzing." She helped herself to a mug of coffee, closed her own deep brown eyes as she sipped. "My first cup of the day. Why is it always the best?"
"I wish I knew. I'm still trying to switch to tea. My Darla's on a health kick and doing her best to drag me along." Carolee spoke of her daughter with affection laced with exasperation. "I really like our Titania and Oberon blend. But . . . it's not coffee."
"Nothing is but coffee."
"You said it. She can't wait for the new gym to open. She says if I don't sign up for yoga classes, she's signing me up and carting me over there."
"You'll love yoga." Hope laughed at the doubt—and anxiety— on Carolee's face. "Honest."
"Hmmm." Carolee lifted the dishcloth again, went back to polishing the granite countertop. "The Vargases loved the room, and as usual the bathroom—starring the magic toilet—got raves. I haven't heard a peep out of the newlyweds yet."
"I'd be disappointed in them if you had." Hope brushed at her hair. Unlike Carolee she was experimenting with letting it grow out of the short, sharp wedge she'd sported the last two years. The dark, glossy ends hit her jaw now, just in between enough to be annoying.
"I'm going to go check on Donna and Max, see if they want anything."
"Let me do it," Hope said. "I want to say good morning anyway, and I think I'll run down to TTP, say hi to Clare while it's still my morning off."
"I saw her last night at book club. She's got the cutest baby bump. Oh, I've got plenty of batter if they want more pancakes."
"I'll let them know."
She slipped into the Dining Room, chatted with the guests while she subtly checked to be sure there were still plenty of fresh summer berries, coffee, juice.
Once she'd satisfied herself her guests were happy, she started back upstairs to grab her purse—and ran into the newlyweds as they entered from the rear porch.
"Oh, good morning." The new bride carried the afterglow of a honeymoon morning well spent. "That's the most beautiful room. I love everything about it. I felt like a princess bride."
"As you wish," Hope said and made them both laugh.
"It's so clever the way each room's named and decorated for romantic couples."
"Couples with happy endings," Troy reminded her, and got a slow, dreamy smile from his bride.
"Like us. We want to thank you, so much, for making our wedding night so special. It was everything I wanted. Just perfect."
"That's what we do here."
"But . . . we wondered. We know we're supposed to check out soon . . ."
"If you'd like a later check-out, I can arrange it," Hope began.
"Well, actually . . ."
"We're hoping we can stay another night." Troy slid his arm around April's shoulders, drew her close. "We really love it here. We were going to drive down into Virginia, just pick our spots as we went, but . . . We really like it right here. We'll take any room that's available, if there is one."
"We'd love to have you, and your room's open tonight."
"Really?" April bounced on her toes. "Oh, this is better than perfect. Thank you."
"It's our pleasure. I'm glad you're enjoying your stay."
Happy guests made for happy innkeepers, Hope thought as she dashed upstairs for her bag. She dashed back down again, into her office to change the reservation, and with the scents and voices behind her, hurried out the back through Reception.
She skirted the side of the building, glancing across the street at Vesta. She knew Avery's and Clare's schedule nearly as well as her own. Avery would be prepping for opening this morning, and Clare should be back from her early doctor's appointment.
The sonogram. With luck, they'd know by now if Clare was carrying the girl she hoped for.
As she waited for the walk light at the corner, she looked down Main Street. There Ryder Montgomery stood in front of the building Montgomery Family Contractors was currently rehabbing. Nearly done, she thought, and soon the town would have a bakery again.
He wore jeans worn at the left knee and splattered with drips of paint or drywall compound or whatever else splattered on job sites. His tool belt hung low, like an old-time sheriff's gunbelt—at least to her eye. Dark hair curled shaggily from under his ball cap. Sunglasses covered eyes she knew to be a gold-flecked green.
He consulted with a couple of his crew, pointed up, circling a finger, shaking his head, all while he stood in that hip-shot way of his.
Since a dull wash of primer currently covered the front of the building, she assumed they discussed the finish colors.
One of the crew let out a bray of laughter, and Ryder responded with a flash of grin and a shrug.
The shrug, like the stance, was another habit of his, she mused.
The Montgomery brothers were an attractive breed, but in her opinion her two friends plucked the pick of the crop. She found Ryder a little surly, marginally unsociable.
And okay, sexy—in a primitive, rough-edged sort of way.
Not her type, not remotely.
As she started across the street a long, exaggerated wolf whistle shrilled out. Knowing it as a joke, she tipped her face back toward the bakery, added a smoldering smile—then a wave to Jake—one of the painters. He and the laborer beside him waved back.
But not Ryder Montgomery, of course, she thought. He simply hooked his thumb in his pocket, watched her. Unsociable, she thought again. He couldn't even stir himself for a casual wave.
She accepted the slow kindling in her belly as the natural reaction of a healthy woman to a long, shaded stare delivered by a sexy—if surly—man.
Particularly a woman who hadn't any serious male contact in—God—a year. A little more than a year. But who's counting?
Her own fault, her own choice, so why think about it?
She reached the other side of Main Street, turned right toward the bookstore just as Clare stepped out onto its pretty covered porch.
She waved again as Clare stood a moment, one hand on the baby bump under her breezy summer dress. Clare had her long, sunny hair pulled back in a tail, with blue-framed sunglasses softening the glare of the bold morning sun.
"I was just coming over to check on you," Hope called out.
Clare held up her phone. "I was just texting you." She slipped the phone back in her pocket, left her hand there a moment as she came down the steps to the sidewalk.
"Well?" Hope scanned her friend's face. "Everything good?"
"Yeah. Good. We got back just a few minutes ago. Beckett
. . ." She glanced over her shoulder. "He's driving around to the back of the bakery. He's got his tools."
"Okay." Mildly concerned, Hope laid a hand on Clare's arm. "Honey, you had the sonogram, right?"
"Oh. Let's walk up to Vesta. I'll tell you and Avery at the same time. Beckett's going to call his mother, tell his brothers. I need to call my parents."
"The baby's all right?"
"Absolutely." She patted her purse as they walked. "I have pictures."
"I have to see!"
"I'll be showing them off for days. Weeks. It's amazing."
Avery popped out the front door of the restaurant, a white bib apron covering capris and a tee-shirt. She bounced on purple crocks. The sun speared into her Scot's warrior queen hair, sent the short ends to glimmering.
"Are we thinking pink?"
"Are you opening alone?" Clare countered.
"Yeah, it's just me. Fran's not due in for twenty. Are you okay? Is everything okay?"
"Everything's absolutely perfectly wonderfully okay. But I want to sit down."
With her friends exchanging looks behind her back, Clare walked in and straight to the counter, dropped onto a stool. Sighed. "It's the first time I've been pregnant with three boys fresh out of school for the summer. It's challenging."
"You're a little pale," Avery commented.
"Want something cold?"
"With my entire being."
As Avery went to the cooler, Hope sat down, narrowed her eyes at Clare's face. "You're stalling. If nothing's wrong—"
"Nothing's wrong, and maybe I'm stalling a little. It's a big announcement." She laughed to herself, took the chilled ginger ale Avery offered.
"So here I am, with my two closest friends, in Avery's pretty restaurant that already smells of pizza sauce."
"You'll have this in a pizzeria." Avery passed Hope a bottle of water. Then she crossed her arms, scanned Clare's face. "It's a girl. Ballet shoes and hair ribbons!"
Clare shook her head. "I appear to specialize in boys. Make that baseball gloves and action figures."
"A boy?" Hope leaned over, touched Avery hand. "Are you disappointed?"
"Not even the tiniest bit." She opened her purse. "Want to see?"
"Are you kidding?" Avery made a grab, but Clare snatched the envelope out of reach. "Does he look like you? Like Beck? Like a fish? No offense, but they always look like a fish to me."
"Which one what?"
"There are two."
"Two?" Hope nearly bobbled the water. "Twins? You're having twins?"
"Two?" Avery echoed. "You have two fish?"
"Two boys. Look at my beautiful boys." Clare pulled out the sonogram print out, then burst into tears. "Good tears," she managed. "Hormones, but good ones. Oh God. Look at my babies!"
Clare swiped at tears as she grinned at Avery. "You don't see them."
"No, but they're gorgeous. Twins. That's five. You did the math, right? You're going to have five boys."
"We did the math, but it's still sinking in. We didn't expect—we never thought—maybe I should have. I'm bigger than I've ever been this early. But when the doctor told us . . . Beckett went white."
She laughed, even as tears poured. "Sheet white. I thought he was going to pass out. Then we just stared at each other. And then we started to laugh. We laughed like lunatics. I think maybe we were both a little hysterical. Five. Oh, sweet Jesus. Five boys."
"You'll be great. All of you," Hope told her.
"We will. I know it. I'm so dazzled, so happy, so stunned. I don't know how Beckett drove home. I couldn't tell you if we drove back from Hagerstown or from California. I was in some sort of shock, I think. Twins."
She laid her hands on her belly. "Do you know how there are moments in your life when you think, this is it. I'll never be happier or more excited. I'll never feel more than I do right now. Just exactly now. This is one of those moments for me."
Hope folded her into a hug, and Avery folded them both.
"I'm so happy for you," Hope murmured. "Happy, dazzled and excited right along with you."
"The kids are going to get such a kick out of this." Avery drew back. "Right?"
"Yeah. And since Liam already made it clear if I had a girl he wouldn't stoop so low as to play with her, I think he'll be especially pleased."
"What about your due date?" Hope asked. "Earlier with twins?"
"A little. They told me November 21. So, Thanksgiving babies instead of Christmas/New Year's."
"Gobble, gobble," Avery said and made Clare laugh again.
"You have to let us help set up the nursery," Hope began. Planning was in her blood.
"I'm counting on it. I don't have a thing. I gave away all the baby things after Murphy. I never thought I'd fall in love again, or marry again, or have more children."
"Can we say baby shower? A double the fun theme," Hope decided. "Or what comes in pairs, sets of two. Something like that. I'll work on it. We should schedule it in early October, just to be safe."
"Baby shower." Clare sighed. "More and more real. I need to call my parents, and I need to tell the girls," she added, referring to her bookstore staff. She levered herself up. "November babies," she said again. "I should have shed the baby weight by May and the wedding."
"Oh yeah, I'm getting married." Avery held out her hand, admired the diamond that replaced the bubble gum ring Owen had put on her finger. Twice.
"Getting married, and opening a second restaurant, and helping plan a baby shower, and redecorating the current single guy's master suite into a couple's master suite." Hope poked Avery in the arm. "We have a lot of planning to do."
"I can take some time tomorrow."
"Good." Hope took a moment to flip through her mental list, rearrange tasks, gauge the timing. "One o'clock. I can clear the time. Can you make that?" she asked Clare. "I can fix us a little lunch and we can get some of the planning worked out before I have check-ins."
"One o'clock tomorrow." Clare patted her belly. "We'll be there."
"I'll be over," Avery promised. "If I'm a little later, we had a good lunch rush. But I'll get over."
Hope walked out with Clare, grabbed another hug before separating. And imagined Clare telling her parents the happy news. Imagined, too, Avery texting Owen. And Beckett slipping off to check on Clare during the day, or just stealing a few minutes to bask with her.
For a moment she wished she had someone to call or text, or slip away to, someone to share the lovely news with.
Instead she went around the back of the inn, up the outside stairs. She let herself in on the third floor, listening as she walked down to her apartment.
Yes, she thought, she could just hear Carolee's voice, and the excitement in it. No doubt Justine Montgomery had already called her sister to share the news about the twins.
Hope closed herself into her apartment. She'd spend a couple hours in the quiet, she decided, researching their resident ghost, and the man named Billy she waited for.
Excerpted from "The Perfect Hope"
Copyright © 2012 Nora Roberts.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Nora Roberts and The Perfect Hope:
"[An] emotionally engaging, exceptionally entertaining contemporary trilogy."—Booklist
"With stellar pacing, humorous flair, and unerring insight into what makes families tick, Roberts wraps up another winning trilogy."—Library Journal
“Leaves the reader feeling blissfully satisfied yet wishing this romantically paranormal story would go on indefinitely.”—New York Journal of Books
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cant find it in my bookd although preordered. Would like to be able to reaf it.
Couldn't access my copy either. Did BN online chat. They told me to archive then unarchive book. It worked! Now can't wait to read it. Hope this helps some of you!
I have never bothered with reviews before. But this time I just had to. I have read pretty much everything NR has written in all her alias' as well. This series was the one for me. Each book was crafted well with characters that were full of depth and warmth and the underlying story of Lizzy just added more. There are so many places where more stories could be told (BIG PLEA TO NORA) and I would love it if she brought us more from the town of Boonesboro. I loved it...could not put it down but at the same time was so sad to have it come to an end. No spoilers but I wish the epilogue went a little further but I tend to want things all finished...lol. grab this series for an easy read and a great getaway...you will be happy you did.
This book is a great read, and I am enjoying it a lot. I wish there were more books to this series. *Please don't put a one star rating if you have trouble with your pre-order book. It is not fair to people who are wanting to know if it is worth buying. Take your complaints to B&N. They can and will help you. Thanks.
Can't read it even though I preordered it.
To all of those who preordered, I too was unable to read it. But you just need to archive it and then unarchive it, weird I know but it works. Actually, it didn't the first time I tried it, but it did the second time. I was very happy to see the "new" tag on the picture and not the "preorder" one. Hopefully you guys still struggling see this!
Well worth the wait. Finished it in one afternoon. Must read trilogy.
Same issue. Where is it? I emailed Barnes and Noble and I'm waiting for a response!
Fun and wofth it. Ready to read it again. As always another excellant job by Nora Roberts.
This has been my favorite Nora Roberts series! Great storyline and characters. I'm sad it's over! Very good read
Another winner by Nora Roberts! I couldn't put it down
Read in two.days just as good as the other two.. think this on is my fave
This book is the perfect ending tona clasic Nora Roberts Trilogy, it has everything you need to put the final pieces together and solve Lizzy's story as well as the great story of Hope & Ryder
I just love her and lose myself in her stories. My only problem is I like reading the entire trilogy so I buy the e-books & then have to be patient. I speed read so this drives me crazy, but her stories are the greastest for taking your mind elsewhere. Sometimes you just need to leave reality behind for a time.
This book was so good I read it in one day. I loved the story of Hope and Ryder. Seeing their love bloom throughout the book was so real and heartwarming. I loved every page of this book it was a fantastic read.
Loved Loved Loved this book very heart warming I felt like I was right there in the story. Would love to see a movie made from this book.
I really enjoyed this trilogy. I felt like I knew the characters and loved the stories.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy - all three volumes. I had to wait to get volumes #3 but it was worth the wait. My only regret is that there is no other volumes to follow in this wonderful family story. Any fan of Nora Roberts would love this trilogy and fall in love with this family just as I did .
Nice finish to the 3 book series. It was an easy read.
Love the whole trilogy. Wish it wasn't over :(
I loved this book and the series. Recommend Very Highly!!
Great read. Love the trilogy.
Characters are well defined, and the story plays out nicely..
I've now read all 3 books in this series, and although the second book was a little flat, this one sparkled. If you're completely averse to the paranormal, you might not like these books because, although not the main plotline, the inn's ghost plays a very important part, as well as being one of the side stories. Since I especially like romances where the hero and heroine are hostile to one another, this book may have been the most satisfying one of the series. I started out the series not too crazy about Ray, but by the end I was rooting for him and Hope to get together.
I absolutely loved the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy ... I hated to see the series end. The description of this gorgeous rennovated inn makes one want to check in! I loved all the relationships, even Clare's little boys!!! Great series ... I would love to see it continued!