Long Simmering Spring
By Elisabeth Barrett
Star Harbor #3
It's back to Star Harbor and this time the über sexy Sheriff Cole Grayson is front and center with the town's young doctor, Julie Kensington. He's working to overcome his boyhood reputation and she's trying to loosen up and have a life beyond her work. There's never been any question about their attraction to each other.
Cole was in the Army with the Special Operations Forces and returned suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Intense emotions, including his feelings for Julie, trigger the disorder and he stopped his treatments with his psychologist. There is also a situation going on in town that puts Julie in serious jeopardy, which creates more stress to Cole.
I loved Cole and Julie's relationship. She was initially wary of getting involved with Cole because of their history when they were teenagers but quickly got past that. There was none of that ridiculous and tiresome resistance and these two focused on developing a mature and lovely romance that slowly made its way to something pretty hot (steam meter hits the highest points at times). It doesn't hurt that both of them are extremely appealing either.
What I Loved
Cole and Julie's romance progressed at a perfect pitch. Their feelings for each other developed at the right pace and when it got physical, I experienced the honesty of it. Even when Cole's PTSD emerged and made him a bit more Alpha male than what was acceptable, Julie's sensitivity was authentic and her reactions realistic. Also, the tension around the threats to Julie's safety added an good edge to the story. And, I continue to love the town and it's residents, including the appearances of the characters I fell for from the earlier books.
What Didn't Work So Well
I liked everything about this story but sometimes there was a level of detail that seemed unnecessary, not adding anything to the plot, scene or characters. It didn't bog the story down but it was something I noticed.
The romance works! Cole and Julie are really appealing and their issues are woven in nicely to a perfectly developed relationship. The realities of PTSD was enlightening and presented meaningfully. The suspense was subtle but gave some spice to the story. This may be my most favorite of the series to date, ousting Lexie and Sebastian from the top spot, and that's a big deal.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review)