Serendipity's Finest (Book 1)
Always feeling like the odd man out in his family, Michael Marsden
wanted to make it on his own. So he escaped Serendipity to become an
undercover cop in Manhattan, where the Marsden name wasn't known. But
Michael's independence is compromised when he returns home to replace
his sick father as chief of police. Back in the shadow of his family,
he's as lost and restless as ever, until he's challenged by someone he
Cara Hartley is the Serendipity cop with whom Mike had a one night stand
three months earlier. Neither expected anything more but fate has
other things in store. When Mike returns as Cara's boss, the sexual
tension between them is impossible to ignore - and the unexpected
emotional connection continues to grow. But Cara's a small town girl
while Mike has a wanderer's blood in his veins.
Together their chemistry explodes but ...
Both are convinced a future together is impossible. Until Mike's real
father's secrets come back to haunt him and he realizes there are some
things worth staying and fighting for. Including Cara.
Very good book. Mike is back in Serendipity to fill in as police chief while his dad recovers from cancer treatments. He can't wait to get back to the city where his restlessness isn't a problem. But he soon finds that restlessness is lessened by the presence of Cara, with whom he had one awesome night three months earlier. The attraction is still there and just as hot as it was before. As they start a short term relationship both are convinced that anything long term is impossible.
I really liked both Cara and Mike. Cara is a straightforward woman who doesn't play games. She enjoyed her night with Mike but really didn't expect to see much more of him. When he came back to town to fill in as police chief, he became her boss. It was awkward at first until they cleared the air between them and admitted that the attraction was still there. Cara knows she is risking her heart, but she can't resist Mike. I really loved Cara's honesty. She tells Mike straight out that she doesn't expect commitment from him, that she will take what he's willing to give her for as long as he's around. Things are going pretty smoothly until her work on a cold case unearths information about his biological father. The more time they spend together the more she feels an emotional connection to Mike and that connection has her understanding a lot more than he is sometimes comfortable with. I loved seeing the way that she understood so much of what Mike was feeling and was able to give him just what he needed. When she finally admits her feelings to herself she knows she has to be true to her own needs, even if that means not seeing Mike anymore. Cara also has some family issues of her own. She grew up with an abusive father which has caused her to have some trust issues with men. She has to feel that they will keep their promises, unlike her father who would constantly promise to stop the abuse, but then keep on doing it. She has tried to get her mother away from him and is frustrated by her refusal to do so. Cara uses her knowledge to help other abused women which helps her deal with it.
Mike has always felt a little out of place in his family. His dad is actually his adoptive father and Mike feels like he doesn't really fit in. He knows his biological father ran out on his mom and feels like he has inherited those same tendencies. He has never been able to truly settle down anywhere and doesn't have real relationships with women. He does love his family and when his dad asks him to come fill in as police chief he does it. He figures he can handle staying in Serendipity for as long as needed because he knows there is an end to it. He does have to face Cara again, knowing that she's the one woman he hasn't been able to stop thinking about. When they admit their attraction is still as hot as it had been, he makes sure she knows that he doesn't do commitment, that there are "no hearts involved". As they work on a cold case together that involves his biological father Cara is the one who helps him deal with the things he is feeling. He is also starting to feel things for her that he's never experienced with another woman, things that make him wonder if maybe he's not as much like his old man as he thought. I really loved seeing the softer side of him that came out when he was with Cara. When he finally admitted his feelings to himself he panicked and disappeared, leaving Cara exactly as he had said he would. I loved seeing his brother try to help both Cara and Mike, and how he made Mike see what was important. I loved Mike's "go big" moment.
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