Title: Then He Kissed Me by Laura Trentham
Cottonbloom Series Book Two
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Can two hearts come together in one divided town?
As a boy, Nash Hawthorne spent countless afternoons on the Louisiana side of Cottonbloom with Tally Fournette, wading in the river, peeling oranges and catching frogs. When illness stole his mother, Nash yearned to take Tally and run away—for good. Instead, he crossed the state line to live with his aunt. It was a short distance as the crow flies, but it swept him into a whole new world…
After Nash left, Tally managed to struggle through her own losses without him. But now that she’s crossed paths with him again—at Cottonbloom College, where the grown-up, gorgeous Nash teaches history—she is reminded of their cherished youthful connection…and an attraction that has only gotten stronger with age. Between Tally’s possessive ex and Nash’s snobbish aunt, no one thinks they belong together. In a town torn apart by old resentments and rivalries, can they find their way back to the life they once shared—and turn their long-lost dreams into a real and lasting love?
Although the plot has plenty of depth and substance, Then He Kissed Me, the second installment in Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series, is an overall light-hearted, feel-good small town romance.
As children, Nash Hawthorne and Tallulah “Tally” Fournette were the best of friends until tragedy struck both their families. Within just a few days, Nash lost his mom to cancer and both of Tally’s parents were killed in a car accident. Nash went to live with his aunt on the wealthier Mississippi side of Cottonbloom while Tally and her brothers remained on the much poorer Louisiana side. With their lives taking vastly different paths, Nash and Tally lost touch but when Nash moves back to town to care for his ailing aunt, their friendship picks up right where it left off. With a sizzling attraction simmering under the surface of their renewed relationship, will Tally’s unresolved issues from her past ruin her future with Nash?
Despite owning her own business, Tally’s deep-seated insecurities still continue to define her. She downplays her attributes and she refuses to see how far she has come since leaving high school. Tally holds her secrets close and she maintains an emotional distance from everyone, including her brothers, Cade and Sawyer. Her happiest childhood memories are the times she spent with Nash and as they reminisce about those long ago days, Tally slowly realizes her feelings for him are much deeper than just friendship. But her lack of confidence and inability to open up become a huge stumbling block in their burgeoning romance. Plagued with self-doubts, Tally continually backs away every time she and Nash try to move forward. Nash is patient and understanding, but how long will it take for him to grown weary of Tally’s unhealthy way of coping with her fears?
Nash had his own set of problems following his mother’s death, but he has managed to overcome the worst of his issues. He is a history professor at the local college but he still has an unmitigated love for comic books and super heroes. Although he is no longer a scrawny, nerdy kid, Nash is completely unaware of how good looking and sexy he is. He is a genuinely kind-hearted, decent man who is now comfortable in his own skin and embraces everything life has to offer him. Nash treasures the memories of his childhood friendship with Tally but he also cherishes the woman she has become.
Despite the years that have passed since they last saw one another, Tally and Nash’s childhood friendship is a strong foundation for their unfolding romance. Tally is a little skittish and uneasy when she realizes their relationship goes deeper than friendship and attraction. Nash is quick to pick up on her wariness and he has no trouble giving her the time and space she needs to adjust as they transition from friends to lovers. But even the most patient person eventually reaches their breaking point but how will Tally react when Nash grows tired of her inability to move forward?
With an abundance of witty banter, plenty of sexual tension and a realistic storyline, Then He Kissed Me is an absolutely delightful romance with a marvelous cast of characters. Tally and Nash are multi-faceted, complex protagonists that are quite likable despite their flaws and insecurities. A sentimental, charming addition to Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series that old and new fans are sure to love.