Sweet Haven by Shirlee McCoy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Addie is stressed. Really stressed. Her To Do list is taller than she is and includes things like running her grandfather's chocolate shop while he recuperates from a fall, losing ten pounds in about a week so she can squeeze into a hideous bridesmaid dress for an elderly friend's wedding, making hundreds of candies as wedding favors for said wedding, coping with her hypercritical mother, and figuring out how to keep her oversize puppy from escaping and wreaking havoc on the small town of Benevolence, Washington. She's frustrated by her inability to replicate the famous fudge the store is known for and worried that the business will fail if she can't learn to master it in time to meet not only walk-in demand from tourists and locals, but also the many online orders awaiting fulfillment. The very last thing she needs is the gorgeous new tenant upstairs distracting her. She's been burned before in the romance department, and she is Not Interested.
Sinclair is only back in town for as long as it takes to help his brother clean out their grandfather's house so his pregnant sister-in-law will come home. He harbors bad memories of growing up where his family name signifies lazy alcoholics, and he's worked hard to build a thriving business restoring old buildings, so he can't wait to get back to it. His PTSD and old injuries don't always let him sleep well, however, and soon he finds himself helping to capture Addie's runaway dog who interrupted his jog. In spite of himself, he's drawn to the frazzled accountant-turned-chocolatier and her misbehaving pooch, and before long, fudge isn't the only thing simmering in the kitchen.
This was a very sweet romance. Only a couple of mild swear words kept me from categorizing this as officially a "clean read." There are some steamy kissing (and almost-kissing) scenes, but no sex.
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways are primary. Only the most particular readers would likely object to the "clean reads" label.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read an advance reader's copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review.
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