Series: Return to Welcome #1
on December 12, 2017
Genres: Contemp Romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy
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Seriously? Return to Welcome? She’d rather chew rusty nails…
Mercy Talbot left Welcome on a high—a golden-girl beauty queen who stepped confidently into a bright, exciting future. But that was a long time ago and that girl is far, far, away. She’s failed in her career, failed in love, failed her family—and she’s dead broke.
All Mercy wants is to forget her failures and move forward into a new life with a fresh set of dreams—and get out of Welcome before it sucks her back in for good. But one look at her precocious niece who desperately needs her sends Mercy on a journey into her past that will change everyone’s future.
Clay Foster used to be Welcome’s bad boy, but marriage and his daughter Dilly have transformed him into a devoted father. Widowed now and struggling to be the daddy his child needs, Clay fights his sudden and unexpected attraction to Mercy. But, tempted as he is, Clay can’t afford to be taken in by a golden girl. Beautiful, talented women like Mercy always have an exit strategy and when her career beckons, Clay knows she’ll leave him and Dilly flat. His daughter has already lost her mother and he won’t put his little girl’s heart on the line.
When Mercy learns her tattered dreams and dead career have been reborn, will she leave the man and child who need her? Will Clay believe in their future and accept that Mercy has found there’s no place like home?
To her home town, Mercy is a huge Hollywood movie star, and her mama talks her up to anyone who will listen. To her mama, Mercy is the perfect daughter. To Mercy herself? She’s a washed up actress who’s pushing 30 and broke as the joke her career in Hollywood has become.
Coming home with her tail between her legs was never in the plan, and after the small indie film she did that got great reviews, she’d really hoped that would be the role that garnered attention. But down to her last dollar, she’s got to make some changes. Mercy immediately began looking for a job. She was up for anything, server, receptionist, didn’t matter. But her mother’s big talk, and everyone’s memories of Mercy clouded the job market. No one wanted to give her a job if she was just going to run off to Hollywood at the next phone call from her agent. How could Mercy make everyone see she was staying for good?
Clay is the town veterinarian, and Dilly, his young daughter, is quite a handful. Luckily his in-laws love their granddaughter to death are thrilled to help out. But he’d never had the best relationship with them. He was the bad boy in high school, and they blame him for their daughter’s choices. Janna was wild and didn’t want the responsibility of being a mother. Clay did his best to settle down and provide a decent life for her, but she didn’t want her party lifestyle to end. When Janna died in an accident, he relied more and more on his in-laws to help out with Dilly.
When he hears through the town grapevine that Mercy is back, slinking in at night at the bus depot, he knows he’ll have to avoid her. But that’s hard to do when she’s his sister-in-law.
Mercy and Janna were like night and day. Where Mercy loved dance classes and pageants, Janna had hated them. With Dilly throwing a tantrum after every dance class, Mercy sees shades of her sister and tries to step in and help. Clay doesn’t need her poking her nose in his business, and courtesy of Janna, Clay had some hefty preconceived notions of Mercy. But as he sees how she is with his daughter, and he sees she’s serious about getting a job in Welcome, he notices something else. Nothing Janna had said about her added up to the woman he was getting to know. Clay began to realize that maybe Janna wasn’t seeing her sister clearly. But Clay was.
I wasn’t sure how I’d like this at first, knowing they were in-laws, but I loved Mercy and Clay together. I loved how they got to know each other, and I loved the whole family dynamic. I think that was the best part of this. Bonnie Edwards has a knack for writing realistic characters. The love story was believable and sweet. I enjoyed this book, and it left me with a smile on my face. In this character-driven small-town romance, Bonnie Edwards recreates the feel of a small town full of second chances and happy endings. A heart warming romance with lovable characters and a happy ending, what more could you want?
***Review copy courtesy of the author