Monday, March 25, 2013

ARC Review: The Summer He Came Home

The Summer He Came Home (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #1)

by Juliana Stone


Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started…
Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame.
For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay?
The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans.


What a great read! I have been a fan of Juliana Stone’s stories for a few years now, but have only just broken into her contemporary novels.  Her PNR books are great and I was definitely not disappointed with her newest foray into contemporary works. This is the beginning to a great new series and as such is chock full of back-story, world building and introductions. Summer He Came Home was a wonderful addition to my bookshelves and I am thrilled to find another new series by Ms. Stone to enjoy.
Cain Black is returning home, after being gone for the last ten years, for the funeral of one of his childhood best friends.  Returning home is terrifying and leads Cain to look at the emptiness in his life during his recent years.  Though his professional life has shined and his only getting better, his private life has fallen apart and he’s ready to make some changes.  He runs into Maggie O'Rourke and is instantly attracted and though many have warned him off, he can’t resist the sexy redhead and her endearingly sweet little boy.  But Maggie is resistant still, leaving him looking for sneakier ways to try to be in her life. 
Maggie knows that Cain is trouble the minute she meets him, but the more and more he begins to invade her life she knows that he might be worth the heartache.  She gives into the desire between them and decides that she deserves to grab all the happiness she can, even if she’s sure it won’t last.  As their bond deepens and her son Michael begins to depend more and more on Cain, Cain forces Maggie to face her past and works to crumble the walls she’s build around her heart.  But when the evil of her past finds her again, Cain and Maggie battle for their lives and love so they can have a future together.
Cain and Maggie were a great couple.  Cain is a very sexy man, and who can resist a gorgeous rock star after all.  He has his own darkness to deal with, but facing his issues for Maggie seems worth it.  He is a sweet and strong man, with obvious love for his friends and family, excepting his deadbeat dad of course. We see how his past has affected his present and get to watch him grow into a mature, loving relationship, even showing that he is determined to be a good man and good father figure for Michael.  It was so sweet watching him and Michael interacting, truly giving a real glimpse into the kind of man he truly is.  He can go from being a sexy hard drinking rock star one minute, to a passionate lover the next and then to a sweet teddy bear being wrapped around Michael’s fingers. I can’t wait for the next books just to see how Michael and Cain have continued to bond.
Maggie is one of those characters that you have to reserve judgement on until almost the end of the book.  At first you can’t understand why she is so resistant to Cain’s advances, because the info about her past is given only in small hints the further into the book you go. But as her relationship with Cain develops and we get more of those glimpses into her past, you come to appreciate how strong she is and see why she was hesitant to begin anything with Cain.  Thankfully she comes to her sense and embraces the feelings Cain brings out in her.  She is a strong woman, determined to protect her child at all costs and tries to keep her heart closed, even as Cain begins to crack her outer shell.  And when her past catches up, she shows just how strong she really is, not letting the past ruin her chances for a bright and loving future with Cain.
Summer He Came Home was a great story, full of angst, sensuality, and the everyday worries that can come between lovers.  Even though Cain is a rising Rock Star, all we see is the deeply passionate homeboy, returning to his roots and finding his music and heart again.   The heat between Cain and Maggie is evident in each moment they are together and of course once they are able to get past their hang-ups and be together, the tidal wave of passion is tsunami strength and will leave you gasping for breath.  There were just enough interesting side stories to get you salivating for the next two stories in the trilogy.  There was pain, drama, sadness, along with the sensuality, sweetness and fun in just the right proportion to keep you guessing just what the next disaster might be.  It was great to see Maggie and Cain overcome their issues and find their happiness, making the three of them with Michael a true family.  Cain’s story was a great intro the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake and I can’t wait for the other Bad Boys to get their HEAs. Keep the great stories coming Ms. Stone, and I can guarantee you’ll never have to worry about keeping your fans happy.

Rating:  4 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher for the purpose of an honest review.  Publication Date  4/2/13.

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