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Hearts Don't Lie (Pinon Ridge #1) by Sutton Bishop

Blurb: Can a person find their true love at sixteen? Hardin Ambrose knew he had found his soulmate when he was a high school soccer phenom. McKenna (Mac) Vesley was sunshine to his soul. The girl he never dreamed existed. The person he didn’t know he needed.

Mac has never forgotten the boy she gave her heart to. The boy who changed her life forever. Hardin was all her dreams come true.

Twelve years ago, under the steamy Illinois night sky, they planned their forever together. But forever never came.

Twelve years later, Hardin still searches for his Mac— the girl who slipped away. Twelve years later he has the chance to grasp forever, for hearts don’t lie. But after all this time, does Mac want the same?

Review: I was introduced to Sutton Bishop through her Ancient Passages series which features fast-paced, adventure-based stories chock-full of bad guys, mysteries, and a wide selection of new-to-me locales. As much as I love the excitement of an archaeological-themed romantic suspense--and was impressed her constant attention to detail and ability to describe such beautiful settings--I was interested to see what Bishop's writing talent could with a book featuring a more relaxed pace of a small town, second chance romance.

It turns out, a lot.

As far as tropes go we've got: famous hero, second chance, secret baby, first love, forbidden love. There are probably a few others I missed, but these are the main ones and they're all good ones. So buckle up.

While flipping back and forth between the present and the past isn't something I usually appreciate in a romance novel, I actually thought that Bishop's use of it was perfect. The scenes were short and sweet with just enough information to make the read easier without making my head spin with the constant darting between past and present.

Due to my own prejudices, I love that the MC's relationship didn't fail because of anything they did, but rather outside forces. We go to do away with "getting over the resentment" and skip ahead to the "reconnecting and remembering we love each other" aspect of things. There was some drama regarding these outside forces but that's where the drama stayed... outside the relationship. After reading a few pretty angst-ridden romance novels lately (my vice) I was pleased as can be to be able to just sail through this one with limited anxiety.

Both the hero and heroine are likable.

Hardin's honorable, admirable, and desperately in love. It was so refreshing to have a sweet, romantic hero who was willing to give everything up to get the woman he loves back (not that I don't love a devilish alphahole willing to do the same, it's just that it's nice for the guy to be nice sometimes).

Kenna was slightly closed off, but not so much that she can't forgive and forget the love of her life. I loved that she was able to remake herself (and that Hardin was actually proud of her for doing so, even if it meant that she was nearly impossible to track down) and become an empowered, take charge, single mom to an awesome kid. And can I just say finally a legitimate reason not to inform the Dad he's a Dad? I mean, I actually understood her motives in this case.

Long story short, anyone who enjoys sweet, small town romances will be more than satisfied with this adorable (and sexy) tale of two people reunited with their teenage loves after twelve long years (thanks to one dedicated private investigator).


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