cover image Cooper’s Charm

Cooper’s Charm

Lori Foster. HQN, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-335-01752-9

The woods of rural Ohio help wounded souls heal in Foster’s tender contemporary. Sisters Phoenix and Ridley need a quiet place to heal and regain their confidence after some hard knocks, and picturesque lakeside resort Cooper’s Charm is the perfect temporary landing spot. The grounds­keeper job is hard work, but the physical labor helps Phoenix recover from the trauma of robbery and assault, and she thrives on being part of a tight-knit staff. Resort owner Cooper Cochran understands needing a hideout, since he bought the resort while reeling from his wife’s murder, and Phoenix helps take his mind off his woes. Ridley, at loose ends after an ego-bruising divorce and hefty settlement, stays at the resort as a housekeeper and soon falls for sexy scuba instructor Baxter McNab. Sexiness permeates every scene; Cooper’s gentle protectiveness and desire contrasts with Baxter and Ridley’s hot bedroom games. A subplot involving a stalker and vandalism feels misplaced in this otherwise well-executed contemporary romance. Foster excels at portraying well-crafted characters with distinct personalities, and readers will enjoy the banter among all the friends. (Aug.)