cover image Christmas Ever After

Christmas Ever After

Clare Connelly. Tule, $3.99 e-book (306p) ISBN 978-1-954894-62-4

Connelly expertly tugs at the heartstrings in her second Cape Hope romance (after Christmas with the Firefighter), a bittersweet tale of second chances. Classical concert pianist Cassidy Hanna is back in her tiny hometown of Cape Hope, N.C., to spend the holidays with the grandfather who raised her from the age of seven. The town floods her with painful memories of her mother’s death and her fractured high school relationship with the boy she was convinced she’d spend the rest of her life with. Pediatrician Phoenix Walker has always loved Cassidy but feared holding her back after high school; Cassidy’s future was in New York City, where she had a full scholarship to Juilliard, and his place was in Cape Hope, caring for his ailing single mother. To ensure that she left, he lied about not loving her anymore. It’s been 10 years since the pair parted, but their chemistry—and Cassidy’s sense of betrayal—burns as bright as ever. They strike a fragile peace, but soon painful secrets—including the pregnancy and miscarriage that Cassidy kept to herself—put both their futures in doubt. The well-sketched characters and their angsty, twisty road to happiness both ring true. Readers looking for emotional contemporary romance should snap this up. (Oct.)