Close to Heart
3, Healing Harts
T. J. Kline
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It only took an instant for her world to come crashing down…but Heart Fire Ranch is a place of new beginnings, even for those who find their way there by accident
As the only veterinarian in town, Justin Hart doesn't have time to think about romance. So when A-list actress Alyssa Cole crashes her car outside his clinic, it's entirely unexpected when there's a spark between them he can't ignore. Still, she's a movie star, and he's just a small town cowboy.
Alyssa has learned the hard way not to believe first impressions, especially not in Hollywood. But, 400 miles from her former life with nowhere to go and no one to turn to, she places her trust in the handsome vet who comes to her rescue.
There's no denying the connection between them, but when Alyssa's past shows up at the door, will their new relationship be able to withstand the storm?
as always, I could not stop reading:
The premise of this series is healing: healing broken hearts, people and giving them a new start. I love the premise, and really enjoyed the other in this series that I had read. I was curious about Justin, as he only got some short appearances, and now the veterinarian gets his chance.
Justin is a vet, and a wholly jaded person at that. Whatever ails him is tossed up in a variety of ways: no trust, skepticism, control issues. He’s constantly second guessing everyone’s motives instead of trusting in himself to make a proper choice. That made him rather unlikable, even though I could see the why behind his behavior, he never really seemed to make positive changes that would stick solidly past the next ‘moment’ when something triggered his insecurities.
Anna was an actress, and has left her agent ex-husband to make a new start far away. There are only a few issues with that: she is pregnant, still married and in attempting to avoid hitting a heavily pregnant dog, she crashed her car. Right by Justin’s clinic.
From the start, these two had chemistry but very little positive on the communication front. Pieces of each person’s story is revealed as the attraction grows stronger, but it always felt uneven: a little progress than a big backslide. There is also some added drama with Anna’s ex, a touch of ‘moving too quickly’ into another relationship without closing the door on the first, and I would have liked to see both Justin and Anna working “well” before they decided that they were going to commit. Any parent knows that a new baby is stressful, not to mention a huge emotional upheaval, add to that the ex and those extra dramas, and well…
It wasn’t a bad story by any means: characters are beautifully developed with faults and complexity, and prone to acting on their emotions of the moment without considering. For Justin, this was a back and forth that never quite settled him for me, but I can see why Anna found him desirable. Anna has some serious growing up to do, and not allow Justin to control freak all over her: it is a situation she dealt with in her marriage, but I don’t see her stepping into the power position as solidly as I would have hoped.
The couples from earlier books make appearances to give their 3 cents and show how far they have progressed, and that does give some hope for this couple’s success. But, as always, I could not stop reading: switching between wanting to shake, slap and hug each person in almost equal measure. Kline is one of those authors that will always leave you with a story to think on, long after the last page is closed.
I received an eARC copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Sweet love story
Alyssa Cole crashes into Justin Harts life literally when she has a car accident right outside his veterinary clinic. She’s an A-list actress, he’s a small down vet. Can two people from opposite worlds, build a life together? Or will Alyssa’s past come back to haunt them? Will Justin’s small town life be enough for the beautiful Alyssa? Can he trust her with his heart?
Close To Heart is book three in the Healing Harts series by T.J. Kline. This was my first book by T.J. Kline. I did not read the previous books I plan to go back to read them though. Justin and Alyssa’s book is a sweet love story that happens by accident. Alyssa catches her abusive husband cheating, he kicks her out pregnant and heartbroken. She then finds herself in a small town faced with the possibility of being able to start over. The chemistry between Justin and Alyssa sparks immediately. Justin briefly gives Alyssa a place to stay and they begin to build a slow bond. Justin does not trust easily he has been burned in the past. That trust is tested when Alyssa’s husband comes for her. At this point tough decisions are made, I cried for this couple to come together. Alyssa was a strong female character it was great to read how she grew and changed as she tried to build a new life for herself and her baby. Justin was super sweet I liked him a lot, sometimes he could be a bit of a jerk, but I think that was his trust issues because of his bad relationship luck in the past.
This is a very emotional romance that will tug at your heart. It will have you holding your breath in anticipation of what will happened next for this sweet couple. There is suspense, secrets, betrayal, and heartbreak. There is also love, trust, and second chances. The characters were well written and the story kept my interest from the beginning. I would have appreciated the background characters more if I had read the previous books so I recommend reading them first. A sweet and tumultuous romance. I definitely recommend.
RECEIVED AN ARC IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
An unexpected and altogether sweet romance
Justin wasn't looking for a relationship — or anything even close to one. But when a very famous, very pregnant woman crashes on the road just in front of his veterinary practice, he finds himself offering her help and trying to deny the sparks of attraction that fly between them. After all, she's married and clearly carrying another man's child. But his heart has other ideas.
The Verdict: I'm sort of over my penchant for romances in which the regular person falls in love with someone ridiculously famous, but I couldn't pass up the chance to read another story by T.J. Kline. And of course, I loved it!
Justin has been the meddling big brother in previous books, and while it was always clear that he was a good guy, it was hard to really get to know him. He's always been all business — except when it comes to looking out for family — and finally getting a look inside his mind was really interesting! For one, he was a little angry and put out by Alyssa's need for help, but he didn't have it in him not to lend a hand. That right there made him a lot more believable than the typical white knight who's head over heels in five minutes and ready to play protector.
Alyssa's not your typical celebrity, either. She made a big name for herself in Hollywood, but then her marriage to a power-hungry agent happened, and it's all been downhill from there. He's more or less sabotaged her career and left her nearly a has-been just a few years after the height of her fame, and now that she knows for certain that he's been cheating, she's completely lost. Not to mention alone and without a plan. On the outside, her life looks perfect, but on the inside, she's desperately trying to figure out who she is and what her next step should be. The last thing she expects is for the cowboy who comes to her rescue to rescue her heart as well.
Her car crash is serious enough to send Justin running to help but minor enough that she walks away without a scratch. However, she's now stranded at Justin's country veterinary practice, urging him to save the dog (and soon puppies!) that caused her to wreck in the first place, and struggling internally with what her next move should be. I love that Justin didn't immediately know who she was, though I could have done without his immediate judgement of her once he realized her famous identity. Fortunately, he's fairly quick to recognize that she's not as glamorous and perfect as the tabloids would have everyone think, and while he's not sure they have anything in common, he's also not about to fall for the media gossip.
Justin's pride and Alyssa's lost sense of self-worth are the biggest obstacles between them, though you'd think her pregnancy would be an issue. Surprisingly, Justin's only real issue with that is that she's just coming out of a relationship, which really raised him up in my opinion. Instead of worrying what other people might think or that he was rushing into things too quickly, he followed his feelings and allowed himself to become involved during a situation that would have most men running for the hills.
Alyssa's husband was simply reprehensible, and I could have done without Justin falling for his lies, but at the same time, I can't really blame him considering the whole crazy scenario. I mean, who among us wouldn't be insecure when it came to holding onto the heart of someone who'd been on a hundred magazine covers? Their relationship seemed at first to move too quickly, but in reality it was several weeks into things before it got deeply serious on an emotional level they were each willing to admit, which sounds just about right for new love. And of course, she's exactly what he needs to loosen up a bit and give into his feelings, and he's exactly what she needs to help her stand on her own two feet again.
Close to Heart is the story of finding love when you least expect it, when you aren't even looking for it, and in the most difficult of circumstance, which is a big part of what makes it such a wonderful story. T.J. Kline has once again served up complex characters with plenty of personal obstacles to overcome, and the result is an unexpected and altogether sweet romance.
***FicCentral received this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss) for free in exchange for an honest review.