The Valentine Quest
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Keep your competition close…and your heart even closer.
When Nevada Parker travels to Marietta, Montana, she anticipates enough peace and quiet to finish her PhD dissertation. Cupidville turns out to be anything but quiet. In fact, it looks like Valentine’s Day—her least favorite holiday—exploded all over the small town.
Among the sea of red hearts, “Be Mine” signs, and pink, pink, pink, Nevada spots a flyer for a multi-day race called The Valentine Quest. The grand prize—a luxury tropical vacation—would be the perfect welcome-home gift for her brother who’s leaving the military.
Dustin Decker sure could use a break from giving city slickers sleigh rides. Even with a bum knee from his bull-riding days, the race’s grand prize is as good as his—until he realizes he needs a partner if he wants to win.
He makes a strategic pact with the prim, bookish Nevada. But with a kiss, their unlikely alliance turns into something more…and soon, racing isn’t the only thing on their minds. As the finish line nears, they must decide if the grand prize is worth more than what they’ve found together…or if one of them will walk away empty handed—and brokenhearted.
Don't Be Afraid to Love
I really loved this fifth entry in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series, The Valentine Quest by Melissa McClone. I love this series and the manner in which the authors worked together to make this a seamless transition from book to book.
In this story, grad student Nevada Parker, younger sister of Dakota, comes to Marietta to work on her dissertation and teach part-time at the nearby college. Nevada literally runs into Dustin Decker of the Bar V5 ranch when she slips in the snow. Dustin claims that he will not have any type of commitment when it comes to relationships with women. Nevada has had some awful situations when it comes to the male sex and has sworn off men.
Marietta is holding its first annual Valentine Quest with a grand prize of a trip to Fuji. The quest has the participants performing physical contests as well as service orientated activities. Nevada and Dustin team up to win the prize. As these two participate in the events they end up sharing tidbits from their past as well examining their own actions and beliefs.
This was a sweet, fun and entertaining story with very likeable and authentic characters that you want to cheer on, hoping for that happy ending. The characters were well written with complex characteristics. The story line was riveting and kept my attention to the very end. I enjoyed reading this book and had trouble putting this book down, reading it in one day. I appreciate reading books by Ms. McClone as she is a wonderful story teller. I am so looking forward to the next entry in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series. I highly recommend this book to other readers.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Sweet, Clean Addition to the Chocolate Shop series
> > Judging a Book by it's Cover < <
Another whimsical, holiday cover set inside the chocolate shop. Synopsis sounds entertaining and more adventurous.
> > Looking Deeper < <
POV ~> Third-person
Dustin is a retired (injured) bull rider, now working at the Bar V5 Ranch. He enters the competition as much to prove he's still a winner as to win a tropical getaway. He's a bit cocky and self-assured outwardly, but a nice guy once you peel away the outer layers. Nevada is staying with her sister, Dakota, while writing her dissertation and taking a temporary teaching position at a local college. She enters the contest in hopes of winning her brother, York, the vacation once he retires out of the Air Force.
She was not as easy to warm up to at first, but as she got to know Dustin, she began to open up and become a warmer person as a result. The chemistry between them is on/off and their compatibility was, at times, questionable - particularly in the beginning. As the Quest progresses, they become closer... it's a slow, gradual build to any kind of feelings. The secondary characters consist of much of the townsfolk of Marietta, several which have been featured as lead characters thus far in the series or have been introduced in prior installments. Dialogue was mature and appropriate throughout and the cast interaction was believable. The plot was fun and enjoyable. There were a few "laugh out loud" moments for me. The story and time line flowed smoothly. The conflicts were mostly self-imposed with one minor external set-back, but Dustin and Nevada seemed to navigate the circumstances well. There were no major "I knew it" moments, nor were there any fun surprises. The plot leaves off with an implied HEA for the lead couple, but keep us guessing about Dakota and Bryce, as well as a few other characters who have some interesting developments happening in the background. Another mysterious donation, from the same person? We do not know. I felt a bit sad for Eli in the end, no bikini babes for him...
This is a clean, sweet read... nothing beyond a few kisses. While each story may be able to stand on it's own with it's own lead set of characters, the plots are interwoven to a degree and the time line continues onward like a serial or soap opera may. I'd recommend starting at the beginning and reading all of these warm, sweet, small-town Holiday infused romances.
Rating: [G] ~ Score: 4.1 ~ Stars: 4
⭐ ⭐ **** Disclosure of Material: I received a copy of this book from the Author/Publisher with the hope that I would voluntarily leave unbiased and unsolicited feedback. I was not asked, encouraged, or required to leave a review - nor was I compensated in any way. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising". ***** ⭐ ⭐
Loved this fun, whimsical story that takes us back to Marietta! Nevada Parker, serious and academic, is the perfect partner for Dustin Decker in the Amazing Race like competition going on in Marietta. She brings the brains and him the brawn. That is if they can get along long enough to finish the competition! This is a fun quick read that will leaving you smiling. I definitely recommend it.