Review by Booklist Review
Jackson hasn't answered years of heartfelt e-mails from his sister-in-law, Sadie, nor did he come home for the birth of his nephew, or for his brother's funeral. That's how hurt he still is from family betrayal in his youth. But now he returns to see his sister and to be with the woman he loves. Sadie is uncomfortable having her former friend around, even though he takes over cooking at her café and makes her life easier. She's attracted to Jackson, and his quiet intensity is breaking through the armor of her independence. Jackson confronts his past so that he and Sadie can create a future. Rising-star Rai's (Hate to Want You, 2017) excellent contemporary small-town Forbidden Heart series radiates intelligence and chemistry. The background of family drama adds dimension to the tender love story. Sadie's sister Jai's rebellion against her family's medical-school expectations is a fascinating subplot. Another excellent addition to the popular second-chance romance genre.--Alessio, Amy Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Rai follows her Forbidden Hearts series launch (Hate to Want You) with well-drawn characters and a plot that heats up with the mutual attraction between Jackson Kane and his brother's widow, Sadia Ahmed. Sadia's family believes money is the only reason she's pulling double evening shifts as a cocktail waitress at O'Killian's Bar; the Kane Cafe, a breakfast and lunch spot that she inherited from her deceased husband, isn't providing enough for the single mom and her son. She doesn't tell her relatives that cocktail waitressing also yields a constant stream of no-questions-asked anonymous sex partners. When Jackson returns to Rockville, N.Y., from self-imposed exile, Sadia's yearning for him, which she's suppressed for a decade, comes roaring back. As if to further tempt her, he shows up at the cafe, offering to fill in as the chef she desperately needs. Romance and passion grow between them, but the rest of the town still holds a grudge for the fire they believe Jackson started 10 years ago, so if he wants to stay for Sadia's sake, there are amends to be made. This is addictive reading for fans of family sagas and romance. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young widow juggling single motherhood and a small business faces her past and creates a new future when her ex-brother-in-law returns after a decade's absence.The second book in Rai's (Hate to Want You, 2017) Forbidden Hearts series brings Jackson Kane back to the upstate New York town that turned on his family and accused him of arson. Traveling only with what he can stash on his motorcycle, Jackson has become a pop-up chef of international renown, but he can't outrun the pull of his family or the strong feelings he has always had for his brother's widow, Sadia Ahmed. Sadia, the product of a family of physicians, struggles to keep her late husband Paul's cafe afloat while defending her choices to her disapproving but loving parents: "I've tried to be perfect. I've worked really hard at it, and never really quite succeededI never get to beaverage old me." She may never be able to forgive Jackson, her closest childhood friend, for staying away when she desperately needed support. When Jackson shows up at the bar where Sadia pulls extra shifts to support her young son, her anger and hurt are palpable. But she reluctantly accepts Jackson's offer of help in the cafe while processing her anger and intense attraction to him. Jackson must come to terms with the role his own family played in the tragedy that unfolded years ago. An intensely introverted man who "never turned down a socially acceptable exit," he must find the line between self-preservation and selfishness. He cannot appreciate Sadia's pain until he allows himself to feel his own. A potentially awkward romance between former in-laws is handled with sensitivity, as Rai manages to weave Sadia's marriage into the narrative of her relationship with Jackson in a way that detracts from neither. Another emotional, passionate, and psychologically complex love story in a gripping series that follows the fates of two warring families. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.