Series: Green Valley Heroes #2
Author: Juliette Cross
Format: Kindle edition; 343 pages
Published: 7 April 2022 by Smartypants Romance
ISBN: ASIN B09H63F33W
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Lola Landry stares through the window of her locked car with the keys in the ignition and the radio blaring Beck’s “Loser.” While standing there and sweltering in the soupy Tennessee humidity, she wonders how her orderly life had crashed and burned so badly. Then her high school nemesis saunters up in all of his tall, strapping, fireman-to-the-rescue glory, slapping her with the humiliating proof that it can always get worse.
When the uber-confident Jedediah Lawson requests a date in return for popping her lock, a lightbulb goes off. Revenge is sweet. He would make the perfect victim—guest, that is—for her next podcast episode on Kiss and Tell. What shocks her is the casual way he not only agrees to the post-date interview on air, but ends up hijacking her audience and wooing them with his swoony, southern charm. Not even a low score on the date-o-meter can dissuade the man or keep her fans from demanding more of the charismatic Jed.
What’s worse, she secretly wants a second date with this man who is so different from his teenage self. His unwavering patience and dimpled smile erodes her will, until she breaks the Kiss and Tell rules by agreeing to a second…and a third date. It’s a disaster. Not the date. They’re wonderful. The disaster is that she is falling for a man she once dubbed Jockstrap Jed.
Parks and Provocation is Juliette Cross’ first contemporary romance and the second book in the Green Valley Heroes collaborative series. Each book in this series are stand-alone reads by a different author. Juliette’s entry tells the story of Jedediah “Jed” Lawson, a big-hearted, strapping fireman, and Lola Landry, the girl he crushed on in school. This tale is told from the point-of-view of both main characters and I can verify that being in Jed’s head is a yummy experience!
Jed’s and Lola’s story is a small-town enemies-to-friends and a second-chance at romance. Jed and Lola went to high school together where Jed was a star football player. Even so, he was very shy and had trouble with his grades. Lola was mesmerized with him then; and he actually dreamed of a future with her; but, neither knew of the other’s feelings. Like many adolescent boys, Jed didn’t know how to make Lola notice him in a good way, so he teased her and they became enemies. He’s never forgotten her and has always regretted telling her how he felt before she left.
So, in a case of serendipity, his sister calls Jed to help a woman who has locked her keys in her car. AND, lo and behold, the woman was Lola. Lola was back in town for a short time and Jed’s determined to convince her to give them a chance. He has his work cut out for him as Lola still holds a grudge and is now only having first dates which she then breaks down on her podcast. Lola is totally focused on her career and doesn’t want a relationship. Can Jed score high enough on her date-o-meter to have Lola break her own one-and-done rule and give him a second date?
Jed is a delicious, swoon-worthy hero. First of all, he’s a fireman!!! He’s a good man who takes care of his family and the community. Grown-up Jed is sweet, sexy and even more handsome than he was in high school. He has a swagger that woman lust after and is a consummate dirty-talker when the time is right.
It took me a little bit to warm up to Lola because I didn’t like the way she used men for her podcast. It just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. But, once she agreed to go out on a second date with Jed and they started sweetly connecting, she was no longer interested in seeing other guys just for her podcast, and I started to come around. I liked how she had empathy for Jed’s dyslexia, a learning disability, which had caused him so much trouble in school. (He has since gotten treatment and is even helping his niece who has the same issue.) She’d had no idea and felt badly that she’d given him a hard time over something which he couldn’t help.
I enjoyed reading the nostalgic retellings of their high school days mourning their misunderstandings and lost chances. AND I laughed, swooned and cried as they became re-acquainted and fell in love. Their chemistry, charisma and their hot, hot, hot sexy times rocked the pages!
Following are three of my favorite lines from this title. Believe me, there were plenty more where these came from!
“When you find something good and beautiful in this crazy world, you hold onto it with both hands and don't let go."
"That's how I feel about you.”
“The man hadn't even kissed me and I was on fire.”
“Lola, if you want to see my pole, all you've gotta do is ask.”
When I discovered Juliette’s Vampire Blood series, I became a forever-fan. I was very excited to hear that she was writing a contemporary romance and am happy to say I was not disappointed in the least! Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. As always, Juliette’s writing is top-notch. If you are looking for a heartwarming book with lots of laughs, smokin’-hot chemistry and a touching happily ever after, then look no further!
Now, I can’t wait to read Juliette’s next release, Always Practice Safe Hex, which will be the 4th installment in her wonderful paranormal Stay a Spell series. It releases this coming June!
Suggested Reading Order:
Green Valley Heroes is a collaborative series in the Green Valley Chronicles featuring canon titles that highlight everyday heroes and professions in a small-town setting. Each book is a stand-alone.