Happy Release Day!!!
Kiss Me Hello
by Grace Burrowes
He loves her, she loves him not…?
This is the final book in the Sweetest Kisses Series. While each book stands alone, they are all entwined, too. The characters in the three main novels (there are two novellas) come and go throughout the series.
Mac has been the best oldest brother ever. He gives support to the family business (they are lawyers), watches nieces, trims the the hooves of the family horses (and those at the therapy riding stable), and worries over those he loves. He does not date. Hasn't for about twelve years. I had my theories about that and I was wrong.
Sidonie is raising her foster son, Luis, who she wants to adopt. But he just won't let her. She's fighting battles with probate after the death of her brother, she's fighting DSS over the care of her son, she's fighting with herself, and has been for years.
As always, Ms. Burrowes pulls us into the lives of these characters. She gives them flesh and fears and issues. We all know the major issue with Sidonie from the very beginning. She hates lawyers. Hates them! And Mac is one. He's not an ambulance chaser, he's a defender, but he knows she's not going to like it. And he likes her very much. So he puts off telling her. We know the reveal is coming throughout the book and the tension was really getting to me. Yes, it's not like some gun wielding bad guy was out to get them, but knowing that this issue was going to come to a head really got to me. Yes, Ms. Burrowes is that good at writing us into the scenes.
This was a wonderful culmination of the series. There have been small issues threaded through the entire course, and we get to see the fallout, and the grace, here at the end.
Had to chuckle when we are introduced to one of the people from the therapy riding center, Neils Haddonfield. I'm pretty sure he's a descendant of Nicholas Haddonfield, of Nicholas, Lord of Secrets fame. It was lovely to see that line here.
There was humor in this book. There was joy. There was reality. Ms. Burrowes borrows from her real life in the legal world to show us how the courts get on. It's not a case of telling, either...but showing us without bogging down the narrative. If there was ever a reason for me to need legal help, I'd love to find a MacKenzie, Trent, and James to help me out. I was a legal secretary for years, and there are some lovely lawyers out there...and there are some bad ones, too. Just like in this book. Yes, it reads real.
While I'm sad to see this series come to a close, I'm hoping Ms. Burrowes will now give us a novella...full of the recipes she kept taunting us with in these books! I need Vera's turtle cookie recipe, and James' special mashed potatoes!
I highly recommend this book, this series, to anyone who loves contemporary romance that makes you stay up until all hours and fall in love with well developed, wonderful characters.
Thank you, NetGalley and Sourcebooks ~ Casablanca, for the opportunity to read this book.
“This is a nice spot,” Mac said. “The horses will loaf here in the hotter months because the trees make for good shade, but the canopy isn’t quite done leafing out yet, so we’ll be able to see the moon come over the ridge.” He spread the blanket on a patch of grass up the slope from the pond.
Sid settled on the blanket, running her hand over what felt like soft flannel, while Mac lowered himself beside her.
“Give me your foot.” Mac didn’t wait for her to comply. He took Sid by the foot, and drew her running shoe off. “Other one.”
He peeled her socks down and tucked them into her shoes, then unlaced his boots and set them beside the blanket, stuffing a sock in each one. “Moonrise is always best appreciated barefoot.”
The sentiment was poetical; the words were not. “Is that a rule?”
“Suppose it is.” He took off his jacket, balled it up, and lay back to rest his head on it. “Come here and let me hold you, Sidonie. I haven’t watched the moon come up with a lovely woman in my arms for years.”
She settled against him, resting her head on the slope of his shoulder. “We’re going to talk about rules like this?” He thought she was lovely.
“We’ll come to some understandings.” His arm came around her shoulders, and his hand stroked over her hair. “I’ll undo this braid while we’re at it.”
“Don’t lose my elastic.”
His fingers were soon winnowing through her hair, drawing the length of it over her shoulder.
“How am I supposed to think about rules when you’re touching me like this, MacKenzie?”
“You don’t need to think. You just tell me what’s true for you.”
“True about what?”
He went quiet again, while Sid repositioned herself against him. She could hear his heart beat, feel the slow, steady thud of his life’s blood beneath her cheek.
“What do you want from me, Sidonie Lindstrom? What do you need?”
“Nobody has asked me that before.” She considered her answer, while Mac’s hand drifted through her hair, across her back, down her arm. “I want a friend, I guess. You’ve been a friend to me, and I wasn’t expecting to find that here.”
“Is that all you want? I can be a good friend. My brothers would vouch for me in that regard.”
She could not tell from his voice if he was disappointed with her answer, or pleased. “No, that isn’t all I want, but I’ll settle for it, and be grateful if that’s where you want to draw the line. A friend, a real friend, is nothing to scoff at.”
Another silence, while Mac got his hand on her nape and started massaging the tension there. His idea of friendship would soon leave Sid witless and boneless.
“I can’t expect you to put yourself out there without showing I’m willing to do likewise: I want you.” Mac’s voice was quiet in the gathering darkness. “I want you at least for a friend, an intimate friend, Sidonie, but I don’t share something that precious. If you allow me the privileges of a lover, then I will expect that for whatever time I enjoy that status, those privileges are exclusively mine. You will agree to this, or our friendship keeps its clothes on.”
Sid shivered, though the night wasn’t uncomfortably cool, and Mac gave off heat like a woodstove. He was so serious about this, when they could have shared a casual romp in the moonlight.
She would have settled for that—and settling would have been a mistake.
She traced his facial features. Beyond serious, he was solemn, as if these understandings he sought could be the foundation for something even greater than friendship.
“If you agree to my terms,” he said, his hand slowing in her hair, “you agree because it’s what you want too, not because I need to hear the words and you have a private agenda that’s different from what you’ll say to me.”
He was asking for honesty, the most basic tenet of a real friendship. Friends were kind to each other, considerate, patient, reliable, but above all, a friend was somebody who told the truth.
“I don’t have much practice with relationships, MacKenzie.”
He rolled slowly, like the earth heaving up, until Sid was on her back with Mac blanketing her. “There’s more to say.” He rested his forehead against hers. “A lot more, but right now, Sidonie, I have to kiss you. Have to.”
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21527250-kiss-me-hello
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly andBooklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.