Series: Dare River #2
on August 12th, 2014
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Visionary gardener Tammy Hollins is making a new life for herself and her children after a tragic marriage. Plants she understands, but men…well, they’re of the weed variety. She’s started her own landscaping business, catering to her country music rock star brother’s friends. Her first client is sexy, soulful, Alpha hero material, and the one man who tantalizes her and scares her to death.
John Parker McGuiness is a man of many talents, working as a songwriter and lawyer for country music’s biggest stars. He’s drawn to Tammy like no other and hires her as his landscaper, wanting to show her they’re made for each other. When Tammy learns he’s a professed chocoholic, she fashions a magical garden for him—a chocolate garden.
As the garden comes to life, their love for each other grows. When tragedy strikes Tammy’s home, John Parker is willing to move mountains to protect her and her children. Tammy struggles to guard her newfound independence as they use the magic of the chocolate garden to help her children feel safe again. But when secrets from Tammy’s past resurface, can their love and passion survive the memories haunting her?
The Chocolate Garden is the second book of Ava Miles’ Dare River series, which is a spin-off of her Dare Valley series. Tammy Hollins has broken free from a terrible, abusive marriage and is the midst of making a new life for herself and her children. While learning to stand on her own two feet, she starts a landscaping business, and her first client is her brother’s sexy friend John Parker McGuiness.
When Tammy discovers John Parker’s love of chocolate, she designs a unique chocolate garden for his backyard. While Tammy works to bring her ideas to life in John Parker’s yard, their love for each other grows. I was fascinated with Ms. Miles use of imagery in this story along with her extensive knowledge of gardening and landscape design. I could see the chocolate garden coming to life throughout the story! I was, however, disappointed that we only saw Tammy’s side of the romantic relationship develop and grow. The relationship felt one-sided to me since John Parker was already in love with Tammy. I did not read the first book in this series, and I got the feeling he fell for Tammy during that book. Other than missing that part of the story, this book can be read as a stand-alone.
Ms. Miles did a wonderful job of writing relatable characters with strong emotion. This story deals with family dynamics, spousal abuse, divorce, and the healing that goes with all of those issues. I loved watching Tammy grow into a strong, confident mother and business owner during this story. I especially enjoyed watching her interactions with her mother and hope Ms. Miles allows us to watch as their relationship continues to evolve in future stories.
This was a sweet, contemporary romance and I look forward to reading more of this series!