Phoenix has just gotten out of prison and she returns to Whiskey Creek in order to have a relationship with her son, Jacob. She's determined to do whatever she needs to so that Riley will allow her to spend time with Jacob. I really came to admire Phoenix's determination to be independent, make her own way, and resolve to put her son and their budding relationship first. Returning to Whiskey Creek is anything but easy. She knows that she will most likely be a pariah, but she's willing to withstand whatever Whiskey Creek residents can dish out so she can stand by her mom, who was the one person to provide any support while she was serving her sentence.
Riley is not looking forward to Phoenix's return to his and Jacob's life. He's hesitant to allow Phoenix any contact, but after he sees her absolute focus on being a great mom, he begins to see Phoenix as he knows her to be rather than the woman he is told she is. As they spend more time together, he realizes that the chemistry is still there. Phoenix is extremely reluctant to even think about a relationship with Riley considering their past. It's also very difficult for her to believe Riley could ever want her for a meaningful relationship and not just a hot affair. While they have changed over the years, Riley is better prepared to protect Phoenix from those so willing to write her off and attack her.
I think this just may be my favorite book in the Whiskey Creek series! This Heart of Mine is a compelling story of second chances. Brenda Novak created a heartbreakingly hopeful character in Phoenix who is so used to receiving the worst from everyone, yet remains so thankful for what she does have. Ms. Novak created great secondary characters in Riley's friends and Jacob. This Heart of Mine can be read as a standalone. Fans of the Serendipity series by Carly Phillips will enjoy this book and series!
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.