5 out of 5 stars.
Sports hero and newly retired NFL quarterback Blake Cunningham wants a second chance at love…with his ex-wife. He’s bought the house next door to her in Dare Valley and has built a bridge connecting their properties. It’s his bridge to a better life, the one he lost when Natalie Hale left him after a family tragedy destroyed their marriage.
Natalie has just started a new job as the head caterer at the small town’s historic hotel. When she discovers Blake has become the boy next door-literally-she secretly has to admit he still fires up all her engines and tugs at her heart. But the ghosts from their past seem too monumental to conquer.
Blake vows to help Natalie remember the power of their love and friendship. With the intense sparks of attraction flying between them, Natalie begins to put her heart out there again. How can she resist Blake when he makes her laugh and swoon by even acting out her secret Outlander fantasy? As they both give love a second chance, they are forced to face their most disturbing memories, not only the tragedy that ripped their lives apart, but also the secret parts they were afraid to share…
The Bridge to a Better Life by Ava Miles is the eighth in her Dare Valley series and is currently my favorite in the series.
Wow. You know a book is powerful when it brings up enough of your own similar issues that you have to stop reading for a day or two until you can get your reaction under control. This book did that for me. Natalie reminds me so much of myself. Her struggles with grief and loss have been my struggles with grief and loss. It was so inspiring to watch her grow and change throughout the book; to come to terms with at least some of her grief and to allow herself to open herself up to Blake’s love once again.
Dear Blake. How can you not love a hero who gives up as much as he gave up in order to win Natalie back again? How can you not love a man who is that patient and loving and tender. That’s not to say that Blake doesn’t have his own issues or is perfect. He’s not, but wow, what a wonderful testament to the power of love. Blake does his own growing and changing throughout the book too, tho’ his is not quite as dramatic as Natalie’s.
As with all of Ms. Miles’s “Dare Valley” novels, the surrounding community and the families and friends of the hero and heroine provide the much-needed support that anyone needs when dealing with grief and loss. The characters are well-rounded, the story line believable and the writing is crisp, clean and well done.
I highly recommend this book to anyone in the mood for a contemporary romance with a great set of characters.
(I received a free ARC from Ava Miles in exchange for my honest review. My review was not influenced by this and all conclusions and opinions are my own)