HiMH FinalLive and work together, or lose everything that matters…

The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.

Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.

The family business and the Douglas home that Dru and Brad both cherish will be sold if they don’t resolve their differences. Can these childhood sweethearts make up and reclaim each other’s hearts before it’s too late? 

My thoughts…

HERE IN MY HEART is my first experience with Ms. DeStefano’s work and what better way to start than a sweet love story that takes me back home to Georgia?

The small southern town of Chandlerville is a spit from Atlanta yet far enough to possess that comforting close knit community feel of everyone being extended family in some shape, form, or fashion.

Dru might think she knows everything about the night that led to Oliver and Brad leaving town but she actually knows very little. One kiss and longing does not a relationship make. Dru occasionally took stubborn and prideful independence to a whole new level.

Brad is the bad boy made good. He became the man his grandmother knew he was inside. Now, after being around Dru again he realizes he needs to tell her everything, regain her trust, and hopefully win her heart. Brad is always honest but doesn’t grovel or push. Dru has to at least meet him half way if they have any hope of working.

Even though she was dying my favorite character was Vi. She maneuvered situations, people, and events, not out of selfishness or need for control, but out of love and concern. She knew called it with Brad and Dru. Vi was the best kind of matriarch.

Dru and Brad’s second chance, or rather first real chance, is more about Dru learning to trust and let go.

While HERE IN MY HEART is Dru and Brad’s love story it also deals with a serious and frightening issue, child predators. Through Dru’s radkids program at the Y and her young foster sister Lisa, child predation isn’t simply highlighted but features answers and programs to teach children to defend themselves and avoid dangerous situations.  This problem~solution approach works well within the framework of Dru and Brad’s characters and romantic journey making HERE IN MY HEART romance with a difference.

Even though it was obvious the characters and community were well established I never felt lost or that I was missing essential information.

As an added bonus, the first two chapters in a new series kicking off with Oliver and Selena’s story is included.  The tidbits revealed about Oliver and Selena in HERE IN MY HEART tickled my curiosity and the teaser has certainly whet my appetite for more.

HERE IN MY HEART is a sweet tale of puppy love all grown up, a small town romance with sass.

3.5 stars

Anna’s giving away two (2) digital copies of HERE IN MY HEART, a $25 Amazon gift card, & a vintage log cabin quilt!  Good luck y’all!
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annaNationally bestselling author Anna DeStefano has searched her entire life for the soul of the matter at the heart of her world’s mysteries. As a small child, she drew from her experiences, senses, and dreams to paint a lush fantasy world, filled with endless possibility and characters of her own creation. Putting pen to paper, Anna transforms these inner landscapes into rich storytelling.

Hers is a realistic but optimistic vision, searching for hope and transformation through intense emotional journeys. Her fuel–the inner passions and conflicts of the characters she crafts. Much like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, Anna’s characters face the ultimate of human choices: finding the courage to conquer their fears and thrive until, despite every obstacle, they become the beautiful things they’re meant to be.

An author, workshop and keynote speaker, writing coach, and acquiring editor, Anna’s creative vision permeates every challenge she undertakes.
She wants you to stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. Her novels’ rich blend of realism and fantasy invites Anna’s readers into her creative mission to dig deeper and see each of life’s moment with emotional honesty and clarity. Discovery and joy are her touchstones, regardless of how difficult her characters’ journeys might be. She will challenge you to transform into all you’re meant to be, as well. She speaks and blogs regulary. Join Anna each week for Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more.

Past President of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), Anna’s also Senior Tech Writer with a GA Tech honors degree an 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT. Her novels have garnered numerous awards including twice winning the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and finalling in awards such as the National Readers’ Choice and Book Seller’s Best Awards. She’s the author of over 16 novels since 2004 in four different genres, with nearly half a million copies of her books in print in over 5 different languages.