Saturday, March 30, 2013

Half Moon Hill by Toni Blake

Trying to escape her troubled past, Anna Romo has come home to Destiny determined to carve out a place for herself. When she buys the old Victorian house on the hill with the intent of furnishing it into a Bed and Breakfast, she’s thrilled by the possibilities.

Ex-biker-gang member Duke Dawson is as much a fish out of water in Destiny as Anna, but he’s handling it fine until an accident scars not only his body but his mind. When Anna stumbles across him in an old cabin in the woods near her newly acquired house, at first she’s terrified. But they work out a deal - she’s willing to keep his solitary living arrangement a secret if he’s willing to help her with some of the heavy lifting at the house.

Working together on the rennovations, romance brews between Duke and Anna. That is, until war hero Jeremy Sheridan returns home in a blaze of glory and sets his sights on Anna. Suddenly torn between the outgoing and charming Jeremy and the intriguing Duke, Anna’s heart is torn between two paths and left with only one solution.


This sixth book in Toni Blake’s Destiny series is a sweet, poignant, sexy story. Even though I adore this series, I was a bit apprehensive about this book because, to be honest, I had a bit of a problem with Anna in Willow Springs, and wasn’t sure I’d feel much differently about her now.

Hah! Silly me! I should have known better, because this is Toni Blake, after all.
Anna’s story is sort of a two-parter, told between Willow Springs and Half Moon Hill, and as I said, I really didn’t like her much in the previous book, but upon reevaluation, I guess it’s not so surprising, after all. I mean, there wasn’t a lot to get happy about with her coming between Logan and Amy at every turn, and even though Logan was somewhat clueless, Anna was not. She knew about Amy and still made a move on Logan, and that did nothing to endear her to me, so yeah… wasn’t sure I’d be able to get behind her story, this soon, but what I learned about Anna changed that.

If you’ve followed the series you know that Anna is Mike and Lucky Romo’s little sister, the one who went missing when she was just 5 years old, leaving her family without answers as to what had become of her. Well, she finally came home in Willow Springs and did everything she could to fit in, find acceptance, and come to grips with her past while facing her future. To me she seemed selfish, arrogant, ungrateful… but in truth, she was just lost, and that’s what I learned about her, and why I was able to come to care about her.

Duke Dawson is such a fantastic hero, but everything about him makes you want to run for cover - he’s gruff, crass, scarred inside and out, and looks like he’s devolving into a caveman. His story, which comes out in bits and pieces, is heartbreaking! I’m not sure many women would be able to love a man like Duke, but with Anna’s past, with all she’s been through, she’s able to see the man he truly is. Over time, she finds the chink in his emotional armor and sets him free, and for that reason alone I care about her and respect her.

This is a really nice addition to the series, and I truly enjoyed spending a lot of time with the other couples. In addition to watching Anna and Mike work out their problems and become the family they should have always been, there are a couple of side stories that were tugging at my heartstrings, and I love how they all worked out.

The bottom line: Toni Blake is such an amazing storyteller! The Destiny books are very sexy, some bordering on erotic, but there’s so much story there… so much life and love! Even with all the passion and sex, Ms. Blake's stories never fail to evoke deep, powerful emotions, and I know that once I've turned the final page, I'll be left with a smile on my face and a sigh in my heart.

My thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of Half Moon Hill in exchange for an honest review.

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