Synopsis for Kiss Me That Way (from The Publisher):
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…
Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…
Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?
Other books in the series:
Author: Laura Trentham
# of Books: 3 (Kiss Me That Way, Then He Kissed Me, Till I Kissed You)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 31, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley–eARC | Thank you St. Martin’s Press!
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a strictly adult contemporary romance that wasn’t labeled as a “steamier” selection, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to read Laura Trentham’s new series, Cottonbloom Novels.
I wanted a contemporary romance that focused on the characters and their connection to each other–not simply a matter of getting each other into bed. While I normally don’t go for second chance romances, the synopsis gave me the impression that there was more at play in Kiss Me That Way and I was looking forward to finding out what it was.
Nothing gets you attached faster to characters than a great setting, which this series provides. Cottonbloom is such a fun, crazy little town that readers will fall in love with.
Forget the “wrong side of the tracks” motto, this is all about the “wrong side of the river”.
You essentially have a town split in two thanks to the river and that makes for some great, “forbidden” romances and connections. It makes the story a little lighter, providing an upbeat vibe to the somewhat darker stories of Cade and Monroe. Trentham does a beautiful job elaborating on this throughout the novel and you can see how the setting weaves together the next two novels in the series.
I loved the pace of this novel. There was great character development on all fronts–including the secondary characters, which is important for the next two novels. And when Monroe and Cade weren’t learning more about themselves or their families, their romance was so sweet to watch unfold.
But what I really loved was the overarching plotline of the festival. Like I said before, it gives the story a happier vibe without taking away from Cade and Monroe’s past. It also ramps up the anticipation for the rest of the series–which I cannot wait to see!
While the character elements of Monroe and Cade are ones I have encountered before, I still found their characters to be unique and genuine. You can’t help but root for them to succeed in whatever they want, whether that’s love or family matters.
Before I started, I worried that Monroe might be a stubborn woman who resisted all help because she was “independent” now (if that makes sense) and I find those types hard to immediately connect with as a reader. But that honestly wasn’t the case. I really liked her from start to finish. She was strong and smart and perhaps a bit stubborn, but not to the point where it was frustrating. She also didn’t become some simpering fool the minute Cade walked into her life again–she kept true to herself and her independence and I really respected that.
Normally, second chance romances aren’t my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. These two had great chemistry from the get-go which made it so much fun to watch. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I definitely enjoyed every minute watching these two come together.
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
With the little tastes of everyone we got in this first book, I am dying to read the next two! Kiss Me that Way served as a great introduction into this series, and I can’t wait to see how the next two build on it!
–July 10, 2016– Book #2: Then He Kissed Me
This book was everything I wanted it to be…and a little more!
I had just finished the second chapter when I realized I LOVED Nash! He was so sweet and so adorable that I immediately added him to my select list of book boyfriends. It was so refreshing to read about a hero who wasn’t totally confident in himself and I loved watching his character grow.
Tally was also fantastic. Her growth and self-discovery throughout this novel made it a treat to read.
They complimented each other so well which made the romance awesome to read. They had a great connection and palpable chemistry that I loved all their scenes together.
I enjoyed this novel from start to end and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!
–July 31, 2016– Book #3: Till I Kissed You
This story has been building from the very first Cottonbloom novel and building throughout. So I had high expectations going in…and every one was met!
The tension between these two was sizzling off the pages! I loved watching them reunite and battle all the obstacles in their way. It was absolutely perfect–everything fans of this series will want!
Not only was the romance really strong, but the drama plot line was also fantastic. I loved the mystery/suspense aspect to it. It kept you interested as a reader and balanced out the romance beautifully.
Overall, it was an AMAZING way to end this series! I will definitely be checking out more books by Laura Trentham in the future!
Series Rating: 4.5/5
Kiss Me That Way 4/5 | Then He Kissed Me 5/5 | Till I Kissed You 5/5
This book really wasn’t what I was expecting–but in a totally good way! It wasn’t the typical second chance romance that I thought it was going to be. The slow burn romance intermingled with the character development and overall series plot made this one a blast to read! Definitely a great summer book series to get your hands on!
Read if You Like: contemporary romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want an erotica romance
Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has finaled multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Monroe’s lips silenced the rest of his question. The champagne on his tongue was almost
as intoxicating as his scent. The music from the great room drifted, muted and unrecognizable.
As if slow dancing, Cade wrapped his arms around her and turned them enough so he could close
the door, leaving them in silence, except for the ticking of a clock.
His hands roamed her bare back, slipping inside of her dress to brush the top curves of
her buttocks. She pushed him backward against the wall. Infinitely stronger than her, he could have held his ground or taken charge at any point, but the fact that he let her lead only made her want him more. She was done listening to logic, done fighting her hunger for him. She wanted him.
Cupping her cheeks, he pulled his lips from hers. “And again you do the unexpected.”
“Unwanted?” she whispered.
“Does it look like I’m protesting?” His breath puffed against her cheek before he kissed her once more, slipping his tongue alongside hers, before his mouth retreated once more. She tipped into him seeking more. He took her weight, bracing his legs farther apart, but evaded her mouth.
“I watched you dancing with Tarwater. What are you playing at? Is he the man you want to be seen with and I’m the one you’re keeping for the dark?” A thread of emotion in his voice tied itself around her heart and bound her. Was he jealous? Hurt? Angry?
“Do you think I’m using you?” She pushed off his chest.
“You know I’m not staying long.”
She did know. She just didn’t want to think about the day he would walk away from Cottonbloom. And from her. “What are you getting at?”
“I think you get something from him you can’t get from me and vice versa. He has clout in this town, but I’m the man that you want in the dark and in your bed, aren’t I?”
“If you think all I care about is my standing in this town, why did you follow me?”
“Because I want you. That’s why I came.” Belligerence instead of seduction beat at his words. Underneath was a boy who did care what Cottonbloom thought of him. He hadn’t always been the poor swamp rat sneaking around in the dark.
“All you want is sex?”
“If that’s what you’re offering.” His voice softened, and he squeezed her hips and fit them together. “I can be rough and dirty and a little bit dangerous if that’s how you want me.”
Arousal flared even as the gentleness of his touch belied his coarse words. He skimmed his good hand from her hip to settle under her breast, his thumb running up and down the exposed skin in between. Her nipple puckered, begging for his touch.
“Is that what you want, sweetheart?”
Her body shifted toward his instinctively, seeking to anchor itself to him, needing to draw from his heat and strength. “Th-that’s not what I want.” Before the words were even out, she knew they were untrue, or at least a partial truth. Sex wasn’t all she wanted. But she did want it.
“Don’t lie to yourself or me.” He dropped his lips to the shell of her ear and nuzzled. She grabbed the lapels of his jacket. “I could take you right here, right now, with the Tarwaters and all of crazy Cottonbloom a few rooms away. And I’d make it good, Monroe. I’d make your body sing. I’d make you beg before giving you everything you need. Then, you could walk back out into that damn party like nothing happened. No one would know the things you want to do in the dark with a poor, dirty boy from Louisiana.”
Her body sang a song of longing and need. She wanted to stay in the dark with him the rest of the night, but there was something even more important she needed to do. With the effort of separating strong magnets, she pried her body from his, opened the door, and took him by the wrist.
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