Bittersweet is the third book in Shirlee McCoy’s Home Sweet Home series. It can definitely be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the previous books about Willow’s sisters, but I enjoyed this one so much that I want to go back and read those, too.
Prosecutor Willow Lamont has returned to the last place she wants to be–her hometown of Benevolence, Washington. Her grandfather needs her help at Chocolate Haven. She promises him two weeks, eager to escape the painful memories. A suspicious car driving by late at night results in a call to the police. When Deputy Sheriff Jax Gordon arrives, they discover someone dropped off a newborn baby behind the dumpster. The pair work together to help the baby, but they also start to help one another.
Both Willow and Jax had traumatic events happen in their lives when they were younger. Neither wanted to talk about it, but Jax was able to tell immediately that Willow had been traumatized. It was nice to see them get to the point where they felt they could truly open up to one another, leaving Willow to confide in Jax, when she hadn’t even told her sisters what had happened to her.
I loved the pair together. Not only did they work together to help the baby, but when Willow finds herself unable to make a decent batch of fudge, Jax learns how to make it from her grandfather and steps in to help. It wasn’t something he had to do, but I found it sweet that he was willing to make the effort to try to help. They were a great support to one another.
“I don’t want to be your hero, Willow, because heroes? They’re there for the big things. They come running when dragons need to be slain and monsters need to be killed. They’re there for the glory and the fame and the worship. Me? I just want to be there for you.”
Willow’s relationship with her mother is strained, but it’s clear she’s close to her sisters and her grandfather. I was happy when her mother finally reached out to try to bridge the gap between them.
There’s a bit of mystery as to who abandoned the baby and why. When the culprit was discovered, I, like Willow, felt bad for the woman, even though she could have dropped the baby off at the police station instead of by the dumpster. There’s also a bit of mystery as to why Willow keeps receiving a check in the mail for twenty thousand dollars. Without being asked, Jax takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of it to ensure no one is out to harm Willow.
Bittersweet is a well-written story that tugs on the heartstrings. Fans of small town romances who like a bit of mystery mixed in won’t be disappointed with this book.
Caring family and friends, tranquil streets—ex-prosecutor Willow Lamont wishes these could make her feel truly at home. She’s back to help her grandfather manage Chocolate Haven, a long held dream come true. But she’s struggling to make their unique fudge—and to cope with a secret trauma that haunts her. Yet when she finds an abandoned baby who breaks her heart wide open, she wonders how long she can hide her emotions—especially from warm, handsome, and way too nosey Deputy Sheriff Jax Gordon.
Always an outsider, Jax knows more than he should about loss. But he didn’t expect his difficult search for baby “Miracle’s” mother would reveal such a vulnerable side to the accomplished, beautiful woman he’s always admired. Earning Willow’s trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Yet between her honesty and courage, he’s longing to fill her life with rekindled joy—and a forever of irresistible love.