Whisper Falls by Toni Blake is the first romance novel I think I’ve read, and I’m not sure why. This one jumped out because the heroine has an auto immune disease. Score! Diseases are about as sexy as NYC in August so I was prepared for a hot mess, but the story was sweet and thankfully not centered around her chronic illness.
Tessa was a successful interior designer enjoying city life before her illness kicked in. After being diagnosed with Crohn’s, she retreated to her hometown, bought a small cabin in the woods and is trying to appreciate a life surrounded by nature. The plan is working as far as learning how to manage her illness. Her new neighbor has what sounds like a parade of motorcycles coming and going at all hours of the night – otherwise life is relentlessly quiet and dull.
It’s not long before Tessa meets this neighbor and realizes he’s Lucky Romo, former teen bad boy turned sexy tattooed biker who disappeared years ago leaving only a trail of frightening rumors behind him. Lucky’s presence is sure to stir things up in town, but it takes Tessa by surprise when he starts to stir things in her. Her attraction to him, the thrill of his peeping eyes on her body, feels more dangerous than anything she’s done in a long time.
When Lucky finally approaches her again its not for a date, but to be a client. He wants her to make his house homey. Tessa is completely drawn to Lucky so you think they’ll get together, but he didn’t move back to Whisper Falls to hook up with his neighbor so … frustration ensues. Tessa craves his attention and the harder he works to keep her away, the harder she goes after him, which makes for some fun tension-filled scenes.
The book started to lose me mid-way through. I don’t have other romance novels to compare this one to, but the convention in love stories is to keep the two apart for as long as possible. The dramatic tension comes from extending the will-they-won’t-they for as long as you possibly can. In that context, Lucky’s resistance makes sense, but I definitely got a little impatient waiting for them. For me, the obstacles were too far on the periphery to matter.
As a whole, this is an entertaining read. What I appreciated most was that Tessa’s disease is just a part of who she is, but Blake doesn’t downplay or over dramatize the impact it has on her life. The dialogue may be campy and the male characters one-dimensional, but I still had a good time reading it. And you have to love the way these thick paperbacks feel in your hands.
Whisper Falls is Book 3 in the Destiny Series, but this one works as a stand alone – I didn’t read the first two. The Good, The Bad and The Unread offers this review from a more genre-informed point of view.