Published by Amazon Digital Services on March 23, 2023
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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- Kristen -Eli Andrews wasn’t supposed to be anything other than a temporary roommate.On paper, it all makes sense. I rent out a room to him to earn some much-needed cash when my work hours get cut. I’ll stay on my side of the house and he’ll stay on his. Away from me and my kids.But he wasn’t supposed to be tall and gorgeous and make butterflies flutter in my stomach. He wasn’t supposed to be helpful and charming and supportive in a way I didn’t know I needed. He wasn’t supposed to waken that part of me that’s laid dormant for so long, an attraction building between us the longer he stays. I wasn’t supposed to fall under his spell.Or into his bed. For years, I’ve made sensible choices. Ones that are best for me and my kids. Ones that don’t involve sexy blue-eyed strangers who are only in town for a month.Eli Andrews isn’t staying in Crescent Pass. But tell that to my heart.
- Eli -Kristen Taylor wasn’t supposed to be the woman of my dreams.On paper, it doesn’t make sense. She’s a widow with two kids, while I’m the guy who avoids relationships. Only, when plans fall through and I’m stuck on a job with nowhere to stay, she’s the one who comes through for me.But she wasn’t supposed to be so easy to get along with. She wasn’t supposed to show me what a family could really be like. She wasn’t supposed to make my heart pound.Or tempt me beyond belief.For years, I’ve kept to myself. It’s safer that way. No one to disappoint or hurt you in return. Besides, I’m not staying in Crescent Pass.So why can’t I get her out of my head… or my heart?
A sweeet romance.
Kristen Taylor’s job has changed her hours to part-time and she is forced to take in a renter to make some money. It is either that or move in with her mother, which is absolutely her last resort. Kristen even agreed to take in the local busy body for the next few months — desperate times and all — but at the last minute Sheila made up with her boyfriend and sent an old college roommate over instead.
Taking in an unknown male was not what Kristen was agreeing to, especially with six-year-old twins in house, but Eli arrives so tired from his last few days of work and travel, they agree to at least let him spend the night. When Eli awakes after his much needed sleep and looks into the tiny faces trying really hard not to wake him but too curious not too, he never realizes that his life is about to be turned upside down.
Kristen and Eli agree to he can stay for the few weeks he needs to complete his work. Eli is a geological engineer and needs to verify that a new hotel can build where they are planning. He plans to stay out of Kristen’s hair and Kristen intends to keep her rambunctious twins out of Eli’s personal space. First it is fresh coffee in the mornings and warm homemade dinners from Kristen, and car repairs by Eli that begins their blossoming friendship, but it is time with Kristen and her kids that Eli begins to truly look forward to each evening.
Eli will never have kids of his own, a serious car accident years ago made sure of that, so he gave up on dreams of ever having a family of his own. He just never gave any thought that maybe there was a family already out there just waiting for him to show up.
This is such a sweet romance, not just with Kristen and Eli but the strong family bonds that grow between Eli and the children as well. As a confirmed bachelor, Eli was never annoyed by being awoken by the kids or dragged into their playtime or boo-boos. The closest thing to yelling is when Eli steps on some legos left on the floor, and we all know how painful that is. Eli seamlessly blends into this little family. He is their missing puzzle piece.
I sometimes grumble with stupid plot points and wonder why we can’t just have a nice romance. Here we had the lovely build of this new family bond and our biggest problems are that Kristen doesn’t believe she is worth dating because she has children. Eli doesn’t believe, due to his accident and scarring, that he will ever be loved or have a family of his own. So we have two people who are falling in love but don’t believe they are worthy of love. Not only do we have a self-esteem problem, but A Mountain Divides Us is literal. The tiny town of Crescent Pass is in the middle of nowhere and Eli lives hours away in Eugene. Eli has nothing but a lonely apartment to go back home to but the problem is that Eli’s degree is very specialized. There aren’t any jobs in Crescent Pass for a geological engineer. One thing that pisses me off in any story, is when a character such as Kristen says “I can’t uproot us and move to Eugene.” Yes, this is a Crescent Pass series story but really, you meet a wonderful man who loves you and your kids, and your kids love him too and you won’t even discuss uprooting six year olds and move them to a bigger city. They will make new friends and besides everyone in Crescent Pass it way too nosy for anyone’s good. I just feel it’s an unreasonable impediment to a HEA. There was no real reason to unjustly turn down the move except fear. It’s not like he asked her to leave the country.
My only other grumble, which goes against my usual “why can’t we just have a simple romance” grumble is that there was no other plot point in this story. At first, Eli is brought to town by his old college friend. When Eli tells him he needs to get some big equipment into the woods in order to take samples, his friend was like “Do you really have to do all that?” I thought we might have a situation where they were trying to just get Eli to sign off on the hotel so they could start building in a *wink*wink* just do us a favor without all that safety concern stuff. But no, that didn’t really go anywhere. That being said, there is nothing here but the sweet romance. If you need big drama in your romance, you aren’t gonna find it in Crescent Pass.
Drama or not, Kristen, Eli, Jenny and Jamie becoming a family unit was just so lovely to watch. It was an easy read and I would highly recommend it.
“Don’t let them run roughshod over your weekend,” Kristen warns me. “You don’t have to play.”
I wave her off, used to her denials by now. She never asks for help with anything.
“We’re still going to beat you,” Jenny taunts, facing her brother. “I’ve got Mom on my team.”
“No way. Eli will crush her.”
“Whoa, whoa,” I interject. “No one’s crushing anyone.” Even though, yeah, I could totally crush her. I probably outweigh her by a good fifty pounds of muscle.
“You two get ready,” Kristen says to the twins.
Jenny squeals in excitement as she rushes out of the kitchen.
“Last chance to back out.”
I glance over at Kristen, a gleam in her eye I haven’t seen before. “What?”
“I don’t want your ego to get bruised, is all.”
A grin creeps over my face. “Are you trash talking me?”
She grins back. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
She walks out and I move to the edge of the kitchen entrance to get ready. I hope she doesn’t change those leggings. They make her ass look amaz–“
Crap. I told myself I wouldn’t look at her that way anymore. An easy camaraderie has formed between us over the last week with all the time we’ve spent together. I shouldn’t mess that up with lustful thoughts.
I retreat to my room to dress and get ready, then meet them out in the backyard, the cold air on my exposed face pleasant paired with the weak sunshine from above.
Jenny places a toy baby doll with a missing leg and a turned over garden pot at one edge of the yard, while Jamie does the same on the other end with a a roller skate and a tangled jump rope.
“What are they doing?” I ask Kristen, her hair now pulled back in a tight ponytail, as if she’s ready for business. At least she still has the legging on.
“Those are the goal markers. We’re not fancy here.”
I nod in understanding.
“Have you played before?” she asks.
“Not really.” How hard can it be, though? You kick the ball into the goal.
“Okay, rules,” Kristen says when the kids return. “What the biggest one?”
“No pushing,” Jenny and Jamie say in unison.
“If you push someone, you have to go to time out,” Jenny says as an aside to me.
“Got it.” I’m guessing it happens often enough that it had to be made a rule.
“And no touching the ball with your hands,” Jamie adds. “Unless you’re the goalie.”
“Right. Seems easy. Which one’s our goal?”
Jamie points to the roller skate and the jump rope.
So we have to get the ball between the doll and pot. I can do that.
“I’m going to be the goalie,” Jenny announces.
“Me, too.” Jamie says.
“Guess it’s you verses me,” I say to Kristen.
She cracks her knuckles, then stretches her arms from side to side. “Guess so.” She carries their dirt-stained soccer ball to the center point between the two goals and sets it down. “On the count of three.”
She counts down and blows past me, expertly kicking the ball down the length of the yard.
Oh, wait. She can actually play?
“Go Mommy, go Mommy,” Jenny cheers as the ball sails across the brown grass and between Jamie’s legs. There was zero chance of him blocking that.
Jamie retrieves the ball and brings it back to the center of the field. “You get to kick it first since they scored,” he tells me.
Kristen backs up, midway between me and Jenny, her expression serious.
“Three, two, one,” Jamie shouts.
Guess that’s my cue to kick.
I can’t get the ball past Kristen, though, as she easily steals it and flies past me. This time, I’m not rooted in place and catch up with her. I attempt to steal it back, but I’m afraid I’ll trip her accidentally.
She does some kind of complicated footwork, weaving the ball around me, and makes her second goal.
“Maybe you could try harder?” Jamie asks politely as he brings the ball back to the center of the yard.
Kristen returns to her spot opposite me. Two, she mouths, pointing to herself. She points to me next. Zero.
Man, this family is brutal.
So that’s how she wants to play it, then? I can be that way, too.
Ten minutes later, it’s obvious I can’t. I have no game.