Being rescued by a good-looking, bad-boy firefighter isn’t how Samantha Bennett expected to start her stay in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. Now she has everyone’s attention—especially that of Justin Sloan, her rescuer, who wants to know why she was camped out in an abandoned old New England cider mill.
Samantha is a treasure hunter who has returned to Knights Bridge to solve a 300-year-old mystery and salvage her good name. Justin remembers her well. He’s the one who alerted her late mentor to her iffy past and got her fired. But just because he doesn’t trust her doesn’t mean he can resist her. Samantha is daring, determined, seized by wanderlust—everything that strong, stoic Justin never knew he wanted. Until now….
Series: Swift River Valley #3 | Author: Carla Neggers | Publisher: Harlequin MIRA | Source: Publisher | Rating: 5 Cups
Justin Sloan remembered Samantha from the first time he caught her traipsing around in Knights Bridge. Now that she’s back, he knows she’s seeking pirate treasure and the fact he found her journal proves it. But he still can’t seem to shake her from his mind.
As the hunt for answers grows, so does the attraction between Justin and Samantha. Although the same search for answers that are bringing them together could tear them apart.
Cider Brook is my favorite book in the Swift River Valley series thus far. Not only does it contain an amazing mystery as well as a sweet romance but it has pirates too! And you all know that pirates are my weakness!
Samantha is warring with herself. Her omissions caused a rift between her and Duncan McCaffrey, her employer and mentor, and now that he’s dead she can’t explain to him her reasons for sneaking into Knights Bridge. She also wants to uncover the mystery of the pirate that her grandfather left her. Then when she meets the residents of Knights Bridge as well as Duncan’s son Dylan, she feels as though she’s betraying them as well.
I liked Samantha. She was a flawed heroine, which made her real. She was also very determined to seek out the answers she wanted but she wasn’t so focused on meeting her goal that she blocked out her heart.
Justin is my favorite hero in the series. He’s quiet but not overly broody. There’s a strength to him that he lends to Samantha without pushing onto her. He’s also got a secret of his own.
Because of Samantha’s secrecy as well as her first trip to Knights Bridge, there is a bit of distrust between her and Justin, which is brilliant for the chemistry. There is also this amazing bond between the two of them because he rescued her from the fire at his cider mill.
Mingled in with Samantha and Justin’s story is the story of Loretta, Dylan’s attorney. I was so glad I finally was able to read more about Loretta. She’s been such a cornerstone to the Swift River Valley novels it was nice to see her get her own story. Loretta has her own ghosts to put to rest and it blended into the story flawlessly.
The mystery aspect of the novel was amazing. I enjoyed the way that each character reveals part of the mystery.
The pacing of the novel was simply brilliant and I found it impossible to put down until the very last page was read.
Overall, I loved Cider Brook. One of the best romance novels I have read this year. Plus, it mentioned the Pirate Prince ‘Black’ Sam Bellamy—my favorite pirate—and any novel that mentions him gets extra points in my book.
I can’t wait to read what comes next in the Swift River Valley series.
Series Alert—Cider Brook is the third novel in the Swift River Valley series and while it does read well as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the entire series to get the feel of the residents.