When the Stars Come Out
A Cottonbloom Novel
By Laura Trentham
Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever in Laura Trentham’s When the Stars Come Out. . .
Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .
Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?
“I’ll have a pork plate and sweet tea to go.” Willa did a mental calculation for tax and pulled out two fives. More than she should spend, but her stomach vetoed any protest.
Now not only was she saving to fix her car, but she needed a cushion. If she had to move, money was a necessity. Any decent place required a deposit for rent. Not to mention utilities. And how long would it take her to find another job that didn’t require her Social Security number or real name? The thought made her stomach hurt from something other than hunger.
“Make that two for here, Rufus, and I’m buying.”
Willa spun around. Jackson Abbott’s chest filled her vision. The animallike noises her stomach was making must have drowned out his approach.
“Sure thing, Jackson.” Rufus favored them with a grin and turned to dole out barbeque, baked beans, and slaw.
She tucked her hair behind her ear, feeling intensely vulnerable without her steel-toed work boots, coveralls, and ball cap. Her flip-flops, worn-out jeans with a rip at one knee, and a black T-shirt with the emblem of a band she’d never listened to were from the thrift shop down the street.
“You don’t have to pay.” When she found her voice, it was breathy.
“I want to.” His words were low and rumbly and sexy, and she resisted the urge to lay her cheek against his chest, desperate to have someone, anyone, to lean on, even for a moment. Obviously, hunger was impeding her mental faculties.
In the two years she’d lived in Cottonbloom, she’d never run into Jackson outside of the garage. Her forays to secretly watch him race didn’t count since he’d never noticed her. The only place she was a regular was at the library, because it offered free Internet and entertainment—two things she couldn’t afford to waste money on.
Her mental faculties slipped further away as she allowed her gaze to wander over his shoulders before rising. He’d showered, his damp hair darker than its usual rich brown, but hadn’t shaved, his stubble even more pronounced from the afternoon. The scent of soap and clean laundry was mouthwatering in a different way than the barbeque was. The butterflies in her stomach did a slow bump and grind. God, she was hungry for so many things.
The fifth book in the Cottonbloom series by author Laura Trentham, WHEN THE STARS COME OUT is Jackson’s and Willa’s story. As a fan of series that cover the lives and relationships of members of a family, this one satisfied on every level, and made for a very enjoyable read.
The relationship between Willa and Jackson is layered, ease and camaraderie infused with an undercurrent of emotional tension. For two years, they’ve worked side by side, but only as the secrets of Willa’s past threaten to send her away from Cottonbloom do the two of them understand that there’s so much more between them than friendship. When the two of them finally acknowledge the spark between them, things get really interesting, and friendly co-workers become so much more.
Since I just started this series with the previous book, there is still some backstory for me to catch up on, but Laura writes each book as a standalone, so it is possible to read WHEN THE STARS COME OUT without having read the others. I find that I’m enjoying the story arc and the characters so much, though, that I’d like to go back and read the first books, as well as continue with Mack Abbott’s story, the upcoming SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE.
WHEN THE STARS COME OUT is an easy 4 stars for me, and one that I would readily recommend. Fans of contemporary romance, family sagas, of series with a Southern setting, and storylines that cross over between books, will enjoy the Cottonbloom series, and should add these books to their TBR.
Enter to win the first four (4) books in the Cottonbloom series!
Kiss Me That Way, Book 1
Then He Kissed Me, Book 2
Till I Kissed You, Book 3
Leave the Night On, Book 4
An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. KISS ME THAT WAY, Cottonbloom Book 1, won the Stiletto Contest for Best Long Contemporary and finaled in the National Readers Choice Award. THEN HE KISSED ME, Cottonbloom Book 2, was named an Amazon Best Romance of 2016 and was a finalist for the National Excellence for Romance Fiction. TILL I KISSED YOU, Cottonbloom Book 3, is a finalist in the Maggie contest. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, the latest Cottonbloom book, was named an iBooks Best Book of the Month and a Recommended Read from NPR.
When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.
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