When bold and sexy businessman Devlin Gilvane arrives in the Irish village of Ballymuir, almost everyone is taken by his charm. Only American chef Jenna Fahey sees the threat he poses. She's highly suspicious of the way Dev is sniffing around Muir House, the old manor house she has leased and worked relentlessly to turn into a restaurant on the brink of international fame. Muir House has been Jenna's redemption from a dark past, and she will fight to the end to make it hers. Dev needs the property to reach the top of the multinational resorts corporation that employs him. He won't let one admittedly beautiful chef get in his way. But neither Dev nor Jenna expects the passion that ignites between them, or the secrets that reveal themselves as their lives collide.
Again Dorien Kelly has written a feel good romance with just enough drama to keep me invested in the outcome. Sparks are immediate between Dev and Jenna but from the reader perspective you have to wonder how things are going to work; we know that Dev is looking to buy Muir House and add it to his resorts portfolio even when Jenna doesn't. Keeping the heroine in the dark about ones true intentions is the fastest ticket to the dog house but even when Dev lands himself there the feelings between to the two of them don't fade.
In a very realistic representation (I think) of how people sometimes just have to make it work - even if they know deep down it can't last - their relationship continues. Helped along by some friendly meddling, the two of them simultaneously work towards changing what they see as an inevitable future. It creates a bit of a bittersweet atmosphere because you spend a lot of time with them during painful internal monologues and as a romance lover, I really wanted them to find their HEA.
But since this is a romance you know they do manage to stumble their way into a wonderful HEA and I was happy to read it. I'm not sure if the new supporting characters Kelly introduces actually do all that much for the storyline but I wouldn't say they detract too much. It's just hard to win me over with meddling family [shrug]. Still, as that's a personal problem, lol, I would say if you're in the mood for an Irish small town romance to pick this one up (though start with The Last Bride - you won't regret it).
Overall Feeling - B+
Series - 1) The Last Bride in Ballymuir 2) The Boldest Man in Ballymuir 3) The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir
Contest Winner: The Billionaires by Calista Fox
3 hours ago