Series: Barefoot Bay (Book 2)
They say you can never go home again . . .
When "Life Coach to the Stars" Jocelyn Bloom is embroiled in scandal, the only place she can hide is the one place she wishes she could forget. She left Barefoot Bay-and the boy next door who knew all her secrets-years ago. Now nothing about the tiny island off the coast of Florida is quite how she remembers it, especially Will Palmer. He's even more gorgeous and tempting . . . and still capable of turning her world inside out.
But what if someone is waiting for you?
To Will Palmer, Guy Bloom is more than the elderly, senile neighbor he looks after-he's the last connection to Jocelyn, the woman Will loved and lost. But the reunion with Jocelyn doesn't go smoothly. Shocked by the change in her father's personality, Jocelyn struggles to reconcile her dark childhood with the sweet, confused man who has grown close to Will. Jocelyn has guided countless clients to happiness-but can she escape the rainy days of her past for a new sunny future with Will?
Good romance that also deals with a couple tough issues, those of abuse and Alzheimer's. Will and Jocelyn had known each other and been best friends since they were ten years old. Will lived next door and had also been Jocelyn's place of refuge and escape when her father's abuse would get bad. The summer before they were to leave for college, their friendship began to change into something more. Just as they were about to do something about it, they were caught by her father, who threatened to kill Will, or at the very least find a way to end Will's baseball dreams. Wanting to protect Will, Jocelyn left Barefoot Bay, but not before her father nearly beat her to death.
Fifteen years later, Jocelyn is trying to escape a trumped up scandal. The only place she can go is back to Barefoot Bay, where her three college friends can hide her. For the first time in those fifteen years, she sees Will again, and is reminded of all she felt for him. He's working as a carpenter and living in his parents' old house, still next door to her father. She's stunned to find out that Will has been caring for her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, for the past year. Even worse, her father has totally forgotten her existence and believes that Will is his son. Jocelyn hasn't been able to forget what her father had done and is determined to put him in a home and forget about him.
Will has come to terms with his relationship with Guy and doesn't want to see him taken from the only place he remembers. He is determined to make Jocelyn see that there is a better way. At the same time, he'd really like to rekindle his relationship with her and see where it might go. In order to do that, he has to find a way to get past the walls she has built up around her heart. I loved his kindness and patience with Guy, even though he was responsible for Will's loss of Jocelyn. He also has to face up to what he sees as his own shortcomings when he discovers the truth of what had happened the night that Jocelyn left Barefoot Bay.
Jocelyn has a hard time reconciling her memories of her father and his cruelties with the man he is today. Instead of the vicious abuser, Guy is nice, spending his time doing needlework and watching television. He mistakes her for the host of a television cleaning show who has come to help him. Though she starts out as coldly determined to have him put away, with Will's help her feelings toward her father start to change. Her feelings for Will also begin to grow. At first it is a rekindling of their friendship, as Will helps her with her father, but the attraction to him is still there. She doesn't see anything coming of it, as their lives are now too different. But being back in Barefoot Bay gives her a chance to reevaluate her life, and the support of her friends shows her she has options. All she has to do is take a chance on her feelings.
I liked seeing Will and Jocelyn getting to know each other again. The chemistry between them is fantastic. I loved the scene at the baseball field and how that moved them closer together. Beyond that, they have to learn to trust themselves. Finding out what had happened to Jocelyn has Will questioning himself and his own self worth, and the guilt he feels affects the way he looks at their relationship. Jocelyn has to find a way to let go of the past so that she can move forward.
I loved the ending and Will's ultimate effort to help Jocelyn with the scandal that has been causing her the problems. What he did showed, not only his love for Jocelyn, but also the basic goodness of who he is.
Jocelyn's father Guy was an interesting character. After the viciousness of the prologue, seeing him as he is now was quite the change. Seeing things through his eyes gave an interesting perspective on the disease. A surprise discovery gave Jocelyn and Will a chance to understand what may have been the trigger for Guy's actions. I also liked seeing Jocelyn's friends and the way they rallied to help her. Their support gives her the courage to face her demons and make a grab for a better future.