Wild Iris Ridge: RaeAnne Thayne
Lucy Drake is back in Hope Crossing and the havoc and turmoil she creates in the lives of many of those living there would make the aftershock from an earthquake pale by far. From the moment she sets foot on her aunt’s property, enters Iris House and decides to warm herself in one of the rooms, little does she know that the fireplace and heat she would ignite would send volumes of smoke and the need to be rescued. Brendan Caine the Fire Chief has no idea that she’s back and just the site of Lucy makes his blood boil and his body tingle. Memories flood back of one romantic kiss, the promise to stay in touch and the end result Brendan marrying someone else, only adds fuel the fire when Lucy realizes that he’s her rescuer. Married to her best friend and cousin Jessie, Lucy recoils when she sees him but her true feelings need to be checked in order for her to not only remain for the time being in Hope Crossing but to deal with Brendan.
Lives change, feelings come out and the end result just might surprise readers as once again author Rae Anne Thayne not only delivers a romance that is like within a storybook fairytale where the prince rescues the princess but twists, turns and surprises backed into this outstanding novel: Wild Iris Ridge.
Katherine Thorne and Dermott Caine have been skirting and circling around their feelings for each other for too long. After losing his wife Dermott buried himself in his café and although Katherine is more than just special and a friend, both seemed to distance themselves from anything more than a casual breakfast at his restaurant of hello. Lucy Drake enters the café and Dermott’s eyes light eye and do several others. Lucy always wanted to be just like Katherine Thorne and her Aunt Annabelle. When her mother took her own life, her father, decided to find another woman and sent her to live with Annabelle. Not wanting to deal with a recalcitrant teen he and his not much older than his daughter, wife decided to distance themselves from her since she was too hard to handle. Sometimes things come around in circles and when Lucy decides to take on a new project why does she tell Brandan the real reason she left Seattle. A first rate marketing director in a firm called Nexgen, a deal goes sour and Lucy takes the fall.
Lucy has always been close to Brendan’s two children Faith and Carter but he would rather have her at more than just arms distance. Always buying things for them and wanting to bring them something special Brendan finds an excuse to delay her visit. But, when Carter and Faith try out their bikes and Faith is afraid because her training wheels were removed, somehow Lucy works her magic and miracles do happen.
Not wanting to tell anyone the truth about getting fired she relates that her goal at present is to renovate Iris House and turn it into a bed and breakfast. But, how she was not sure and help she really needed. Enter Genevieve Beaumont we all remember as the mayor’s spoiled daughter who returned from Paris only to create more havoc and discord. Enter Dylan Caine and the two meet up at a bar and what happens that causes them to get arrested ignites a spark that led to their possible union. Dylan is handicapped and was injured while serving his country and returned angry and not wanting to be part of anything or anyone’s life including his family. But, things changed and as part of their community service these two were thrown together volunteering in the Warrior’s Hope program started by super hunk Spencer Gregory and Brendan’s sister Charlotte.
Enter Faith and Carter two adorable and really great kids who adore Lucy. From the minute they learn she is back in town they find ways to not only spend time with her but also connive to get her invited to places despite what their father might want. Things start to heat up and when Lucy turns up at Brendan’s house he enlists her help to watch his kids because he is called to work.
Lucy seems to want to distance herself from Brendan but one special spark changes it all as Brendan cannot resist her any longer. But, what Lucy does will surprise not only Brendan but also Lucy herself. But, there is much more to this novel as Lucy comes to grips with her feelings towards her coldhearted father and stepmother. Dealing with her feelings of failure for getting fired and being torn about remaining in Hope’s Crossing or finding a job somewhere else. Added in we learn more about Dylan’s disability and how with the help of Genevieve and his own determination he managed to not only overcome his handicap but also be more than gainfully employed.
Robert Drake could care less about any one of his children and with a wife who is seriously ill he decides to rid himself of their daughter by asking or shall we say demanding that Lucy take in her sister Crystal. Reminding her of herself and not really wanting it to be permanent she agrees to have her there for two weeks. But, despite her own shortcomings she manages to teach this teen some lessons that she just might never forget. Cell phone limited, computer access limited contingent on doing her homework, making up her classes since being expelled and helping her with the renovations and clean up at Iris House. Once again Robert Drake makes his daughter fall into line against her own wishes. Is Iris House the permanent dumping grounds for difficult teens? What will happen when Crystal arrives?
Enter Brandan and his two precious children watching Lucy try to mow the lawn with a mower she can’t seem to operate. What happens will bring a smile to your face and allow readers to know that it just might be a matter of time before these two figure it out. Brendan does not want to get involved and Lucy remembers the past. But, can they both move forward and remember his wife, her cousin and what brought them together to forge a present for themselves? As Brendan mows the lawn Lucy gets his children to help her pull weeds. Inviting her to have dinner with them at his father’s café proves interesting. His whole family there we meet the rest and Lucy and Carter are excited but something happens and a patron’s life is at stake as Brendan forges ahead enlisting Lucy’s help to save a man’s life.
Taking care of Carter and Lucy when Brendan was at work proves enlightening as Lucy confided her fears about her father’s job and the risks he takes to Lucy. Can she calm her and let her know that he would never get hurt? But, Lucy just put his children to bed and something overtakes her and she turns pale. Never admitting that she had panic attacks the look on Brendan’s face said it all. Calm, caring and showing his other side he guides her through and walks her back to Iris House.
The renovations are starting and Genevieve’s ideas are amazing as things heat up with Lucy and Brendan and their feelings come to a huge boil. But, can they temper them or do they even want to?
What better way to turn a teen around then two great kids! When Faith meets Crystal there is an instant bond and telling her how lucky she is to stay at Iris House cements their friendship and she becomes Aunt Crystal. But, Faith hears something and thinks it’s a baby and wants someone to look inside a dumpster. When Crystal steps up to the plate what they find are three precious puppies. One that did not survive and two that did. What would they do and how would they handle this when Crystal fell in love with one dog and Faith and Carter wanted the other one.
Author Rae Anne Thayne brings to light many issues within this outstanding novel. Family loyalty, love, understanding and dealing with a difficult teen that feels that no one wants her around. Added in we learn more about Dylan and how he overcame his disability and how the people of Hope’s Crossing rise to the occasion when someone needs help.
The Caine family is close knit and when they want to add a member they will do anything to make it happen. A Warrior’s Hope is there for anyone that lost a spouse, lost a dream, the ability to do something and needs help to move on. Learning more about it from Dylan hearing his thoughts and how it changed his life, Lucy comes to realize that she has made some lasting friendships in such a short time. But, does she want to stay and when offered a job in Portland from Aidan Caine why does she take it and what will Brendan’s reaction be?
Meet Max and Daisy two of the most adorable puppies that win everyone over. As Faith and Carter keep Daisy and find ways to have play dates with Max the bond between Brendan and Lucy just might wither. The Giving Hope annual event would change things as Lucy is paired with Brendan and their job is to clear the Wild Iris Ridge Trail.
Knowing that Charlotte and Claire McKnight brought them together and the entire Caine family saw what they refuse to acknowledge Lucy has no choice but to agree. But, things happen, words come out and she storms away.
A dance changes the dynamics of one relationship and an incident would endanger Lucy’s life but will Brendan find her in time? When a missing person’s report comes in Brendan does not hesitate to go in search of Lucy? What is their final fate? Will he rescue her before time runs out? What will happen to Max if he does not?
Can two stubborn adults find their way to sift out the veil of doubt and lift it to have a life together or will they run in different directions forever? Author Rae Anne Thayne once again brings to life the small town of Hope’s Crossing, the unique and diverse people, the caring community spirit and the hope that this town will be the center of many more novels to come. Suspense, surprises, twists, turns; revelations and hope are all backed into this outstanding FIVE STAR NOVEL!
Fran Lewis: reviewer