Where She Belongs by Cindy Procter-King
Publisher: Gale – Cenege - Five Star
Length: Full Length (240 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia
She never wants to go home again.
For Jess Morgan, Destiny Falls holds too many painful memories. Nine years ago, a logging accident near the remote timber town killed her dad and her high school sweetheart. Despite Jess’s broken heart, her mother immediately sought comfort with another man. That choice tore Jess apart and drove her to seek a life far away. But now fate steps in, and family obligations force her return home. Before long, she’s convinced that persuading her mom to live with her in Toronto will repair their bond and Jess’s own sense of belonging. However, she doesn’t count on a long-ago friend re-entering her life and challenging those same convictions.
Rugged forester Adam Wright believes in family, roots, and not running from heartache. Now, all he wants is to help Jess break down the walls of the lonely sanctuary she’s built for herself and heal her past hurts. But it’s not until she rejects his proposal that Adam realizes his dogged persistence has pushed her even further away—not at all what he intended. Has he lost his chance? Or can he convince Jess that where she truly belongs is with him…forever?
Stuck in a quagmire of heartbreaking experiences in her teens, Jess Morgan’s ability to move on emotionally is stalled even though she functions at top speed in her upscale merchandizing career in Toronto. When she must return to Destiny Falls where she experienced these life-changing hurts, she is swamped with misgivings. Her veneer of big city sophistication gets chipped away little by little. Whether she feels like she has come “home” or not, the people of Destiny Falls believe she has and draw her into the web of small community living.
Adam Wright, whom Jess had a crush on when she was fourteen and he was seventeen, is Jess’s best friend Molly’s cousin and comes to pick Jess up at the airport while Molly stays with Jess’s mother Nora, whose second husband has died.
Adam is comfortable in his own skin. He put his roots down deep in Destiny Falls and has that sense of belonging he needs. He is just as tenacious, steadfast, and persistent as his cousin Molly. He works to make Destiny Falls a better and more prosperous place to live He works hard in his business to obtain contracts that generate jobs and good wages for the local people. However, his attitude that others should like and be happy with what he is happy with has cost him dearly. Crysta and his unborn child are lost to him because of this attitude and now it colors his view of Jess whom he feels abandoned her mother and her hometown. He doesn’t know the circumstances and is too quick to judge.
Nora, Jess’s mother, is not blameless in Jess’s feeling she doesn’t really belong in Destiny Falls or anywhere else for that matter. Caught up in her own needs and loves over the years, Nora lost her connection with her only child. She feels she has no right to make demands on Jess even though grief and regrets have sapped her vitality. Some of her choices have driven Jess away, yet she longs for absolution.
As Jess inches her way toward a decision about where she belongs and about her willingness to risk being hurt again, she tells herself that being alone keeps her safe from hurt. However, as she and Nora open up to each other and Adam eases his way into her life, thoughts, and heart, Jess fears breaking free of her cocoon of isolation and feels a sense of panic about flying out into a world where emotional dangers abound.
Cindy Procter-King weaves together the lives of her characters with a skill that creates a beautiful pattern of love with just enough darkness in the design to highlight the beauty of unconditional friendship, familial love that ebbs and flows but never disappears, and best of all, she weaves in the love of a man and woman who suffered bitter grief and loss but come out of that dark part of life to the glorious light of true love.
Where She Belongs is a gentle story that touches the heart.