I picked this book from BookLookBloggers.com to review because I loved the cover and the way the photo predicts a winter romance. Perfect for this time of year! While I was reading the book, several characters began to seem familiar and then I realized that I had read another book from Denise Hunter and this one was about PJ from the same family. I love when that happens in books. It gives me an opportunity to see how these fictional people are progressing in their lives. One of my favorite things is when my wish for a story to continue comes true.
PJ is the youngest of her siblings and she is looking to become successful in the restaurant business and Bed & Breakfast. Her opportunity comes when a local wealthy home owner wants to retire and donate the "Wishing House" to a business with a great cause. PJ and others are presenting for a chance to win the house.
The book starts out with a possible break-in at PJ's house that she is renting. She clobbers the guy over the head with a vase and he's knocked out. It turns out there was a mix-up with the rental, and Cole wakes up being cared for by PJ. The interesting part is that Cole has to get better fast because he also is presenting to be able to start a teen group home for foster children at the Wishing House.
While PJ is giving her presentation, in walks Cole and reality sets in that he is her competition. When they both share their reasons for the house the women is moved by each possibility and can't decide so she gives them a year challenge to see who can prove success and win the house.
They each had one floor to use and remodel as they saw fit and were told they must share the home. After much consideration they both agreed and began the renovations. Throughout the book PJ was always wondering if Cole had ulterior motives and would want to sabatoge her business. She didn't trust him, but something about him intrigued her and increased her heart rate every time she saw him. Her floor transformed into a beautiful culinary kitchen and restaurant. She was able to hire workers and hosted cooking classes for increased business exposure. During the season the restaurant was packed, but she struggled with the winter months.
Cole renovated his upstairs and made individual rooms for his teenagers that he picked out of a large stack of possibilites. He was a foster child and when his parents and sister died in an accident he always blamed himself for the loss. He wanted to give back and so this foster home for teenagers was his way of doing that. In foster care there is a time when kids turn 18 before they graduate from high school and have to leave the foster system and live on their own. His home was for these type of kids.
During their year together, they got to know and appreciate each other. PJ had a bad relationship from the past and the ex-boyfriend was causing a problem. Cole rescued her in many situations. Another challenge that PJ had was anxiety and she began to have panic attacks. Cole's mother used to have them and so he was able to be of support to her. One of my friends shared with me that she believes we are all put here to find our perfect match, and when we do, we have certain things in us that will help benefit the other. This was true in their relationship.
In the final months they began to fall in love, but still were unsure of the possibilities of the Wishing House. PJ's mom didn't like that Cole was interested in her daughter and told him. So the relationship went bad as Cole pulled away and PJ didn't know why. He gave up and told the owner that PJ could have the house. She was miserable and couldn't reach Cole to figure out what happened as he left town. The mother finally came to her senses and found Cole and told him she was sorry. Cole came back to PJ and they talked about what life would be like together. PJ said that she was going to give the house to him. They decided to keep the house as dual owners and he would own the foster home for teens on the top and she would run her restaurant on the bottom floor. It was another one of those books that I was looking for the future story. So good!
To learn more about the author, Denise Hunter: