When Rough around the Edges Meets Refined showed up on my radar, after reading the blurb, I knew I had to scoop this freebie up. I’m glad I did. This was a sweet romance with lots of meat to chew on later. Here’s what enticed me then we’ll chat.
The Cover Story~
For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he’s finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor’s matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn’t have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls’ beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall.
Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It’s about learning that people aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go.
See what I mean? Rough around the Edges Meets Refined delivered exactly what it promised.
Seven months widowed, Cassie Ellis still resents her dead husband. Resents who she’s become and how she allowed herself to get to that point, even so far that she lost touch with her family. All because it was easier to give in to a controlling husband than to go against his wishes. Thrilled with her new independence and freedom, a relationship is not on her radar. Definitely not.
“Cassie wasn’t sure who she was anymore. It was like Landon had extracted that fun-loving girl and hidden it somewhere she couldn’t find it. All that was left was a wannabe shell.”
Nor is single dad Noah Mackie, who has his hands full raising two daughters especially after losing his construction job. He’s surrounded by a support system of family and friends, so when his neighbor/friend sets him up with his daughters’ dance teacher, Cassie, he agrees, although reluctantly. Bristlier than a porcupine backed into a corner, Cassie rebuffs his friendship. But when she needs a carpenter to convert her basement into a dance studio, who’s the perfect guy for the job? Yep. Noah.
“He wanted to continue to get to know the real her—the one buried beneath her pain and hiding behind all the walls.”
In the beginning, Noah thought Cassie to be poised, unapproachable, and too stiff to open up and be genuine. But he soon found that she had many layers of depth: raw and vulnerable, still hurting, but with an amazingly big heart. The romance blossomed along with the characters, and I enjoyed Noah’s flirty style, how he encouraged Cassie just to be her and created opportunities for her to rediscover who she was. Simple things like singing to music and picking out her favorite ice cream flavor, which she’d given up because of her husband’s aversion.
Favorite quote: “There’s a price that has to be paid for experience and knowledge, and sometimes it’s a pretty steep price. But you’ve already paid it. So don’t regret the past. Never regret the past. Value it. Use it. Be grateful for it.”
I really enjoyed Noah and Cassie’s journey from not-a-chance to oh-yes-we-can. One sticking point for me, though, was a contradiction in Noah’s character. Up until near the end, he was the perfect hero. Flirty and fun, all about compromise and upgrading, but the way he handled Cassie’s need for time and space made him seem, well, you’ll just need to read the book. But heroes can’t be perfect, right? lol. If you’re in the mood for a romance that’s sweet and flirty –and yes, the characters keep all their clothes on — yet leaves you thinking long after you reach the end, this one’s for you! Rachael Anderson is a new author to me, but I plan to remedy that. 🙂
TO PONDER: How often do I give up rather than expending a little more time and effort to get to know someone? What stops me from digging deeper until the pain below the surface is revealed allowing that person to experience freedom and healing?