Have you read THE HOUSE ON MAIN STREET by Shirlee McCoy?

The House on Main Street
Purchase Link
Just a heads up that this review isn’t for an inspy romance, even though it was written by Shirlee McCoy, one of my favorite Love Inspired Suspense authors. The House on Main Street is her first contemporary romance with Kensington Books.

About the book~
In Apple Valley, Washington, friends are always near, neighbors have no secrets—even if they’d like to—and long-held wishes have a way of coming true…
Interior designer Tessa McKenzie has built a good life far from her Washington hometown. She intends to get back to it—as soon as she sells the cluttered Victorian house and antiques shop she inherited from her sister, Emily. But leaving Apple Valley a second time won’t be so easy. There’s her grieving nephew, Alex, to consider. And there’s Sheriff Cade Cunningham, the adolescent crush who could easily break her heart again if she let him.
To Cade, Tessa was simply his high school sweetheart’s kid sister. But now there’s no denying she’s a beautiful and caring grown woman, one he’d like to get to know. Except that Tessa is determined to leave again. If Cade wants to change her mind, he’ll have to show her that small-town life has its lovable side—and that he does too. Most of all, he’ll have to convince Tess they’re good together, and that every step has led her right where she was always meant to be…

Sharing my thoughts~
Tessa’s secret crush on Cade led her to bolt for the East Coast when Cade announced he was marrying her sister. Although that marriage never materialized, Tessa stuck it out in Annapolis and created a new life while Cade stayed in Apple Valley and became the sheriff he’d always said he was going to be. Back in town only to clear out the house after her sister’s death, Tessa’s now the guardian of her special needs nephew and a crazy aunt. I liked the quirkiness of all the characters, especially Aunt Gertrude. 

“Perched on a rickety stool a couple of feet away, a cigarette dangling from between her fingers and a Santa hat on her head, she looked like an ancient Christmas elf with an attitude.”

McCoy does a fantastic job creating the setting and small town drama of Apple Valley. I felt as if I trudged beside Tessa and Cade down a snow kissed Main Street. I could hear the hush fall over the tiny chapel as Alex poured out his heart on the piano, and then the sniffles of all the blue-headed ladies. I could even imagine the junky yard that separated Tess from her neighbor’s. Apple Valley seems to grow on Tessa, too.

“People sniffed and sobbed, and Tess was pretty sure someone snapped a photo. No doubt they’d be on the front page of the morning newspaper, but she didn’t mind. In Apple Valley people cared about the little things, the quiet things, the things that were easy to miss if one didn’t look carefully enough.”

Initially, Tessa was angry that her sister had left her another mess to clean up. Tessa worked through the whole range of emotions, from anger to grief, and finally to acceptance of her new family unit. I appreciate how this story prompted me to delve deeper into relationships, specifically within my own family. And why does it take someone dying to make us realize how special they are? To yearn for one more day?

I’m a long-time fan of Shirlee McCoy’s Love Inspired Suspense books, so when I found out she was writing a series for Kensington Books, I was curious about how her writing style would vary. 

I would have enjoyed this book more without the colorful language. I appreciated that it didn’t contain any graphic bedroom scenes and that the “heat” level didn’t require a loss of clothes. Actually, the higher intensity made the characters and the story seem much more realistic to me. 🙂

Overall, if you’re looking for an emotional journey with a satisfying ending, McCoy delivers big time!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of The House on Main Street. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I received no compensation.

What heat level do you prefer in your romance reads?
Do you drop a book because of the foul language?

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Fugitive by Shirlee McCoy ~ Sharing My Review

About the Book~


When she opens her door to a wounded, handcuffed stranger, Laney Jefferson is terrified…until she recognizes her unexpected visitor. Thirteen years ago, Logan Randal was there for her when she desperately needed a friend. Now the wrongfully convicted lawman needs the widow’s help. On the run from the law and guided only by Laney’s unswerving faith in Logan’s innocence, their mutual attraction begins to break down the barriers around Laney’s heart. But the real culprit is much closer than they imagine…a cunning enemy determined to keep the past—and the truth—buried forever.

In my humble opinion~
Sheriff Logan Randal, framed and wrongfully convicted, is on his way to prison when someone ambushes and shoots the guards. Injured and rapidly freezing in a snowstorm, Logan makes his way to a cabin, the killer on his trail. Laney Jefferson, old friend and foster sister, now a widow, intends to wipe her hands of her past, including selling her family’s old house. When Logan arrives at her cabin needing medical attention, Laney refuses his pleas for her to leave. How could she leave him to die when he’d given up so much to protect her years ago

Three people jeopardize their careers and risk their lives to aid Logan, a fugitive from the law, while they track down a killer. I had a little difficulty buying into the plot, but that said, the author did a fabulous job getting me past that initial hesitation. Immediately, McCoy pulls you into the danger, and from the beginning, Logan was actually protecting people, first the injured guard and then Laney, by insisting that she leave. The author did a great job setting up a framework of close friends who believed and trusted in Logan’s innocence that they were willing to help. Every time someone came on board to help, he made sure they knew the risk. Also, since Logan and Laney had a past, initially Laney felt she owed him. 

Obviously, the plot issue wasn’t serious enough to make me stop reading. Just to pause and think about what I’d do if I were in the same situation. Had Logan done for me what he did for Laney (don’t we all wish fictional characters were real-life friends??), I probably would have made the same choice. 

McCoy plops you into the action, pulls your heartstrings to connect you with her characters, and tugs you into their world of danger. I enjoyed hanging out with Logan and Laney for a few hours, hoping they could find peace for their hurting hearts and cheering them on to their happily-ever-after. Fugitive is extremely fast-paced, a book you can probably read in one sitting, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to savor it over a couple nights. Overall, a very enjoyable read.

Fugitive will release on May 7 with Love Inspired Suspense. You can pre-order it here.

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.

This review begs a question. 
Would you be willing to risk your freedom to protect an old friend who deserved your loyalty if you knew they were a fugitive? 

TRACKING JUSTICE by Shirlee McCoy ~ My Review

About the book~
In the night, a young boy goes missing from his bedroom. Police detective Austin Black assures desperate single mother Eva Billows that he’ll find her son. He has to, so he can put to rest his own harrowing memories. With his search-and-rescue bloodhound, Justice, Austin searches every inch of Sagebrush, Texas. And when Eva insists on helping, Austin can’t turn her away. Eva trusts no one, especially police, but this time, Austin-and Justice-won’t let her down. 

In my humble opinion~
Have you ever fallen for a guy who turned out to be a liar and nothing but trouble? Eva Billows did, once, but she doesn’t intend to make that mistake again. Now a single mother, she vows to give Brady a better life, one that doesn’t include a man. Detective Austin Black has his own hangups about relationships after his last breakup and chose to give up dating rather than live with someone’s disappointment over missed birthdays and dinners, but he still longs for a family to come home to. 
When someone kidnaps Brady, Austin and his bloodhound, Justice, are called in to work the case. Fierce and protective as a Mama Bear, Austin can’t help but fall for Eva.

This book is part of a Love Inspired Suspense continuity series called Texas K-9 Unit. I tend to lose interest in continuities, so typically I don’t read them, but I couldn’t resist picking up a Shirlee McCoy book. McCoy crafted a well-constructed plot with characters you feel like you’ve known your entire life. And the romance? Sweet, with just enough conflict to keep you guessing if Eva and Austin will get their happily-ever-after. Clear your evening and curl up on the couch with a strong cup of coffee. You”ll want to read this book straight through to the end. Purchase Link

How do you feel about continuities? 
Do you enjoy reading all of them? Or are you like me and pick out one or two to read?

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense for providing a free copy of Tracking Justice in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.