by Laura Trentham
Series: Cottonbloom #5
Published on January 30, 2018 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever. . .
Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .
Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?
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Although 5th in the Cottonbloom series, When the Stars Come Out follows the sub-arc about the Abbott brothers, picking up after Leave the Night On. I wouldn’t say you need to read the first 3 books in the series to pick this one up but may want to pick up the fourth as it features one of the brothers, Wyatt, and his relationship is fairly prominent in this book.
I enjoyed the previous book but When the Stars Come Out didn’t quite go over as well as I had hoped. Featuring the second of the Abbott twins, Jackson, and the garage’s only employee Willa, this book is heavy on how your past can haunt your future. Jackson is the super broody, protective male figure who has to face emotions (*gasp*) while Willa is constantly on the run and has to learn to face her past and come to terms with where her life is now.
From a novel standpoint, this one’s good. The romance is a bit of a slow burn and there are a lot of elements playing out both in the immediate story as well as the one carrying over from the previous book. But it wasn’t a standout book and I blame the romance.
Willa’s been working in the Abbotts’ garage for 2 years and in all that time, Jackson never noticed her. NEVER. And when it looks like she might leave, suddenly he’s ALL over her?? Hmm. . .
As a couple, I liked the two together. But the fact that he only wanted her when she planned to leave (kind of the whole “don’t know what you have until it’s gone” sort of thing) rubbed me the wrong way because it made me feel like the emotions were a bit superficial. Especially since Willa’s been crushing on him the whole time. Like, yay for happy endings and all but come on. NEVER?
I am curious to see how some of the background stories play out. There’s the subplot of the Abbotts’ garage and their brother Ford causing problems which I see coming up in the next book (as well as maybe Mack Abbott’s story?).
I’ll absolutely read the next in the series as well as any other book by Trentham, if I’m being honest, because the writing’s good. And, really, the stories are good too. For me, it was just that particular part of the romance that really didn’t work for me and kind of brought the rest of the book down in the process. If it’s something that you don’t think would bother you, then definitely don’t hold back and check out this series!