I've been a Donna Alward fan for a while now, but when I saw the plot summary of the first book in her new series, Somebody Like You, I hesitated. Plots like this never work, but I took a chance and I wasn't disappointed.
Here's the summary, from Amazon:
A kiss to last a lifetime
Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge―local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love―as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.
Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale―and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden―and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?
See? Cheesy, right? I mean come on, how is that even logical unless they grew up to be a couple? Of course Laurel refuses and who could blame her?
Laurel has recently come off a shocking divorce. Her faith in love and men and in her future are completely smashed. She's gone back home to heal and start over and is the subject of a good bit of gossip. She's prickly and hurt and yet still can't put herself first. She's so conscious of appearances and of never hurting another person that she puts herself in situations that destroy her. She has a history with Aiden, and not just the kiss on the bridge as children. She knows people are talking, plus she's mad about how that ended. And honestly, she's justified in all of it.
Aiden tho, he's the best. He screwed up in high school, but he admits it, and boy did he grow up nice. He's a small town cop with the desire to really help people. He's smart and caring and a bit of a prankster with his brother, and he really really loves Laurel. He clearly always has.
There's a little bit of outside drama here, enough to make the plot interesting, but the main conflict is within Laurel herself. Aiden never questions what he feels, even though he's outright terrified. The scene at the end is so adorable (and unrealistic) and if I weren't already half in love with him, this would have done it for me. This isn't perfect, but it's sweet and romantic and before I even turned off my Kindle I was back at NetGalley requesting the next in the series. The book as a whole won't go down in my top ten of all time, but Aiden's emotion in the final scenes will, and I suspect I'll go back to reread that part more than once.