She planned on falling in love. Just not with him!
Emma Everhart’s life is going according to plan. Finish nursing school with flying colours? Check. Get a great job in the ER? Check. Marry a handsome doctor and have two babies, three years apart? Not quite yet. But with a dreamy new doctor joining the hospital staff, she’s so close she can almost taste the wedding cake. Now is not the time to let the tall, dark and flirtatious paramedic Charlie Fletcher distract her! He may be the best date and best kiss she’s ever had, but he’s definitely not part of her plan. No matter how he makes her feel.
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The Better Man
, which is the beginning of the new Chicago Sisters Series, is set in the busy city of Chicago, but is full of family, friendship, and love. It’s also from the clean romance Heartwarming line of books from Harlequin.
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The Better Man is the first book in the Chicago Sisters Series, which introduces us to the three Everhart sisters, Lucy, Kendall, and Emma. All three sisters live in the Lincoln Park area, and even though the story has a big city backdrop, the focus is still on family and community. These sisters always have one another’s backs, even though they couldn’t be any different…
In The Better Man, the heroine of the story is an interior designer. This profession was born out of my love of all things HGTV, of course. I think I can lose whole days to that channel. I love all the shows about surprise makeovers and house flippings, but my favorite is Property Brothers…
Kendall Montgomery is the middle sister and the heroine of The Better Man. Her sisters are always there for her, even if they drive her a little crazy sometimes…. Despite their different views on life, Lucy and Emma never fail to support their sister through the toughest times of her life…
Kendall is facing reality now. She’s a very talented and gifted designer and artist and is now able to use those abilities to make a living. Based off of her life experiences and relationships, she’s a little gun-shy, with good reason. I loved watching her evolve. Being a mother isn’t easy and doing what’s best for your kids isn’t always easy, either, but, as Kendall learns, the hard things are often the most rewarding.
Today I thought I would introduce you to Max, the hero. In my mind, Max always looked like and had similar personality traits as the character Ryan Gosling played in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. Easy on the eyes, charisma and charm, and let’s not forget great fashion sense. Max is always well put together and did I mention he often has a five o’clock shadow? I love a guy with a little scruff!..
This story is so sweet! I love the characters, and can’t wait to read more books about Kendall’s sisters. Amy has definitely become one of my new favorite authors!
The hero in The Better Man is new to Chicago. Max has recently moved there from Los Angeles. To help a guy out, I thought I would suggest a few romantic spots in the Windy City that he or anyone here for a visit might want to consider…
“Trevor’s been gone just over a year,” she said wearily. The anniversary of his death had led to Simon’s regression. It seemed every time Kendall thought they were making some good progress, something would set him back. She was not going to give her son another reason to worry. “Simon does not need to see me running around with men on dates. He needs me home. He needs to know I’m not ever going to leave him.”
His father had left. His father had left them both.
“Avoiding a date here and there isn’t going to make him better.”
“Nana!” Simon burst into the foyer, his drawing clenched in his hand. “You won’t believe it! You’ll never believe who we saw today!”
Kendall gave her mother an apologetic grimace, but Nana was too startled by Simon’s verbosity to notice. “Who? Who did you see?” she asked, crouching down to his level. He handed her the picture he’d drawn.
“My dad! We saw my dad right down the street!”
In the story, a young widow and mother is hired to remodel a restaurant managed by a man who happens to look exactly like her dead husband. It’s a messy romance but one that I hope wins your hearts…
And the twist. Which I refuse to ruin for you. But let me just say, Amy. Well flipping done, my friend. Because you know I love stuff like this. And the way you wove this tale, and took me along for the ride, quite willingly, I might add . . . and revealed everything just the way it was supposed to be revealed, at the exact time it needed to be revealed . . . made me smile so big. I just love the way my heart was happy for (almost) everyone, in the end.
He mirrored her movement to keep her from escaping and put a hand on her arm when she tried once more to move around him. It was the first time he’d touched her since their disastrous introduction. Kendall couldn’t stop the déjà vu that it prompted. The last time she saw Trevor alive, she’d been storming away and he’d tried to stop her. The memory jolted through her like an electrical shock.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Max said firmly. “I will be here. Every day. Whether you want me here or not.”
The relationship between Max and Kendall grows slowly and as it does, we learn more back history about them both. The unfolding process was well written. Max and Kendall struggle separately and they struggle together. Of course, my favorite bits are when they support each other.
The three of them got busy painting and embellishing the costume. Their collective laughter created a lightness Kendall hadn’t felt in a long time. Seeing Simon act like a normal six-year-old freed her from the year’s worth of guilt and worry she’d been carrying around. This wasn’t like having Trevor around. It was better.
There are a couple of things about the book that truly stand out as dynamic stylistic characteristics. For one thing, the author switched back and forth between the man’s and women’s perspective. Not all authors have the knack for doing that, but this author does. I also appreciate the fact that the author introduces a child who is grieving the death of his father in a unique way. I found that to be a realistic element that will connect with others who have been in that position.
I love books like this that grip you and you don’t want to put them down! (This was a book that did that.) The Better Man seemed to have a different storyline than any other book that I have ever read. It was extremely refreshing to read totally new content.
First time ever reading from this author and was completely impressed. Her work is well written and easy to follow. This particular storyline is heart grabbing.
I am enjoying this story. Two separate people, each with a child with a need to be parented.
The hard obstacle to overcome is that Max look like Kendall’s deceased husband, It lends a unique situation to the story…
“Winner!” Max jumped her last checker and threw his hands up in the air, victorious. “I’m pretty sure you cheated,” Kendall mumbled.
“Don’t be a sore loser.”
“I’m not, but I was killing you. Your massive comeback is fishy, admit it.”
Max’s mouth dropped open. “That is a lie. There was nothing fishy about my comeback. You opened up that side for my guy to get through!”
“Are you going to give Max kisses because he won?” Simon asked, completely putting an end to their playful argument.
“It’s better that you rip the Max Band-Aid off now rather than later,” Lucy said while they cooked. “Simon will get over it. So will you. It’s always better to be the one who walked away instead of the one left behind.”
“Which one were you again?” Kendall asked, recognizing that Lucy’s guard was down.
“Ha-ha. I’ve been both. At the same time,” she added. “Now, stop making this about me.”
At the heart of the story is Kendall and Simon, a mother and son who are both still grieving the loss of their husband/father. Kendall struggles with how to help ease her son’s anxiety after his father’s death. Feeling helpless is something to which all parents can relate. Kendall is sensitive to her son’s needs and has to find a way to balance what he wants with what he needs. It’s not always so easy to distinguish between the two…
I really enjoyed this story, it had some really sad and some really happy moments. The characters where what made this book shine, they all had a past, personality and motives, even the side characters. This book has a fun and quirky cast of characters and I enjoyed seeing them interact with each other.
The Better Man was quite an original story and one I haven’t read before in this genre. The leading man looks almost exactly like the heroine’s dead husband and this causes all sort of issues because they have to work together. Sparks definitely fly, both good and bad, but the author kept a great balance between heavier issues (such as Kendall’s son who has become mostly mute as a way to deal with his father’s death), humor, and then those sweet romantic moments.