~**~ Blog Tour for Lovers at Heart, Reimagined (Love In Bloom: The Bradens) by Melissa Foster w/ Excerpt, Review & Giveaway ~**~
Treat Braden and Max Armstrong's love story is the beginning of my beloved Braden series and introduces you to some of my favorite characters, and to a family that has become so real to me, they're always by my side. If you are already a fan of the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection, you may have read Treat and Max's original story, Lovers at Heart. For the past several years, I have had the nagging feeling that there was more to Treat and Max's story than I had originally thought. One of the greatest things about being a writer is the ability to reimagine worlds and create new stories. I wanted to give Treat and Max a more mature story without losing the essence of who they are. This is Treat and Max's story, reimagined, and I hope you love it as much as I do.
In LOVERS AT HEART, REIMAGINED…
When Maxine “Max” Armstrong walked into resort owner Treat Braden’s life, he saw right through the efficient and capable facade she wore like a shield, to the sweet, sensual woman who lay beneath. She sparked an unfamiliar desire in him for more than a one-night stand. But one mistake caused her to turn away, and now, after weeks of longing for the one woman he cannot have, he’s going home to try to forget her altogether.
Max Armstrong has a successful career, lives a comfortable lifestyle, and she’s never needed a man to help her find her way—until Treat Braden caught her attention at a wedding in Nassau, causing a surge of emotions too strong to deny. After spending one magnificent evening together, something happens that is too reminiscent of the painful past she’s spent years trying to forget. Max will do anything to avoid reliving that pain—including forgoing her toe-curling, heart-pounding desire for Treat.
When a chance encounter turns into a night of intense passion and honesty, Treat will do everything within his power to win Max’s heart forever—and Max is forced to face her hurtful past for the man she cannot help but love.
Within the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection you'll find fiercely loyal heroes and smart, empowered women on their search for true love. They're flawed, funny, and easy to relate to. Characters from each series appear in future Love in Bloom books. All Love in Bloom books may be read as stand-alone novels or as part of the larger series.
Release Date: October 10th, 2018
When he pulled his shirt over his head, her breath rushed from her lungs. She’d seen his perfectly sculpted physique enough times that she shouldn’t still react to it like that, but her love for him continued to grow, and she had a feeling her reactions to him would, too. Her grandmother once told her that she would know she was in love because she’d be able to imagine loving the person no matter what they looked like. As Treat stripped off his pants, she imagined him gray and potbellied, and her heart still adored him. She took that further, imagining an even harder thing to think about. What if he was hurt in an accident? If he lost a limb or was disfigured? As he lowered himself to the blanket wearing only his boxer briefs, she knew her love for him was soul deep, and nothing could change that.
He patted the space beside him. “Sit with me.”
“This might be more dangerous than I had anticipated.” She was only half teasing. Did he really expect her to touch him without wanting to devour him?
He opened his hand, revealing a small bottle of oil.
“You just happen to keep this in the secret closet with the blanket? How much do you pay your friends to say that you don’t bring women up here?”
He tickled her ribs, causing her to squeal. “I don’t lie, sweetness.”
“I was kidding!”
“Good, because I want to be sure you know you can trust me on every level. I’ve never had anyone but Savannah here with me, and I slept on the couch, which is why the blanket is down here. She left the oil here.”
Kneeling by his side, she couldn’t help teasing him. “I’m supposed to buy the old only my sister routine?”
In the next second, Treat was on his feet and heading for the kitchen, where he retrieved his phone. He pushed a button and, a few seconds later, said, “Hey, Vanny. Hold on a sec.”
Max jumped up. “Oh my gosh. No! You know I was kidding!” Mortified didn’t begin to describe the embarrassment she felt.
He lowered his voice and said, “I’ll never have anything to hide from you, and I want you to know it and believe it.”
“I know I can. I was teasing!” she said in a loud whisper.
He put Savannah on speakerphone and said, “Vanny, say hi to Max. I’ve got you on speakerphone.”
“Hey, girl! I had no idea you were going to the Cape!”
Max was surprised by Savannah’s enthusiasm. “I wanted to surprise Treat.”
“Aw, that’s so romantic,” Savannah said happily.
“Hey, Vanny, I found your Apricot Kernel Oil.” Treat grinned, twisting the bottle between his index finger and thumb.
Max covered her face. This cannot really be happening.
“Oh, good. It’s great for aromatherapy. You guys should use it. It’s awesome, and it won’t leave your skin oily.”
Treat blew a kiss to Max and said, “I’m sure we’ll put it to good use.” He took Max’s hand, leading her back to the blanket, and lowered himself to the floor with another victorious smile.
“Was that all you needed?” Savannah asked. “I gotta run. I’m with Connor.”
“I just wanted you to know I had it.”
Max tried to dodge the mortification bullet as he set his phone aside.
“You can ask me anything, Max. I’ll always give you an honest answer, and I’ll never blame you for not believing me, because I know people lie and you’ve been hurt.”
“I was honestly only teasing you. You didn’t have to call her.”
“I knew you were teasing, but I also know you’ve been cheated on and lied to. I’m not taking any chances.” He kissed her tenderly. Then he flipped onto his stomach and stretched out. “Now that that’s out of the way, I believe you wanted to do me?”
“You believe that, do you?” She dripped oil onto his back and began kneading it into his muscles.
“How do you know I didn’t have this preplanned with Savannah?”
Max’s hands stopped moving as she considered his tease. She cracked a smile and said, “Because she’d never go along with it. She likes me.”
“How about because I like you, and I’d never go along with it?”
Swoon! She bent down and kissed his cheek. “That works, too.”
Have you ever read a book that, when everything was said and done, you can honestly say you enjoyed even though there were some things that happened in it that had you going ‘Really? Seriously???’ and had you arguing with that little voice in your head over the rating which makes it difficult to get the words for a review out?
Well, THIS is that book for me. Overall, I really did enjoy this story. I got sucked in to the MC’s journey and NEEDED to see how they worked out all of the issues they were dealing with. It was sweet, smexy and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, but I gotta be honest and say that there were some things that had me doing the rapid eye blinking in disbelief thing which then led to the rolling of the eyes thing.
Treat and Max are both sweet, hard working and just all around good people with good hearts. But both of those hearts have been battered and bruised by past events and they are carrying the weight of those events around them like bullet proof armor which has kept them from living their best lives. I really liked both Treat and Max, and I empathized with all that they had gone through in their lives, but I won’t deny that I liked them a lot more once they decided to truly do something about the demons that plagued them.
As for their journey to their HEA...this is where things got a little murky for me. I have no issue with insta-love, I don’t and I love when one or both of the parties involved are all about communication and being as absolutely honest as they can be, I really do. I love it when adults act like adults and for the most part Treat and Max do act like adults. But there were times when the honesty was a bit OTT for me and didn’t give me the swoony twitterpatted feelings they should have. I hate to admit that, but when I have a “really” moment I can’t just ignore it. Outside of that. Treat and Max are cute together and I liked them together once they worked through their issues.
Now, for the whole ‘Reimagined’ situation. I have not read Treat and Max’s original story, I have it, but there are just not enough hours in my day, so I did the most rational thing and went and read the reviews for it on GR and made sure to read not only the positive ones, but the not so positive ones, and feel it’s safe to say that the Treat and Max in the Reimagined version are more mature than they were in the original.
This was a difficult review to get the words down, but sometimes it happens. But regardless of my issues, the writing was engaging and I definitely enjoyed meeting the Braden clan, all of whom have some issues they need to work through and had me wanting to reach out and Gibbs smack some sense into them, but also had me wanting to know more about all of them, so I’ll be add the rest of the Braden family’s books to the TBR and will hopefully get to them sooner, rather than later.
~ Copy provided via the author & voluntarily reviewed ~
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.