ONE SUMMER - JoAnn Ross
A Shelter Bay Novel, Book 2
Shelter Bay, Oregon - The Present
Former Marine photojournalist Gabriel St. James does a Marine buddy a favor and takes his wedding photos, the last thing Gabriel wants to do. Gabriel's war photography won him a Pulitzer Prize, and now he is touring the United States taking photographs for another book. Still suffering from nightmares caused by PTSD, he has no family except the fellow Marines in his unit for whom he will do anything…thus the wedding photography. He doesn't believe in romantic love, nor does he want it, yet he sees this emotion in Cole’s and his bride's faces. His job is interrupted by a woman who comments on his work. She leaves a lasting impression, but self-contained Gabriel doesn't follow up until on his way out of town when he sees a dog thrown from a van. The woman said she was a vet; the dog needs help, and he needs a place to leave it.
With good reason Charity Tiernan walked out on her wedding at the very last minute (guests were in the church pews) and left for Oregon where she opened up a vet clinic and no-kill animal shelter. Celibate since her non-wedding, Charity is more interested in finding abandoned animals new homes. After her mother's multi-marriage example, and her own abortive wedding, she doesn't believe in lasting love. Gabriel offers her a short term affair, all sex, no ties, no regrets.
Both Gabriel and Charity are marvelous characters readers will love. Their anti long relationship attitudes are totally believable, but their good natures are also apparent despite their wariness of so-called everlasting love. Charity's mother Amanda, who is in another marriage crisis, shows up to complicate the situation, as do two foster children, Johnny and Angel. A long-time Shelter Bay family, the Douchetts, take part, as do Sheriff Kara Conway and Sax Douchett from the previous Shelter Bay novel, THE HOMECOMING. To add to the mix, a couple of personable pooches add some moving moments. While it is a foregone conclusion that Charity with her open heart and Gabriel with his closed heart are made for each other, readers won't be able to stop turning pages to find how everything weaves together in this bumpy-road-to-love story.