Review: “Crossing Hearts” by Kimberly Kincaid

Series: Cross Creek, #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: August 3rd, 2021 (Re-release)

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Slow, Southern second chances never burned so hot…

Nothing wrecks Hunter Cross’s composure.
Not working his family’s farm from sunup to sundown.
Not busting up his shoulder on the job.
Not even coming face-to-face with the high school sweetheart
who abandoned their small town—and him—twelve years ago.
Despite the fact that she’s as gorgeous and guarded as ever,
he’ll let Emerson patch him up, good as new,
so he can get back to business.
Nice and easy.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets.
No way is she going to tell anyone why she left
her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team
to come back to Millhaven.
Especially not sexy, steady, still-pissed Hunter.
Except then she spends time with him.
Starts to trust him.
Definitely remembers why she fell for him.

But will her recent diagnosis of MS
keep her world upside down?
Or will she discover that second chances
really are sweeter…

 

This is my second Kimberly Kincaid book, but the one thing that I’m sure of after reading only two is that no matter what sub-genre she writes in, Kimberly has an incredible talent for creating brilliant characters that captivate you from the first page.

Crossing Hearts is a second chance romance featuring two stubborn, broken people coming to terms with their lives and their love for each other as they navigate the pain and struggles that come with health complications. Set in a small town, the book follows Hunter Cross who is one of three brothers working at the Cross Creek ranch – yup, Hunter is from a long line of cowboys – and after a shoulder dislocation that is similar to one that he suffered in high school while playing football, Hunter is thrust into the capable hands of the only woman he has ever loved. Emerson Montgomery left their small town in hopes of following her dreams and getting away from her parents, and left a heartbroken Hunter behind in the process. And after working with a professional football team and making a name for herself, Emerson’s life is tumbling out of control following an MS diagnosis. So she comes home and takes on the job as the physical therapist with the local doctor, forgetting that running into the one man that still owns her heart could show up at any minute.

I absolutely adored this book and I loved that even though their feelings for each other are pretty clear and intense, they’re maintaining boundaries. Yes, it takes them both a long time to come to terms with being around each other and all the things that defined them as teenagers, but as adults and as people with better control over their emotions, Hunter and Emerson work through their issues differently. I really enjoyed their PT sessions, because there was just so much sexual tension and so much pent up frustration, but neither of them were acknowledging it. Being around each other also brings up all the questions about how much their lives would be different if they’d made it work and she’d stuck around.

Emerson and Hunter have all this history that makes it hard for them to lie to each other, because they always know what’s going on and they can read each other really well. One of the things that I loved about their relationship was that even though Hunter was heartbroken and miserable after Emerson left, seeing her again doesn’t cause him to go on a rage or drinking binge. Their relationship is mature and adult and even if it causes him pain, he trusts her to get him back into fighting shape, so he uses that as his focus point. I’m a big fan of mature relationships in romance, because it shows you how things should be instead of the easy way out of yelling and shouting and making a bigger mess of things.

And their relationship is so great. I love that neither of them pushed the other and even though they wanted things to become more, they took their time getting to that point. I appreciated how much work went into earning trust and love. And that first kiss after their reconnect might have been the hottest thing ever. When you’re coming back together, the sexual tension is already there, but it’s everything else that really amps up the relationship and makes it better.

I always worry that when a character has a debilitating disease or disability, the story can take a difficult turn where the characters make difficult and ridiculous choices. But that’s not the case with Hunter and Emerson once she tells him about her MS. He might be slightly overbearing, but it’s clear that their relationship has always been about them looking after each other and all Hunter wants is for Emerson to get better and not lose her again. She’s stubborn, not wanting pity and sympathy, but Hunter’s support is anything but – he’s caring and patient, he listens and applies, he does everything she wants and fights when she’s being a little more than difficult. But all in all, that element brought so much more to the story.

Of course, there are more Cross brothers and that means a lot of tension, bickering and heckling. The relationship that the three of them have is a pretty big part of the book, which makes you really curious about what happens with the others in the romance department. I loved that we got equal amounts of brotherly and familial stuff and romance, rounding out this book perfectly. 

Crossing Hearts was originally released in 2017, but has been re-released this year with a few updates, but the story stays the same. It’s a fast-paced, heart wrenching romance about finding love with the person you love even when things aren’t the way you hoped they would be. It’s about giving love and yourself another chance to experience the best things in life.

Thanks to Kimberly Kincaid and Wildfire Marketing Solutions for providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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