In Where the Heart Is by Darcy Burke, Chloe has packed up and moved across the country to Ribbon Ridge, Oregon. She is looking for a fresh start and happiness. Unfortunately almost immediately her rental home burns to the ground with her belongings in it...and Chloe doesn't know what to do, but she is definitely not turning tail and heading back to where she came from. While watching her home burn, she meets a sexy fire fighter - Derek - who despite the circumstances, catches her attention immediately. First he comes to a kitten's rescue, then he comes to Chloe's rescue by helping her find a place to stay. There is an immediate connection between Chloe and Derek, and they quickly progress to a hot and heavy romance. When Derek turns out to be much more than the fire fighter/bartender, Chloe will need to decide if she wants to take the chance. She is brave enough to take that leap.
Chloe could not be happier in Ribbon Ridge...especially when Derek rents her his house. But that could end up being their downfall because Derek has so much secrecy and sorrow within himself, a past he's never had closure on, that he soon is doubting everything about his and Chloe's relationship. Whereas Chloe is open, Derek is closed...he keeps a big part of himself from not only Chloe, but the Archer family, his second family. Instead of dealing with the past, Derek wants to avoid it, even if it means losing Chloe...no matter how much it all hurts. Will Derek risk losing the woman of his dreams? Or can he finally open himself up and start healing with Chloe at his side, or will it be too late?
Where the Heart is was a quick, fast paced, steamy novella that was the perfect length for Derek and Chloe's story. I really enjoyed Chloe, it was easy to feel a connection to her. She is courageous, fun, loving, and very patient and understanding with Derek. Derek has a big heart, but he is so afraid to take some risks. I felt for him and what he went through, even if he was frustrating at times!
Darcy writes an intriguing romance in Where the Heart Is. I loved the big family of the Archer's, they really helped make the story! I also loved the small town setting...Darcy wrote about it perfectly so that you will feel it's a place you'd love to visit. There are lots of great secondary characters in the Archer family who I'm sure we'll see more of in future stories from Ribbon Ridge. Even though it's set around Christmas time, I think Where the Heart Is and the story it tells is a good read for any time of year!
I'd recommend this to any romance reader looking for a spicy quick read with some angst to get through!