Note: This ARC was provided by Booktrope via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
And in the inky night with a billion stars above, the time between us began to feel like a dream, like I'd somehow conjured him from the recesses of my heart as dark as the scene before me. Had I stumbled from a dream to this window that felt icy against my fingertips? I touched my lips. They felt bruised, almost bloody, but hungry still for more. More Ciaran. I closed my eyes for a moment, remembering the ways his hands had caressed my body, how he'd whispered, how clearly I'd felt his desire. It was real. Ciaran Lanigan had kissed me, and in those moments I'd changed.
Bliss Heywood is nearly forty but has never really felt the desire to settle down and be in a relationship with someone. Her being unceremoniously fired from her job has Bliss seeing her life in a whole new light and an invitation to spend time with her older sister, soon-to-be brother-in-law, and nieces in Peregrine, Idaho provide her with an opportunity to kick back while trying to come up with a new plan for herself. The appearance of Ciaran Lanigan, the youngest brother of her sister's fiancé, throws an unexpected but not entirely unwelcome kink in her plans. The attraction between them is palpable and both agree to enjoy each other's company over the next few weeks, but the more time spent together, the more Bliss finds herself falling for the man behind the public personality. When Ciaran tells Bliss he his life is in jeopardy but may not be sure if it's all in his head, will she be able to separate fact from fiction before it's too late?
Blue Moon is the second book in author Tess Thompson's Blue Mountain series set in Peregrine, Idaho and is as stellar a read as its predecessor, Blue Midnight, which is one of my top reads for 2015. Here we have the youngest Lanigan son, Ciaran, and the younger of the two Heywood sisters, Bliss, crossing paths while vacationing in Peregrine. The fact that their respective siblings, Kevan and Blythe, are engaged to be married has Bliss wary to act on her attraction toward Ciaran, but it doesn't take much to convince her that being with him while they're both together in the small town isn't necessarily a bad thing. Ciaran opens up to Bliss in a way he hasn't been able to with his own family, and she sees the real person behind the persona. On the other hand, Ciaran helps Bliss have fun, allowing her to enjoy moments that she would never have been able to experience had she still been stuck in her daily grind with all work and no play.
The story is about Bliss discovering a part of herself that she's kept under wraps for far too long, focused solely on being successful and trying to separate herself from her parentage. Her professional life may have been something that would have made other executive envious, but her personal life left a lot to be desired, and it is her journey of re-connecting with the true and authentic Bliss that makes this an inspiring story. Her reaching out to the homeless Sam and his three-legged dog Sweetheart, as well as establishing a friendship with her driver Henry, were moments that touched me and showcased that it's never too late to tap into what makes us human. Like the book before it, this was a tale about love and family and coming back to the person that we truly are beneath everything else that we think labels us as a success or failure. When we look back on our lives, it isn't about the money we've made, but about the lives we've touched.
There's also a fair bit of mystery and suspense in the story itself, what with Ciaran feeling as if he's spent year after year dodging death. Figuring out if it's all in his head or if the attempts on his life are real is one thing, but trying to also see who the potential suspects are at the same adds to the overall reading experience. With two lead characters that are much more than they appear to be to the people around them and writing that has you fully absorbed in everything that's going on, Tess Thompson definitely doesn't disappoint with this second in a series. Even without the two other Lanigan siblings--Ardan and Teagan--in this story, my curiosity about them was still high, as are my expectations with regard to their books because the author has spoiled me with her exemplary storytelling and character building. Blue Moon joins Blue Midnight as a 2015 favorite and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Five-plus stars. ♥
Release Date: 08 August 2015