Review: Mixing Temptation by Sara Jane Stone (Second Shot #3)

Note: This ARC was provided by Avon Impulse in exchange for an honest review.

Mixing Temptation is the latest full-length novel in Sara Jane Stone's Second Shot series and this is the one that I've been waiting for ever since main characters Josh Summers and Caroline Andrews were introduced in the first full-length story, Serving Trouble. Theirs has been a unique non-relationship--though I don't like calling it that since their friendship actually is a relationship--one that had Josh slowly but surely earning Caroline's trust (to a certain degree) and Caroline learning to let her guard down with him, one step at a time. She's been on the run from the moment she entered the series and he's been trying to win her over with his baked creations for nearly as long. Now, we get their much-anticipated love story, but then it's one that's been playing out since the beginning, albeit mostly in the periphery of everyone else's romance. The author's note about Caroline's story not even being part of her original plan had me so thankful that she decided Caroline and Josh deserved to have their love story told and what a story it was!

It's been about fourteen months since Josh Summers encountered Caroline Andrews in the outskirts of Forever, Oregon. He's been wooing her with whatever he's whipped up in his family's farmhouse kitchen on a regular basis, not wanting to push too much or too far. When he asks her to be his date at the wedding of their close friends, she turns him down. Josh takes it in stride, but steps in when the chief of police, who just happens to be the bride's father, greets them. Josh can sense that Caroline is afraid of getting caught, so he pretends to be at the wedding with her as his date. He then decides to take his chances and asks her out so that they can give actual dating a try. She finally agrees, taking things at a slower pace but also taking more chances than before. But just when it looks like their non-relationship is on its way to an honest-to-goodness relationship, an old friend of Caroline and Josh's circle of friends in Forever requires help. Helping is the right thing to do, but it could cost Caroline her freedom and Josh the woman he loves.

The evolution of Caroline is one of my favorite things about this series as a whole, and to see how far she's come from the distrusting, prickly woman she once was to who she is by the time this book ends was heartwarming and quite inspiring. She went from victim to survivor to a woman willing to move forward and live the life she deserves with the man she's fallen in love with and the friends she considers family. And what can I say about Josh? Goodness, someone should hand the man a medal for his patience and perseverance. But Caroline was a woman that was worth waiting for and when she and Josh finally got around to doing something about more than year of pent-up feelings and desires, it was a beautiful thing. It was interesting to note that while I was reading their story, Josh's siblings were around often, and I figured out that their stories were part of the author's Independence Falls series, so that bumps that up my to-be-read list. Mixing Temptation was a story about love, trust, and doing the right thing. Five stars. ♥


Read my reviews for the Second Shot series:

Running Wild (prequel novella) - five stars - My Review

Serving Trouble (book one) - 4.5 stars - My Review

Stirring Attraction (book two) - five stars - My Review

Mixing Temptation (book three) - five stars - My Review (posted above)


Date Read: 15 September 2016

Learn more about Sara Jane Stone.

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