Review Tour and Giveaway: Built to Last: Elisabeth Grace

Elisabeth Grace
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releases November 16th
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At seventeen, the small town of Saltwater Springs had been everything to Scarlett Devereaux—as had her boyfriend Luke. Never had she imagined she’d have to leave them both behind—until the night that changed everything. A decade after skipping town Scarlett returns to start over in the only place that ever really felt like home. But when nothing goes as planned, she’s forced to turn to Luke for help.

With a drunk for a dad and a mom making pocket change at the local diner, no one ever thought Luke Garrity would amount to anything. After building a successful contracting business he’s proven everyone wrong professionally, but things in his personal life are upside down. Making it the exact wrong time for Scarlett to return to Saltwater Springs.

With a history of devastation and heartbreak between them can Scarlett and Luke make amends, or will secrets from the past threaten the foundation of Scarlett’s new life? Were Luke and Scarlett really built to last?
“I’m glad to see you still enjoy baking.” A small, sad smile formed on his lips.

Luke had been one of the few people in her life aware of her passion. Growing up, the few times she’d shown an interest in baking at home, her mother had shooed her out of the kitchen, insisting it was the staff’s job to prepare the food, not hers.

Luke’s mom had allowed her to use their kitchen to try out different recipes, even sharing some of the ones that had been handed down in his family over the years.

His voice interrupted her reminiscing. “I remember you made me your chocolate brownie cheesecake bars once. Those things were to die for.” He grinned at her and laughed. The memory seemed to have warmed him up to her. Gone was the chilly reception she’d received when he first arrived.

Scarlett remembered that day. They’d been playing house over at his mom’s while she was working at the diner, and who knows where his dad had been—off on a bender, more than likely. Luke had almost finished the entire plate on his own. At one point, he’d smeared some of the batter on her nose and she’d returned the favor. In the end, they’d found themselves undressing on the kitchen floor, pawing at one another until they’d made love right there, surrounded by baking sheets and bowls full of batter.

Heat poured into the juncture of her thighs and she pressed them together, hoping to ease the ache. Squeezing her eyes shut, she willed her body’s reaction to Luke to dissipate. She needed his help, and though he seemed like he was trying to put the past behind them, she was certain that if he knew what had happened all those years ago, he wouldn’t be so quick to forgive.

She opened her eyes to find his intense gaze roaming her body. “I also remember what happened afterward.” He dropped his arms to his sides and removed the distance between them in a few strides until he stood in front of her, almost pressed up against her body.

“You do?” She shouldn’t have asked, but a small part of her was thrilled that being with her had made enough of an impression that he could recall it a decade later.

“I remember every detail…of every time we were together.” He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. “Memories are all I’ve had to soothe me for ten damn years,” he said with a note of sadness to his voice, then turned and began measuring the space.

Scarlett was more than familiar with the feeling…and that’s what made this situation so bittersweet.

Scarlett Deveareux has returned to Saltwater Springs, SC to start her own bakery. She finds herself in need of help and it comes in the unlikely form of her former boyfriend, Luke Garrity, who now owns his own construction firm. Unfortunately, she left him ten years ago with no explanation and broke his heart. And Luke is still harboring some anger, and they both have unresolved feelings and secrets.

They find themselves interacting on a daily basis after a decade apart. Their attraction is still there and it only grows stronger the more time they spend together.

Luke is kind, protective charming and loves hard. He is still confused and hurt over their past as he was blindsided when she left. He felt inferior as a younger man, but has worked hard to build a life and take care of those he cares about.

Scarlett was wealthy and controlled when younger. But now she is independent minded, starting over, and trying to follow her dreams. But she is fearful of her secrets getting out, hurting Luke further, and of being gossiped about in the small town. She has her own feelings of inferiority and insecurities. And the reason she left still impacts her present and future.

Luke wants to come in and save the day and help her recover from some recent questionable choices. It is hard to resist his help and their attraction. They have a connection, history, and chemistry. But she is determined to keep her heart out of it because she is fearful that it cannot lead anywhere permanent. What will happen when all of her secrets come out? Will that be the final thing that will make Luke give up on her?

I liked the small town feel and the fun, quirky characters. I could see more stories with some of the side characters like her friends Layla, Shelby, Savannah, local cop Graham and there was even a tease of a mysterious bar owner. Mrs. M was a funny "Old bitty" who delivered some great one liners. I liked getting both points of view.  

I loved Luke even when he did overreact at times. He could be thoughtful, sweet, and swoony, and also had that sexy alpha male vibe. I liked Scarlett too even when she was guarding her heart and I wanted her to spill her truth. She was caring and kind, but also had a lot of worries. They had the potential to be really great together again, but they had some pitfalls to navigate.

This was a sweet second chance story with some heartbreak and pain and secrets, but also joy and hope. I had figured out her big secrets, but there were a couple of things that did surprise me. The epilogue was not what I expected,  but I loved it. 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

Scarlett and Luke had plans for a family, plans for their future, and plans for happiness. Scarlett was the daughter of a respected judge, living a life of privilege. Luke was the son of the town drunk and a waitress, but found peace in his relationship with Scarlett. They were the centers of each other’s worlds, until the night Scarlett had to leave it all behind.

A decade later, Scarlett returns to town with plans to open a bakery. What she doesn’t plan on is running into Luke so soon. Or having all her old feelings brought front and center once again.

I loved Luke. Though he was often quick to react, and didn’t always think through his responses before speaking, I loved what he had made of himself and the loyalty he showed to his family. Watching him with Gabbie was so sweet and made me love him even more.

Scarlett was one of those characters who had to grow on me. I figured out fairly early on what had made her leave so suddenly, and so in my mind she had to prove herself not only to Luke, but to me as a reader as well. She succeeded, but I had a hard time with some of her reasoning behind the 10 year silence.

I liked watching them reconnect. The bakery and his construction was a great fit and great reason for them to have to spend time together and work through the hurt of the past. These two have each been holding on to those hurts for so long without addressing any of the questions, that it was only a matter of time within those shop walls before answers would be given. 

I enjoyed the characters and the small town feeling of Saltwater Springs. The side characters made for some great scenes, particularly the strings Layla pulled in the beginning to ensure Scarlett and Luke ran into each other once again. This was a sweet, fast, second chance love story. Even when I can guess the reasons for the time apart, I am a sucker for a second chance story. This was an easy one to read and fall in love with. 
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Elisabeth Grace 
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USA Today Bestselling author, Elisabeth Grace, has a hot spot for alpha males and a soft spot for happily ever afters. She lives outside of Toronto, Canada with her husband, two small children, and killer cat. Her theory is that Satan himself spawned the white furball. She's almost always eaten a chocolate bar before 10am (don't judge) and I has a mild, but healthy obsession with model David Gandy. ;) 

If you're a lover of romance novels, hot sex in obscure places, alpha males, and a little LOL on the side than you may enjoy her work! 

She LOVES talking with fellow readers about books! If you're the same she encourages you to reach out to her via one of her social media links! 

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