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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?
That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.
When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.
It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.
The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.
Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.
‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance.
This is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series which takes place in the
Green Valley World of the Penny Reid Book Universe.
Moving from California to Green Valley held the promise of a fresh start. Before Grace Buchanan could even get settled, she faced the reality of living in a small town. The reality of moving in the middle of the sticks became a stark reality when Grace found herself broken down on the side of the road. With a car that wasn’t going to budge, Grace quickly discovered that the lack of cell service was just one of the changes that would be a reality in her new life.
Like a true southern gentleman, Tucker Haywood never turns away a damsel in distress. Finding Grace Buchanan on that winding road was going to shake things up in a way Tucker could not predict. The spitfire that accepted an offer of help was intriguing Tucker by the minute. As the two found themselves thrown into the same space, Tucker found himself questioning the choices that he has made with the direction of his own life. Grace brought a hurricane through the center of Tucker’s well-planned life, and Green Valley would never be the same for it.
As Grace found herself pushed into the same circle with Tucker time and time again, she began to wonder how much of this was the Buchanan curse. After all – no one could resist fate. Or could they?
Tucker and Grace give fans of Green Valley an interesting twist on a love curse. When Grace finds her way to the small Tennessee town, Tucker is immediately drawn to her instant DISLIKE for him. With a life that is nothing like he would have planned for himself, Tucker finds himself questioning the choices he has made about his career and romantic aspirations. Both Tucker and Grace find an attraction that is too unique to ignore.
There are quite a bit of giggles at the antics between these two characters. In spite of that humor, there were times where I found the plot falling flat. There was certainly plenty of upheaval in Tucker and Grace’s life to fuel a bit more of the push and pull that you would expect when fighting fate. The Buchannan curse was front and center in this story…..until it wasn’t. After the history of the curse was laid out for the female members of the Buchanan family, the storyline seemed to leave things hanging.
The drama that seemed to follow Tucker and Grace was entertaining, but I find myself wondering what is in store for Grady!! The lovely epilogue that followed this novel has me wondering if the chaos in Grady’s life MIGHT be able to rank up there with Tempest’s story!! Only time will tell!!
When I looked down, her hands were fisted on the countertop, shaking from the effort of keeping them still.
“I’d take a picture of that,” I told her, voice low and charged.
She tilted her chin up toward me. “Of what?”
In the low light of the apartment, her eyes glowed like melted gold.
“Your hands.” I licked my suddenly dry lips. “I feel like they’re telling me something that I can’t figure out.”
Grace peered down at the fists she was making, and her fingers relaxed, the skin no longer white around her knuckles.
“What are they telling me, Grace?” I begged.
She ducked under my arm and I exhaled heavily. Without the heat from her body against mine, I took a second to get myself under control. When I turned, she was handing me her camera.
“Go ahead,” she said.
I tilted my head. “You want me to take your picture?”
Grace studied the camera, carefully removing the lens cap and pulling it up to her eyes. She aimed it at my face, and I wondered what she saw. If I looked like I was one thread away from snapping, because that’s how I felt.
I’d never felt like I was one quick step away from freedom, but here, I was. One nudge over the edge of the cliff, and she’d have me free falling without a parachute. I’d never, ever wanted it so badly.
When I heard the click of the shutter, I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can I see?”
She ignored me, pulling the camera away so she could look at the digital image on the back. Her lips curved in a secret little smile.
“What do you see?” I asked.
Her chest expanded on an inhale. “Frustration.” Her eyes met mine. “Want.”
Words lodged in my chest, and I couldn’t tear them loose.
I held my hand out and she passed the camera to me. With a rough swallow, I squinted at the tiny viewfinder once it was at eye-level. Grace came into my eye line, holding my gaze with such directness that I fought the urge not to throw the camera across the room simply because it was between us.
It was her turn to ask. “What do you see?”
My finger pushed the slick button on top of the camera, and her mouth curled in surprise that I took a shot.
I pushed the button again as she took a step closer.
“You’re not answering me,” she said lightly.
“Because I can hardly think straight when you’re looking at me like that.” My admission was rough and hard, out before I could stop it.
She took another step, within reach now, and one of her hands slid up my forearm.
One more picture, the sound of the shutter snapping between us like a shot.
Somehow, I set it down on the counter without smashing it.
“You can’t lie to a camera,” Grace said quietly, watching her hand on my arm before the other landed on my heaving chest. “It captures things as are they are, good or bad or ugly or beautiful.”
I slid an arm around her waist and tightened my grip until she was flush against me. My other hand pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair.
“This is insane,” she breathed, dropping her forehead onto my chest.
“No, it’s not.”
Grace lifted her head and pinned me in place. “Tucker, seventy-two hours ago, I hated you. You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel a little nuts.”
I couldn’t stop my smile. “You didn’t hate me. Not really.”
One eyebrow lifted. “Wanna bet?”