Cassidy Clarke once climbed the world's highest mountains, but after an unexpected illness ends her career she's back in her hometown, broke and hoping for a little luck. But the townsfolk aren't exactly putting out a welcome mat for the woman who once snubbed them in the media, despite her apologies now.
Mitch Anders knows someone has set up camp on the grounds of his plant nursery, and he's surprised to find his sexy high school crush ducking questions about where she's staying. Though he's sworn to stop cleaning up other people's messes, Mitch offers Cassidy a job and a place to stayhis place. Bed-sharing optional, but definitely welcome.
Out of options and too attracted to Mitch to keep things platonic, Cassidy says yes to his offer. She wants to get back on her feet financially and start a new career. She never expects to suffer a different kind of fall, one that has her believing Mitch just might bring her something bigger and better than luck.
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The steady buzz of conversation and bustle of people walking up and down the wide aisles of Thomas Nurseries ceased when Cassidy Clarke walked through the door.
She stopped after a few steps, waiting for her hair to frizz to ten times its normal size thanks to the shift from the dry, cool October air outside to the humid air inside the greenhouse. To keep from running her hands through it a thousand or so times, she slipped in front of the display of heirloom roses and pretended she couldn't feel the strands swelling fill a helmet.
She also did the I-can't-see-you-or-hear-you thing with the crowd. The same coping mechanism she'd perfected over the last year. She assumed that's what the folks from her hometown wanted since half the customers spoke in pseudowhispers that sounded more like yelling as they talked about her. The other half openly stared. She'd heard people mumble her name with the phrase The Fall right after about ten times now. She could only guess that referred to the end of her career...though it also applied to the complete implosion of her self-esteem.
Ah, it's good to be back.
She didn't really blame them. It was her fault. Well, partly the reporter's fault, but mostly hers. It had been almost three years since the stupid article came out, since she offended every single one of the 941 residents of Holloway, West Virginia. That would teach her to give an interview from Base Camp at Mount Everest. She'd been sitting there, half delirious from exhaustion and still partially frozen from the punishing descent, when she got on the satellite phone and made the not-so-flattering comments about growing up in Holloway. After all this time she still got scolding e-mails from people who'd known her when she was a "nice girl" which she'd been informed, sometimes in very descriptive language, she no longer was.
She drummed her fingers against the wooden table and wondered for the hundredth time why she thought returning home was such a great idea. True, she didn't have a place to stay or money or a climbing career anymore. If she gave herself a second, she could probably work up a pretty good pity party, maybe even crawl under the table and hide. That would give the residents the kind of show they craved. But the whole how-dare-she-show-her-face thing was going to wear thin fast.
She turned, ready to bat away any flying tomatoes that might come flying her way, and stared into a dark gray T-shirt straining against a firm, broad chest. Her gaze wandered up and over an open plaid shirt and a set of impressive shoulders underneath. Then she got to the face and the smile with the sexy cheek dimple.
This guy could throw anything at her and she'd be fine so long as she got to stare at him for a few more seconds. Maybe run her fingers over the dark stubble on his chin and cheeks. He had a five-o'clock shadow at two in the afternoon, and, boy, wasn't that the sexiest thing ever.
Nice to know her girl parts still worked fine even on an unwanted limited-calorie diet. "Yes, may I help you with something?"
"When did you get back into town?"
Figured he'd have one of those deep, husky voices that vibrated right down to her...yeah, she wasn't letting her mind wander there. "Yesterday."
He put his hands on his lean hips. "Are you staying at the house?"
Something thunked in her brain.
His eyebrow lifted. "Cassidy?"
"I'm sorry." Boy, was she sorry. "But do we know each other?"
"We dated in high school."
This time her brain clicked off. When it flickered back to life an error message flashed. "What are you talking about?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By: Helenkay Dimon Published By: Carina Press Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Book Blog For: GMTA Series: Holloway #2 Review: "Lean On Me" by Helenkay Dimon was a good contemporary romance read that was such a fun and very engaging read that once you start it is hard to put down. "Lean on Me" setting was from a small town and there are some humorous antics from all of it like the nicknames events and the people. I found all the characters very relatable. You will be caught up in this well written story about Cassidy and Mitch. Cassidy at one time was the town's sweetheart known as a world-renowned climber until there was something she said that was unfavorable about her hometown and now she has moved back home they have never forgiven her for her remarks. Now, this is where I say that you will have to pick up the good read to find out what happens after Cassidy has to come back home because of her money situation. It seems that people in town have ideas of Cassidy but really no one really knows what happen in all of this. Cassidy has come home after she is not longer able to climb and her business manager has fun off with her money. What is she to do and go? If you are looking for 'a small town contemporary romance series' read then I would recommend "Lean On Me" to you.
This was a great contemporary romance story. Normally when we read about small towns they rally behind all their people, but this one was a little different. Cassidy had made her living by climbing mountains until one day she was no longer able to and her business manager ran off with her money. She was forced to come home to the stepfather, Allan, she adores so much. Only, he wasn’t welcoming her with open arms as she assumed he would. In fact the town wasn’t welcoming her – they were just gossiping about her. All because of a poor interview she gave about her hometown. Cassidy finds herself with no money and no place to stay. Along comes Mitch, one of the Thomas Nurseries employees and former football star from high school. Everyone loves him. However, when Mitch decides to help Cassidy out with a place to stay, there is plenty of gossip to go around. Mitch tries to help Cassidy figure out what is going on with Allan in the meantime. Things aren’t always what they seem or what they sound like when you get your knowledge from the gossip mill. This was a very sweet and romantic read. I enjoyed the fun dialogue, the love between father and daughter and the way a town learns to rally around their own people. I think Mitch and Cassidy had great chemistry and were a perfect match for one another. I simply loved the sacrifice Mitch made for Cassidy at the end of the book. That was so sweet. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great contemporary romance book.
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews. My rating would be a 4, because I like it. HelenKay's website describes the Holloway series as, "A small-town contemporary romance series. The books focus on the men and women of Thomas Nurseries, a landscape company in Holloway, West Virginia, and provide an emotional and sexy story in a novella format." Lean on Me is the second book in the three part series. Even though this is part of a series, it isn't necessary for you to read the first book. Since this is a novella, it consists of roughly 39,000 words and is about 111 pages long. So, it's a pretty quick read. But somehow it's a complete story. Lean on Me focuses on Mitch Anders, Business Manager and co-owner of Thomas Nurseries and Cassidy Clarke, a star Mountain Climber. At one point in time, both were the town of Holloway's (population 941) favorite son/daughter. This is a story of how one can literally go from being on top of the world to bottom of the barrel, where people feel they have a right to judge you, without having a clue as to what's really going on. Lean On Me is different from the other books/novellas in the series, in that it doesn't take place during the Christmas season. I found Lean On Me to be both heartbreaking and touching at the same time. It's romantic and funny. It's about overcoming your insecurities and being strong enough to stand up for yourself. What I didn't like about the book, which is probably what gives the book some of it's charm, is the town gossip mill. I mean really. It's like you cough and the whole town finds out about it in less than half an hour, but instead of you coughing, you're dying of pneumonia. We get reintroduced to Spence Thomas. If you read It's Not Christmas Without You, then you might remember him. Spence is another co-owner of the nursery. His story is told in We'll Be Home for Christmas, coming out this December. But we also get introduced to Travis Yardley, the nursery foreman. Travis was one of my favorite characters and provides a lot of comedy. Since this is a short story, I don't want to give too much away. But I will say, you will LOVE Mitch, who is so full of himself that he tells Cassidy immediately that they're dating. It's more like hi, we're dating. You will also love Cassidy for her strength and courage. She's a survivor in every sense of the word. I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my unbiased review.
My Review: This was a story that I truly enjoyed. It was short enough to be able to read in a single sitting, which was good because I didn't want to put it down. I got completely caught up in the story between Cassidy and Mitch. Cassidy used to be the town's sweetheart as a world-renowned climber. She was their pride and joy, until altitude sickness got her and she was quoted saying some unfavorable things about her hometown. They've never forgiven her. This is a small town and the rumor-mill seems to be more productive than most...usually spouting off incorrect facts at the detriment of Cassidy's reputation, but after losing all her money she has no choice to return home to the step-father she loves. BUT he's hiding secrets too so she's left basically homeless, sneaking into the local nursery to sleep at night. The same nursery where Mitch works. Cassidy has been harshly judged and convicted and you can't help but feel for her. But I also felt a lot of admiration for her as she keeps her head high and remains tough. She's not going to let the town busy-bodies affect her. The one person who does affect her is Mitch. There are a lot of characters in this small book and I loved them all and the way that they interacted with each other. There were some bad assumptions made, but those people were ready to rescind those comments quickly when they found out they were wrong and then stood beside Cassidy...I liked that. I liked all the guys at the nursery and their easy camaraderie. They have both great working relationships and friendships. I hope all those guys get their own story....come on Spencer and Travis. An aside...I didn't realize until I started writing this review that I read Mitch's sister's story in last year's Holiday Kisses Anthology...I loved that story between Carrie (Mitch's sister) and Austin (one of the owners of the nursery). I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.