Sweet stories with plenty of heat

The Sweetheart Sisters series by Shirley Jump combines sweet stories with plenty of heat. Set in Rescue Bay, Florida, the "sisters" are a trio of sassy, well-meaning grannies living at the Golden Years Retirement Home who think their mission in life is to play matchmaker for the town of Rescue Bay, all while giving some old-school lessons in love. Add in the elements of an animal rescue facility and numerous subplots, and these stories tug at your heartstrings while making you laugh out loud.

The first book, The Sweetheart Bargain, introduces us to Olivia Linscott, an animal therapist, who escapes snowy Boston for Rescue Bay in an attempt to start fresh and heal from a broken marriage. Her deceased birth mother, who gave her up for adoption the day she was born, has left her an animal shelter and a house - both in need of major renovation. As she settles into her new neighborhood, she meets her next door neighbor, Luke Winslow, who is a grumpy, injured military vet and just happens to be the grandson of one of the Sweetheart Sisters. The couple's first meeting takes place when they find a stray dog wandering their properties who is in even worse shape than the two of them. It is not a pleasant first meeting, to say the least, but the more they are thrown together the sparks begin to fly. When Olivia takes a job at the Golden Years Retirement Home, she meets Luke's grandmother, who senses the undeniable attraction between Luke and Olivia. Once the Sweetheart Sisters get involved, they make it their mission to bring the couple together. Luke and Olivia must overcome many of their own issues, but despite their questionable start, they each come to realize that what they are truly meant to do is rescue each other.

The second installment in the series, The Sweetheart Rules, brings together (for the second time) two flawed yet appealing single parents searching for love. Diana Tuttle and Mike Stark first met in the previous book and their brief relationship ended badly after one night of passion. Diana is a veterinarian who runs the Rescue Bay animal shelter with her newly discovered sister, Olivia, who we met in the first book. She is a single mom struggling to raise her rebellious teenage son. Mike is a sexy Coast Guard Lieutenant whose ex-wife left their two daughters on his doorstep and plunged him into the world of full time parenting. The Sweetheart Rules is an engaging story filled with humor and lots of family drama, and adorable animals of course. Mike and Diana together made an interesting couple because they were both flawed and very human. It was easy to relate to their struggles and get emotionally involved with their issues. The story not only focuses on love between the main couple, but also on family love and parenting. You get caught up in Mike's evolving relationship with his daughters, and Diana's relationship with her troubled son, while they both deal with the appearance of people from their past. And, of course, those Sweetheart Sisters manage to have a hand in bringing it all to a very happy ending.

Shirley Jump is an author who gets you wrapped up in her characters. She takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride and her characters grow, learn, and compromise, and before long they manage to work their way back to happiness. Fans of Jill Shalvis or Kristan Higgins should try this author.


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