River Valley – Book 2
“Tag. I found you.”
Just as Annie Bell’s reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.
Author Tess Thompson (formerly known as Tess Hardwick) reunites the colorful cast of endearing small-town characters from her bestselling novel Riversong and takes you on a journey that will renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community – even in the face of seemingly insurmountable grief and fear. You’ll find yourself once again cheering for the residents of River Valley, especially the big-hearted and compassionate Annie Bell.
Escape with a blend of love, laughter, friendship, suspense and gourmet food while remembering it’s never too late for second chances.
Links to order Riverbend: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Riverbend is the second book in Tess Thompson’s The River Valley Collection. Wow !!!! I really would recommend that you read the first book in this series. River Song.
Annie was introduced in the last book, as a frump, dumpy, woman who gets verbally abused by her boyfriend. We get a brief glimpse of her life 10 years in the past, in the beginning of the book……
Annie loved to cook, and had aspirations of becoming a chef in a restaurant, it was all she wanted to do. She fell in love with food, and used it to hide behind, when her mothers boyfriend began to show an unhealthy interest in her. She found a job in a restaurant, and also a young man, who saw past the padding and the shyness. She joined a college course. And took lessons from the chef in the restaurant that she worked in.
She fell in love and moved in with Marco. It felt like all was finally right in her world ……
As soon as Marco had Annie in his control, that was when she saw the REAL Marco. He would start with the little things, until as with most wife beaters, he graduated to his feet and fists.
The turning point for Annie. Realising she was pregnant. She knew she had to get away. So with the money she had hidden from Marco, Annie formed a plan. I don’t want to spoil the plot, you will have to read that part.
We now skip 10 years into the future. And as we know from the first book, Lee asks Annie to cook for the restaurant, RiverSong. (Annie again is in a bad relationship) But with the love and support of her friends, Annie and Alder (her son) adjust to a life they deserve. Two years after RiverSong, we join Annie, she loves the home she has for herself and her son. She loves her work, and adores her friends. But Annie never told anyone about Marco. She thought he was gone. She was wrong.
Drake is a new character (I had thought Tess was going to get Annie and Billy together, so glad she didn’t), who also has secrets. We meet Drake as a recluse, who hires Annie to cook for him, (but only to cook, he wants her beautiful recipes to be frozen weekly, and then shipped to him). He lives on the hill, gossips are curious about the man, as was I. He came across as a right A***ole!! Rude, arrogant, and not a nice man. He thought he could throw money at people, and it would excuse his behaviour. Wrong !! I for one wanted to hit him several times. He had Annie sign a nondisclosure form. And informed her of a strictly no touching policy!
He liked his privacy and would do all he could to preserve it.
The first day Annie is suppose to cook for Drake, she gets a call from Marco; she is totally freaked, he wants revenge and he knows where she is.
Drake isn’t happy that Alder is with Annie, but tolerates him, barely. Things change between Drake and Annie, when he hears about her violent past, and the abuser who is coming for her. (in fact a little too quick, sorry, but that’s just my opinion). He insists on Alder and Annie moving into the house on the hill, with its electric fence and high gate. And so begins the slow romance of Annie and Drake. She is battling with her weight and trust demons. Drake is dealing with his. They truly are two ships that pass in the night, each growing closer to each other, but neither wanting to get their heart stomped on again.
The ending had all the drama that I was expecting, and a few that I wasn’t.
And the final chapter, get those hankies out, your gonna need it. The emotions were all spot on, and I blubbed like a big girl at all the sad parts, (and there are a few). The additional characters in this book, only added to this story. And it was great to read about the old characters from the previous book.
Life hadn’t stopped for RiverSong, it just added another chapter. And RiverBend is great addition. I see there is another book planned, I am totally ready for another story, and I plan to read both these books again and again. If you like your romance slow, but with plenty of emotions, then please give these one a try. Off to find some chocolate, all that emotion was just too much 😉