Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Ash Heartford’s parents have not been the greatest role models. Since he never knew his father and his mother had a bad habit of falling in obsessive love that pushed her men away, he’s been sort of on his own. That was okay until four years ago when his half-sister, Danielle, turned up on his doorstep on the wrong side of Greenvile. Mom had died and Dani had nowhere to go. Ash stepped up, put his life on hold so he could take care of Dani and make sure her future was settled. The fact that Ash is crushing those pennies is beside the point. “He was sick of struggling financially. No matter how hard he worked scrubbing toilets, he was constantly failing Danielle.” Of course, he isn’t failing her at all and he has sacrificed everything for her but he doesn’t see that. He has his cat, Chucky, for company and that’s all he needs as he tries to survive his jobs (yes, multiple) cleaning for other people.
So it is with some trepidation that he receives a letter delivered by the beautiful River. A letter that lets him know he did have family in a grandfather, Lester, who has now unfortunately passed away. He is bequeathing his historic home and book store to Ash, a continuation of a family legacy. Since River was like a grandson to Lester, he has been asked to help Ash out with anything he needs. Everything, that is, except getting involved with him. Ash, according to Lester, is off limits.
Silver Pines is a lovely place and there are some suits from a corporation willing to pay big money for it. River desperately wants Ash to keep it, keep Lester’s legacy, but it’s very difficult when you are literally scratching for pennies to turn down two hundred grand. River has a week to convince Ash the more modest living he will get from Silver Pines is worth it. River is from the rich side of town and has never really understood what it’s like to scrounge. “River had never hated being wealthy. Until now, as Ash dropped on all fours in the obscenely large second kitchen to scrub…”
So River begins to show Ash what the legacy means. Who Lester was. The letters, exchanged by River and Lester through a mailbox inside Silver Pines, were so sweet. The last one especially, that Lester never got to read. How to run Silver Pines and care for it. He shares stories with Ash and they begin to be friends, and maybe more. But Ash keeps it cool because he always remembers that everything River is doing for him, he’s doing because of Lester. River, who never does relationships and keeps it at one-night stands, begins to understand why Lester declared Ash off limits.
Of course, there is the moment that River has his epiphany that causes problems. Not the classic misunderstanding, per se, but something like that. Can they come back from it? Can they even make this work, the rich guy and the poor guy?
Secondary characters here are interesting. Dani is not a spoiled girl and she appreciates all that Ash does for her. When Ash realizes his 16-year-old sister is having sex, the mild attack he has was funny, if bittersweet. Because the Heartfords drive their men off, he’s very afraid that either he or Dani will fall into that same trap. “He’d made it a point to avoid engaging with me. Men and Heartfords didn’t stick. Men were only ever points of obsession.” There is River’s twin brother, Landon, a sweet man who had a week-long fling with a straight (very closeted?) basketball player and is now spending his time in constant pain of unrequited love. Their great friend, Ben, knows that that’s like (and I know where I want the next book, Begging Ben, to go). “I don’t chase after guys who will never return my feelings.” Ahh, Ben.
This was a good start to a new series. There are supposed to be 26 Love Letters, working through the alphabet, so I’m curious to see how that works. I am a fan of Anyta Sunday and I am looking forward to this series continuing.
Cover art by Natasha Snow is simple, colored background with Ash pictured.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published July 29th 2018
Original Title Admiring Ash
Edition Language English
Series Love Letters #1