There’s nothing better then to be able to return to Riley Hart’s fictional North Carolina setting of Briar County, where we’ve gotten to know the various townships and citizens that makeup this warm-hearted series.
The Creek sets down a familiar theme with a hometown son returning after a decade or so absence.
Hart’s storyline of second chance love combined with this richly layered foundation of found family and warm-hearted tapestry of a diverse community is a wonderful novel to sink into.
There’s so much to appreciate and love here. The characters are well crafted, defined by their past histories and experiences as well as their personalities.
A major standout in terms of storylines? One that’s rarely seen among contemporary romance novels is that Hart doesn’t take sides when narratively exploring the broken relationships between divorced fathers August, his ex Lewis (not a MC), and their teenage son, Reese, who’s having enormous emotional issues dealing with all the upheaval in his life. No one dimensional ex hatred or simplistic dumping.
No. Here, Reese’s pain and adjustment problems are naturally made a big theme of August’s return to Harmony. Reese’s slow integration into the community with the help of the “found family “ members we’ve come to love and care about is remarkable in its believability and realistic elements. His fears of abandonment, the discussions that he finally understands how to bring up about himself, his fears, heartbreaking and grounded in RL.
Cliff Jones, the welder/artist, who’s never forgotten his first kiss and the boy who gave it to him, is a sheer joy to encounter. No drama, just a warmth of discovery, and understanding about where his future lies in the man and his teenage son who’s returned.
August and Reese, their deeply heartfelt relationship is real and emotional. Reese, who is seeing a therapist to try and help him understand his feelings, is so well written that you will believe you know him. Well.
The drama, such as it is, occurs much as it would in real life. The arguments are the same. The outcome lovely.
There’s so much here to connect with and take into your heart. It all begins with the road into Briar County.
If you’re not familiar with this incredible lovely series, I’ve listed them below. And I highly recommend them all, including this one.
Briar County series to date:
✓ Firefly Lane #1
✓ Sundae’s Best #2
✓ The Creek #3
Divorced for two years, August Reynolds needs a change. He and his teenage son, Reese, pack up and move to Briar County, the home August left at fourteen. He’s hoping it’ll help him and Reese connect again, that Reese will come into his own there the way August did. For him, it was all because of Clint Jones, his childhood best friend and first crush.
At forty-two, Clint figures he’s probably never going to find the one. He’s dated on and off, but he’s never fallen in love. He has his business, his dogs, his friends and family. Most of the time, that’s enough, but then August moves home—Clint’s first kiss and bisexual awakening—making him realize he might be lonelier than he thought.
Clint and August fall back into an easy friendship. Some of their best childhood memories are the days they spent at the creek: talking, laughing, and learning about who they were. But now they’re adults, the attraction palpable between them. It’s not long before they’re tumbling into bed, stealing moments for secret kisses and spending days exploring each other.
They can’t move too fast, though. Reese misses his other father, and sometimes August worries Reese would rather be with him. They’re just getting their life on track, and the last thing August wants is to shake it up by telling Reese he’s with Clint. But as it turns out, that’s not the only obstacle in their way…
The Creek is a small-town, second-chances, friends-to-lovers romance, with mature men who talk about their feelings, stolen kisses, and nights spent beneath the stars.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.