If you like small town contemporary romance about close-knit families, pick up a book by Nancy Stopper. In January of 2017, her debut novella for the Oak Grove Series, set in a fictional town in Pennsylvania, hit the book shelves.
The Oak Grove series revolves around the Bennett family: Mom, Dad, eldest son Lucas, middle son Michael, youngest son Joey, and the baby of the family, the only daughter Rachel. You’ll meet a host of interesting people, from friends and shop keepers to villains and those who keep the town fed and safe. Nancy paints a brilliant picture with her prose, whisking you to a special place where a cup of fresh coffee and a delicious doughnut from the local bakery hang-out invite you to take a seat and immerse yourself in Oak Grove.
The novella that starts the series is Last Call.
Blurb: He’s hiding inner demons that drove him away from town. She’s sworn off bad boys. Their passion erupts while trapped in a snow storm, but will she ever see him again?”
Dr. John “Butch” Daniels climbed on his bike and sped out of Oak Grove several months ago with demons on his tail. He’s ready to come home and pick back up where his life left off, but have the demons left him behind? A blizzard has him stuck in what used to be his favorite motorcycle club, and the sweet and spunky bartender is getting under his leather-clad skin.
Carla Daniels is a loner, not able to hold on to the ones she loves. She’s sworn off bad-boys after a recent ex dumped her in Oak Grove. The owner of motorcycle club turned bar and grill offers her a lifeline in the form of a job and place to live. Her life is turning around. But there’s something about the bearded stranger who turns up late one night while a snowstorm rages outside. When passion flares, the two are forced to confront their darkest fears: Does Carla dare to trust a reckless biker with her heart? Can Butch risk caring for someone when life has no guarantees?
This might be their Last Call for love.
The first book in the series is One Last Risk.
Blurb: A guilt-driven firefighter, a widowed mother, neither is ready for love, but love has other plans.
Firefighter Lucas Bennett has the carefree life he’d always wanted until a deadly blaze takes the life of his partner and best friend. Blaming himself is easy but pulling himself from the tailspin of guilt proves to be much harder. The fog of sadness and guilt push him down a dangerous path until he nearly dies fighting the beast. Forced to stop and reevaluate his life, he decides to make a change before it’s too late.
A fire took almost everything from Sarah Robinson— her husband and her home—leaving her to raise their precious daughter alone. Everywhere she looks hold memories of her husband, pouring salt on her ever-present wound. Unable to live any longer around the memories of her husband, she and her daughter move to Oak Grove, far away from the grief of the past. All Sarah hopes for is the chance to start a new life for her and her daughter.
A car accident on a dark, rainy night puts Lucas and Sarah on a collision course neither of them expected. Can a single mother open her broken heart for a second chance at love? Will a broken firefighter risk his heart for what might be his only chance at forever? Are each of them willing to take one last risk to be together?
The second book in the series is One Last Dance.
Blurb: A sophisticated city girl, a small town guy. Will their differences drive them apart or will they discover that home is where the heart is?
When the only girl Joey Bennett ever loved stole his heart and sped off to the city lights, he swore he’d never again surrender his heart or be measured by someone’s big city ideals. Love is for chumps. Trust is only given to family and locals who care about him for who he is, and what he isn’t. But when a beautiful stranger dances into his bar, he takes up the challenge to prove that his hometown is different.
Brittany Carlson hates small towns after growing up where the old boy’s network turned a blind eye to her father’s abuse, destroying her mother’s life… and her own. She left that hell in the rear-view mirror the minute she turned eighteen. New York City is her new hometown where her neighbors are friends and everyone looks out for each other. They keep her safe. But a weekend visit to Oak Grove and one dance with a sexy local threatens to change… everything.
Joey is not like any guy she’s ever met. And she likes that. Long nights stoke Joey and Brittany’s desire to stay together, but reality is different when exposed to the harsh light of day. If Brittany goes back to New York, she’ll be heartbroken. But she promised herself long ago that she wouldn’t ever again live her life looking over her shoulder, wondering what secrets people are hiding and what ugliness lurks in the shadows with no one there to help.
Can she take the small town out of Joey, or can the love of a good man become her new home?
The third book in the series is One Last Chance.
Blurb: She’s escaped an abusive relationship, he’s hiding from the horrors that followed him home. Can the two of them find the courage to face their pain, heal, and find love?
Rachel Bennett has had enough. She’s finally found the strength to leave her bastard of a boyfriend with the help of her childhood friend and deputy sheriff, Sawyer. But the hurt runs deep, as do the family secrets that drove her down the spiral of self-destruction. She’s determined to start life fresh, but with nowhere to go, she finds herself staying with Sawyer.
Sawyer Truman has loved Rachel as long as he can remember. He joined the Army Reserves after high school to prove to himself—and Rachel—he’s the right man for her. He returns from Afghanistan, demons hot on his trail, to find Rachel shacking up with a new boyfriend. He fears he’s lost his one chance with Rachel. It doesn’t take long before he sees what no one wants to admit—Rachel is being abused. After one too many calls to her house, he convinces Rachel to leave Shane. What he didn’t expect to happen was to find her living in his guest room.
As Rachel heals from her abusive relationship, Sawyer and Rachel grow closer. But will a lingering family secret threaten to ruin Rachel’s fragile psyche? Will Sawyer’s unspoken love for Rachel survive and grow?
The fourth book in the series is One Last Objection.
Blurb: Can a burnt-out attorney turn his friends-with-benefits relationship with a local psychologist into some more when she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant?
Dr. Margaret James is a successful psychologist in the small town of Oak Grove, PA. After growing up with two absent parents, she sees no need for a family or children. She’s happy and independent and likes it that way. She even enjoys the friends-with-benefits relationship she has with Philadelphia lawyer Michael Bennett.
After his dreams for making partner at his big city law firm are shattered, Michael Bennett packs up, buys out a retiring attorney’s practice in his hometown, and moves home. He’s looking forward to the slower pace of life in Oak Grove and interested in reigniting his relationship with fiery Maggie James.
An unexpected pregnancy throws Maggie for a loop. She doesn’t know how to be a mother. Hell, she can barely take care of herself. Enter Michael, who wants to take care of her and the baby. Is she willing to give up some of her independence at a chance for love and the family she’s never had? Will Michael be able to overcome her objections?