Title: Restoring Hope
Author: CP Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Life throws you curve balls, but no parent should ever bury a child. Determined not to make the same mistakes with his son as he made with his daughter, Nic Beuve is single-minded until Hope walks into his life.
Hope Delaney, a woman with a past that almost broke her, tries to keep people at bay for their own protection. Fortunately for her, no one listens when she says she wants to be alone.
Burning desire, a deep need to protect, and a woman who looks like an angel breaks down Nic's defenses until he can’t ignore them. He wants Hope and what Nic wants…
Hope thinks she can walk away at any time she just wasn't counting on a man like Nic to get in the way, or a nosy but loving Cajun Boss. All's fair in love and war and what Maman Rose wants is Nic and Hope together.
Will their relationship survive an ex-wife with an agenda or will her past come between them... or kill them?
4.5 “You Are My Angel” Stars
Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight
in the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here
Angel, Sarah McLachlan
Restoring Hope by C.P. Smith is a book that I was highly anticipating. After reading and loving this author’s debut novel, A Reason to Breathe, I was most definitely looking forward to what she had in store for us with this book. I was not disappointed. What Ms. Smith has written here is a wonderfully emotional journey about two irrevocably broken individuals simply coasting through life, silently lost in their own personal battles. This is a story about overcoming your past and moving forward with your life, it’s about second chances and getting to that place where you bask in all that is love once again. This is a story about finding hope and learning to dream once more. After all, without our hope-filled dreams, how is one supposed to fly?
Forty-two year old Nic Beuve is lost and isolated in his grief and living in a world of self-loathing. He is grieving his disastrous marriage and he is grieving the loss of his beloved daughter, a person he feels like he should have been able to save. Nic is able to push past his inner demons when his son is in his care; but, when he is along he can’t help but wallow in his misery and desolation. He is a shell of the man he used to be and he is slowly crumbling unable to pull himself out of the pits of blame and fires of despair. That is, until an angel unexpectedly walks into his life.
Thirty-eight year old Hope Delaney is on the run hoping to escape her past. She moves from city to city losing herself, never staying too long in one place and never ever letting anyone close enough to forge any lasting connections and friendships. She keeps her head down to avoid becoming too visible or noticeable. Her life is about surviving from one day to the next. She is as closed off and guarded as they come, unwilling to let anyone in. That is, until she finds herself face to face with a man who pushes past all her defenses, a man who does not understand the meaning of the word “no”.
For Hope coming to the vibrant city of New Orleans is simply another way to lose herself for a while and an attempt to stay undetected for a little bit longer. She procures a job at a local restaurant as a cook only to have her new employer, Maman Rose, commence meddling in her business not allowing Hope to blend into the background like she normally does. Her new boisterous Cajun Boss is larger than life and has her pegged. She sees Hope’s pain and knows she has been through much. All the more reason for Maman Rose to interfere wanting to take the sadness away that seems to engulf Hope. When Hope meets Nic they definitely share an immediate connection; however, Hope knows that she can’t get involved with anyone without putting them in danger. For Nic, Hope is the first person in a long time who makes him feel alive, someone who makes him feel whole again and takes him away from the pain even if it is only for a little while. Hope calls to the deep seated need within Nic to protect her and make her his. But with a nosey boss and an alpha-male more determined than a bull on steroids, Hope does not stand a chance.
“Nic Beuve, plain and simple, is the sexiest man she’d ever encountered, and she needed to be in his presence like she needed a hole in her head.”
Nic slowly, but surely, breaks through Hopes highly erected walls making it impossible for her to walk away like she is used to doing. But staying in New Orleans may mean putting Nic and the others she has grown to love and care about in danger. Can Hope take that chance? With the odds stacked against them and Nic’s ex-wife who seems to believe she still has a claim to Nic interfering, can Hope and Nic’s fragile and tentative new relationship blossom and turn into something real? With Hope’s trust issues and Nic’s guilt over the death of his daughter, do they have what it takes to fight for a happy forever together?
Nic and Hope together made my heart happy. They truly were two lost souls who found something so beautiful, deep and powerful in each other. It took them both by surprise but it definitely came at them at a time in their lives where they so desperately needed one another. They just did not know they did. For Hope, Nic is the stability, strong foundation and safe haven that she never knew she craved. Under Nic’s care, Hope could blossom into the woman she longed to be, the woman who had been hiding for reasons of self-preservation. And for Nic, Hope touches a place within him that has not been awakened in a very long time. She is his angel, a reason to believe in love again. She is the reason he can look to the future with hope, something that was taken away from him with the death of his daughter. Both of them are so unsure, fragile and broken and yet when they find one another there is no denying how much they need each another. Their journey was such a moving, tender-hearted and emotional one. My heart still erratically spasms when I think about it.
One of the things I loved most about this book was the setting. C.P. Smith transports us to the historically diverse and vividly rich city of New Orleans. She also takes us into the swampy marshes of the Louisiana bayou. I truly felt like I was there taking in all the cultural diversity only New Orleans can offer, completely immersed in all the distinct flavors of the region. I became transfixed with the descriptions of the bayou, taking in all its beauty. This author does an amazing job depicting all that is New Orleans and wonderfully interlaces it with a passionate love story.
All in all, Restoring Hope is a book you can drown in never thinking about coming up for air. Packed full with memorable secondary characters, an exceptional plot, and a heart-warming tale of love, this book was an enjoyable read that touched my heart. This is a book definitely worth the read!
She tugged on a pair of her favorite jeans, a low cut V-neck t-shirt in soft lavender that reminded her of an Easter egg and her Nike Free Runs. Then she left her apartment and descended the stairs two-at-a-time thinking about the coffee that awaited her and the powdered sugar goodness of a beignet. When she opened the door to the apartment building and stepped outside, she came face to chest with Nic Beuve. He was leaning on the wall outside, as if he’d been waiting for her to come down. Dressed in dark jeans that hugged his thighs and a black T-shirt that announced he was “Cajun born and bred,” Hope sucked in a breath at the sight of him and tried to control her breathing. Nic Beuve, plain and simple, is the sexiest man she’d ever encountered, and she needed to be in his presence like she needed a hole in her head.
“Get packed, sugar,” Nic said by way of greeting.
“Pack your things. You’re movin’ in with me.”
“Sorry?” Nic moved from the wall, grabbed her hand and pulled her back through the door of her apartment building, dragging her up the stairs.
“I got a place a few blocks from here. It’s eighty percent done, so no one is livin’ in it. You need a safer place to live and now you got it, so get packed.”
“I can’t move—”
“You can and you will, no arguments,” Nic ordered and kept dragging her up the steps.
Nic stopped on the stairs and leaned down until he caught her eyes and had no chance to look away, asking, “Sugar, you like livin’ with rats?”
“No, of course not,”
“Then pack your bags.”
“This isn’t a good idea.”
“What’s not a good idea is you livin’ in this piece of shit apartment building, it’s not safe and you know it.”
“Then I’ll look for another place.”
“No need, like I said, you’re movin’ in with me. You’ll have the whole floor to yourself.”
“But, I barely know you.”
“Goes both ways, Hope, I barely know you.” He had her there, and more to the point, she was probably more dangerous to him and his son than he was to her.
“Nic,” he corrected.
“Nic, I appreciate the offer but it’s out of the question.”
“Hope, it’s not. I’ve got security on the building; no one can get in or out without the code, so you’d be safe day and night.”
Hope bit her lips together trying to figure out how to get out of this without telling him Nicky and he weren’t safe with her around. Finding no way around it, she went with the truth.
“Nic,” Hope whispered, afraid to look him in the eyes, “My life is such that it wouldn’t be safe to be around me.”
“I got that yesterday,” Nic replied.
“Then you’ll understand when I say I can’t move in.”
“Hope, the condos are separate from each other, just like apartments. School will be out in less than a month and Nicky’s headed to my parents for the summer to be spoiled rotten. I’ve only got two more weeks with him before that happens.”
“It’s not just your son who shouldn’t be around me.”
“I’m a big boy I can take care of myself.”
“I can’t take that risk,” Hope replied and tried to move away from him.
“You gonna run your whole life?” Nic bit out.
“If I have to.”
“You have friends here who are willing to help.”
“Then I guess it’s time to move on. I can’t have friends; I can’t take the chance anyone gets hurt.”
Nic bit his tongue to keep from shouting at her. She was determined to play the martyr. The thought of her leaving, scared and alone, possibly in danger, pissed him off. She needed help; she needed people around her who cared. Taking in her small frame, the thought of anyone hurting Hope sent his heart racing and he was done playing around. As she turned to walk away from him, he grabbed her hand and pulled her back to him.
“I’m not lettin’ you go it alone another day. You’re done running and that’s final, now pack your bags.”
“Nic—” He cut her off, growling, “Pack your fuckin bags.” Hope’s eyes grew wide at his order and then she narrowed her eyes at him.
“NO, I’m not moving,” she shouted back and it felt good to yell. She put years of pent up feelings into it, for all the times she had to hold her tongue or be slapped for opening it. When Nic smiled at her and then threw his head back and laughed she didn’t’ know what to make of it. In fact, he laughed a little longer than she thought was necessary, but she had to admit, it was a tension breaker. When he pulled himself together, he threw his arm around her neck and led her down the hall to her apartment door.
“I like your spunk, sugar, but make no mistake, you’re not runnin’ anymore. So, pack your bags you’re coming with me.”
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