Review – Lean on Me by HelenKay Dimon

Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley

Cassidy Clarke once climbed the world’s highest mountains, but after an unexpected illness ends her career she’s back in her hometown, broke and hoping for a little luck. But the townsfolk aren’t exactly putting out a welcome mat for the woman who once snubbed them in the media, despite her apologies now.

Mitch Anders knows someone has set up camp on the grounds of his plant nursery, and he’s surprised to find his sexy high school crush ducking questions about where she’s staying. Though he’s sworn to stop cleaning up other people’s messes, Mitch offers Cassidy a job and a place to stay—his place. Bedsharing optional, but definitely welcome.

Out of options and too attracted to Mitch to keep things platonic, Cassidy says yes to his offer. She wants to get back on her feet financially and start a new career. She never expects to suffer a different kind of fall, one that has her believing Mitch just might bring her something bigger and better than luck.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I’ve adored HelenKay Dimon’s writing since the first time I picked up one of her books. While her suspense books are great, there is something special about the contemporary romance novellas she does for Carina Press.

Cassidy isn’t looking forward to coming home, especially since no one in town seems to be able to forgive her for her one misstep in the media so many years ago. Where she might have been a world renowned climber once, now she is just a woman down on her luck, without anywhere else to turn. When sexy-as-sin Mitch offers her a job and a place to say, Cassidy is hesitant to accept, but without anywhere else to go….

Mitch always had a thing for Cassidy, and now that she is back in town, he is finally going to get the chance to take her out like he always wanted. But Mitch never expected to have deeper feelings than lust. As the only person in town who has her back, Mitch and Cassidy seem to be somewhat on their own as they stumble into love.

There were some great aspects to this book, and some that I thought were only so-so. Usually I love the small town romances, and our first time in Dimon’s small town was great, but for some reason, it seemed like everyone had some crazy bone to pick with Cassidy, and used her as the scapegoat for all their problems. They were rude and condescending and quick to jump to assumptions they knew absolutely nothing about. While a little bit of anger and resentment and humor in small towns can be fun, this felt (at times) a little over the top. I also thought the sub-plot with Cassidy’s step-father was a little weak, and could have been flushed out more, especially since their relationship with each other was one of the few stable things Cassidy had to rely on in life.

But the romance between Mitch and Cassidy was great. I loved that Mitch was the one person to have her back, that he went toe-to-toe with anyone who said anything negative about her, and was a strong support system for her to lean on. I loved that Cassidy got the chance to help Mitch open up again, and that together they seemed to feel as if they really could take on the world. I adored that about them!

The sexual tension between these two, with the added humor that Dimon does so well was one of the better aspects of this novella. I adored the banter between these two, especially as they were just beginning to get to know one another again. I’m such a sucker for humorous romance books, especially ones that have the high level of sexual tension that we had with Mitch and Cassidy. For me, it just adds another layer to the story and makes me fall in love that much sooner with the characters.

All in all I really enjoyed this story. Despite my desire to bash in some skulls every now and then, the small town setting and chance to reconnect with a high school crush is always a story I can get behind and enjoy. I’m excited to read the third book in the Holloway series, set to release in the December Romancing the Holiday anthology from Carina Press.
I give Lean on Me a B-

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