Second Chance CafeTitle:  The Second Chance Cafe
Series:  Hope Springs #1
Author:  Alison Kent
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  March 5, 2013
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  Borrowed, Kindle Unlimited
Cover Description:

Kaylie Flynn was luckier than most children left to the Texas foster care system, blessed with a foster mother who taught her the comfort of home…and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie.

Now, Kaylie has journeyed back to Hope Springs to open a café in the charming Victorian she once shared with her foster family — and to finally find answers about her past and where she came from.

Yet Kaylie’s carefully laid plans quickly become complicated. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, stirs up feelings she hasn’t felt in a long while. When an unexpected crisis threatens to unravel her dreams, Kaylie seems to have all the ingredients for a perfect disaster — or quite possibly the perfect love.

Read on for my thoughts on The Second Chance Cafe.  No true spoilers, promise.

Kaylie has come back to the one place she considers home.  When she had been in the foster care system, Mr. & Mrs. Wise had provided the only place that she could ever call home.  She was with them until she was legally old enough to be out of the system, then headed off to college, work and eventually a bakery of her own.  Upon May’s death, she had received an inheritance from her that combined with Kaylie’s savings had allowed her to purchase the lovely old Victorian house that held all the memories and love that the Wises had showered upon her.  It was in this house that she would build her life, a place she never intended to leave until her dying breath.

Hope Springs was a small town.  It had the usual array of small business along with a diner and several fast food places just outside of town.  It did not have what Kaylie planned to build – a cafe catering to the lunch crowd – a cafe she would call Two Owls Cafe in honor of her foster parents.  The old house need work, and renovation for the cafe she planned for the first floor with her living space above.  And since this was Small Town, America – everyone knew just about everyone’s business and knew who did the best work in town.  It took only minutes for Kaylie to find the best contractor in town to work on her dream.  Tennessee Keller.

Ten was surprised by the beautiful lady and her dog that walked into his business.  Even more surprised to find that she had purchased the old Victorian house that he had had his eye on to purchase for himself.  While he had wanted to restore the house to it’s original beauty, Kaylie wanted to tear down walls and plan for a business.  They would eventually compromise on how to create the cafe.  And for every need Kaylie had for the building Ten “knew a guy” who would be perfect to do the job.  Small towns work that way, and if Ten was a bit of a caring man who helped out people who mattered to him without thought then that was an advantage that Kaylie couldn’t argue with.

Kaylie has other plans about returning to Hope Springs.  She wants to find her biological parents.  She had been thrust into the foster care system on the most horrendous day of her young life, memories that nightly became nightmares had haunted her for her entire life.  She wanted answers.  Why.  She simply wanted to know… why.

The Second Chance Cafe is such a delightful, engaging and complex story.  Since this is the first story in the series, I was not a bit surprised by the intense world building, getting to know the citizens of Hope Springs – knowing that this background would matter when some secondary characters got their own stories down the line.  I enjoyed learning history, and secrets and understanding why some people did the things that they did.  It made a enjoyable story that much more intimate, added so much to the story and made it more believable for me.

The romance between Kaylie and Ten was slow building.  You definitely got the attraction between them, and you want them to find each other to be “the one”.  I didn’t mind the slow burn at all and in fact, it made their romance, when it did hit the pages, that much sweeter and right for them.

I don’t want to give too much away – but this is a delightful story that I am so glad that I discovered and can now follow the entire series without much of a wait in between releases.  I have the most current release on my NetGalley shelf waiting for closer to publication day to release that review.  It was important for me to go back to the beginning of this series and bring myself up to date before reading and reviewing the current release.  It is with much anticipation to find out everyone’s story that I’m heading for my Kindle now to start the next one.

Available in several formats including for the Kindle