STAYING FOR GOOD - Catherine Bybee
A Most Likely To Novel , Book 2
A Perfect 10
River Bend, Oregon – The Present
As they left high school, their classmates gave three best friends their ‘most likely to' labels. Melanie Bartlett (DOING IT OVER, Book 1) was the ‘most likely to succeed.' JoAnne Ward was the ‘most likely to end up in jail.' And the third member of the River Bend Trio, Zoe Brown? She was considered the ‘most likely to never leave River Bend.' She did though. Zoe left her trailer-trash home and its horrible memories, her prison inmate dad, her mother and her younger brother and sister, and her boyfriend Luke. However much she regretted leaving Luke, her departure was more of an escape from her past and a determination to improve her future. Luke, his family, and her cooking mentor, Miss Gina, proprietress of a local bed and breakfast where Mel now lives and works, gave her the courage to seek a better life. Now, eleven years later, she is a celebrity chef headquartered in Dallas, Texas, starring in a cooking show. The celebrations surrounding Mel's wedding draw her reluctantly back to River Bend.
Luke Miller has been content with his life working in his father's auto repair shop. He likes working on engines, but Zoe's reappearance in town for their class's ten-year reunion made him realize he had to change his life. One of those things is to somehow get Zoe back as his feelings for her are just as strong. He knows things about her life in River Bend that few know or else ignored. As Mel's wedding plans continue, he learns Zoe wants him, too. They begin a romance based on visits between Oregon and Dallas. That changes when Zoe discovers her father has unexpectedly been released from prison.
While the characters in this story are beguiling and the romance interesting, it is Zoe's family's past and her interactions with her family that make this book fascinating and a Perfect 10 well-worth reading.