Cottonbloom Series , Book 5
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-13128-7
February 2018
Contemporary Romance

Cottonbloom, Mississippi – Present Day

Willa Brown works alongside Jackson Abbott in his brothers' automotive shop, and while she's just as capable any man in repairing cars, she still intrigues him as a woman.  Jackson knows Willa is hiding something and will likely run if something—or someone—spooks her, but he doesn't know how to approach her to find the answers to help her. He decides to try to get closer to her, but she rebuffs him at first, preferring to remain independent. Yet, there's no denying that he has an emotional attachment to Willa, and that he doesn't want her to leave.

Willa does have a secret in her past and has been on the run for a long time. She can't trust anyone to help her and tries to keep her distance from people by not having friendships. But she admits to herself that she has a secret crush on Jackson, though all he appears to see in her is that she's a damn fine mechanic. When Jackson tries to get into her “face” and find out some answers from her, she pushes him away. But soon, she finds that she not only needs his help, but she appreciates it. Is Willa playing a dangerous game by getting involved with Jackson, and will that expose her secrets?

In WHEN THE STARS COME OUT, readers will learn right away that Willa is mysteriously hiding something. Is she a criminal on the run? A domestic violence victim? Jackson wants to know the truth, but fears if he pushes her too far, she'll run. He doesn't want her to leave, and the reason why stuns him. Despite thinking of Willa as “one of the guys” since she works alongside him in repairing cars, and the fact that she dresses unappealingly, he's attracted to her. Jackson decides to tread lightly to gain her trust, and soon it works. It leads to kisses…and more…between them.

The truth about Willa is more about her guilt, along with some genuine fear of someone looking for repayment from her. She feels she can't trust—or get involved—with anyone because they might end up getting hurt also. Willa befriends an abandoned dog, and with some help from Jackson, this brings them closer and leads to a tentative friendship…then sex. Willa is still as skittish as a scared animal and Jackson is afraid to push her too much, but it only strengthens his resolve to find out the truth about her past…and help her resolve it.

A working relationship turns to friendship, then love, in the engaging WHEN THE STARS COME OUT, the fifth book in Laura Trentham's Cottonbloom series. While readers catch glimpses of characters from prior books in the series, this tale is all about the romance between Willa and Jackson and stands on its own. Later in the story, we even get a clue whom the next tale will be about.

Readers will be intrigued by Willa and her past, and soon be rooting for Jackson to unlock her secrets in the charming WHEN THE STARS COME OUT.

Patti Fischer