A Bitter Man (Appalachian STAR #2) by Deanndra Hall
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Betrayed and framed by my brother, I walked away from everything–the fortune, the lifestyle, and the world that used to be mine. Now I’m living in Kentucky, working with my hands, and finally loving the life I have here. When I meet Audrey and her son, I know one thing for certain: I’d move mountains for them, and destroy anyone or anything that tried to hurt them.
Destitute and desperate, my son and I are on the verge of starvation. The job offered at Iron Oak Farms is just the lifeline we need, and working with Porter “Hollywood” Winthrop is one of the many perks. But the demons of our pasts threaten our chances at a future. Navigating the rocky waters of a relationship seems perilous and uncertain, and trust is hard to come by for two people so damaged and destroyed. Can he save me from drowning in a world that seems too hard to endure?
A Bitter Man is the second installment in the Appalachian STAR series. Told from dual perspectives it follows the building romance and relationship between the 41-year-old former inmate and tech mogul Porter “Hollywood” Winthrop and 29-year-old single mother, Audrey Sinclair. The story is located in Kentucky at a camp called Appalachian STAR which is a search and rescue operation that hires former inmates from the US prison system.
Audrey needs a job to keep a roof over her and her son’s heads, food on the table, and clothes on their backs. Hollywood is tasked with the job of finding a cook and cleaner for his team. From the first time they meet, there is a connection. Audrey is beyond poor. She lives in a hovel with no running water. She has no money, she has no transportation, but she has resilience and she loves her little boy beyond words. She has no expectations about her life, but when Porter “Hollywood” Winthrop walks into her life, she finally has hope. He makes her feel safe and he cares about her and her son.
Hollywood had it all until his twin brother betrayed him. Trusting people is hard for him, but he trusts his lawyer who freed him from prison for something he didn’t do. He trusts the men at Appalachian STAR who make him feel human again. And he trusts Audrey who sees him as a man and not a means. When his brother’s sins come back to bite him, Hollywood steps up and makes a life-changing decision because he knows now what and who is important in his life.
Hollywood is unequivocally kind and generous when it comes to Audrey and her son, Taylor. He is determined to make sure mother and son are safe and comfortable in their new home. What he does for Audrey and Taylor is sweet and noble. Personally, I don’t think he is “a bitter man” as the title says though he certainly has a right to be with the piece of crap brother he has.
Audrey’s self-esteem has been beaten down all her life, but her strength and determination to raise her son the best way she can is irreproachable. Hollywood and Audrey are meant for each other as they slowly fall in love.
I love the way the big, tough, search and rescue team falls under Audrey and Taylor’s spell and would do anything to keep them happy and safe. Taylor is adorable as he finally gets to be a little boy with help from his new family. My heart broke thinking he had never played video games or had gone camping before.
If you love uplifting stories with numerous colorful characters, a little suspense, and a second chance at love, give this book a try.
Thank you to Ms. Hall for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
Appalachian STAR Series:
1. A Desperate Man (2023)
2. A Bitter Man (2023)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deanndra Hall is an International Bestselling Author living in far western Kentucky. A free spirit and chronic jokester, she and her husband of over 30 years enjoy visiting their two adult children and their spouses and playing with their three crazy little dogs. When she’s not writing, Deanndra can be found kayaking, working out at the gym, cooking something healthy, or reading. After writing for business, industry, academia, and non-profits for years and having her work credited to others, she jumped into the fiction realm, particularly erotic fiction and erotica, and had so much fun she never looked back.