5 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Belle Chene by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
McKenna Beaumont was raised by her grandmother, a strong, Southern woman who believed all women should be able to stand on their own. McKenna lives by her grandmother’s words, so when her heritage—her home—is threatened, she fights back with all she has. She wants her daughter to grow up at Belle Chene, exploring the wonders of the land just as Mac did as a child.
Stoney Carrington is a successful attorney who doesn’t need a woman to be fulfilled. In fact, he never stays in a relationship for more than a few weeks, yet when he crosses paths with McKenna, something about her pulls him in. He has the legal skills to help save her beloved Belle Chene, but McKenna doesn’t want a man to swoop in and save the day.
With a little help from tantric practices, Mac becomes an even stronger woman, one who can face down her fears and win. And she just might find that letting her guard down every now and then isn’t such a horrible idea. Accepting Stoney’s help could lead to even bigger and better things.
There were several things about Belle Chene that appealed to me right away: older main characters, a strong female lead, a historic family home, and tantra. This book did not disappoint in any of those areas. I loved that the main characters led fulfilling lives before their introduction to each other. Stoney made no apologies for living his life without attachments, and McKenna had her daughter and didn’t need a man to complete her family. Even so, they both had room for growth, and we were treated to that growth throughout the pages of the book. A ghost in Stoney’s past held him back from forming attachments to women, while McKenna thought standing on her own was the only way to live her life. Clearly these two had a lot to learn from each other as well as the secondary characters.
Speaking of the secondary characters, I enjoyed their inclusion just as much as the main plot. There was plenty going on throughout the story, and being told in third person point of view, we were able to read about much more than just Stoney and McKenna. There were bits and pieces that could have been removed, like Mac’s first lawyer’s point of view, but overall the secondary characters added another dimension to the plot. Watching Peter and Elly’s relationship grow made me fond of a character who was supposedly a villain.
The sexual tension between Mac and Stoney was well done without going overboard, and their relationship was mature without being boring. Incorporating tantra into the relationship gave the story another edge and set it apart from other books. I especially enjoyed how it was used outside of the sexual situations.
Belle Chene is the second book in the Sultry Savannah series, but it is truly a standalone book. I very much enjoyed reading it, and I look forward to reading more by this author.