Saturday, October 28, 2023

✱✱Book Review✱✱ Moonlight in Montreal by Tracy Broemmer

Title: Moonlight in Montreal
Series: The Vagabond Series
Author: Tracy Broemmer
Genre: Gumpy Sunshine/Emotional Scars/Broken Marriage Pact
Release Date: August 28, 2023 


Tori Baker isn’t in Montreal to celebrate Christmas with her aunt. Though the holidays probably happened, Tori’s too busy licking her wounds over a lost job to worry about trees and gifts. Now that it’s time to go home, Mother Nature has decided to drop a load of snow to ground flights everywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line. With an aunt who barely has time for her, Tori’s stuck in a hotel, longing for her empty life back in Illinois—until she meets Hudson Jones in a coffee shop.


Hudson Jones isn’t in Montreal by choice. In fact, he’d rather be anywhere else and not because of the city itself. When a snow day forces his office to work from home, he finishes early and heads out for a coffee shop where he can battle his headache with a strong black brew and pass some meaningless hours on his phone. Except his battery is nearly dead.


The red head at the table behind him lends him her charger with a side of sass. More interested in conversation with her than a game on his phone, Hudson invites her on a walking tour of Montreal.


She’s feisty; he’s unassuming. No wonder they go together like cigars and jazz. Unfortunately, they only have a day together before the real world calls. Was the Monday in Montreal just a crazy fling, or will Tori and Hudson hang on for more?


Moonlight in Montreal is a light-hearted and heartfelt vacation romance featuring a feisty heroine, a misplaced hero, and the cozy winter storm that brings them together.










Across the table, Tori heaved a big sigh, leaned back, and dropped her arms to let her hands hang down beside her chair.

“Oh God. Sometimes, it’s ugly.” She closed her eyes for a second, opened them, and then shook her head as if to scatter her thoughts. “I don’t know how or why my parents ever married.”

“So, they’re divorced?”

“Yes.” She nodded. “They divorced when I was fourteen. They’re nothing alike. I don’t think they have anything in common. My mom runs her own business. She has for years. She’s great, but she’s not always real touchy feely maternal-like. My dad is a playboy. I mean, if he weren’t my dad, I’d say he a was a tool.”

“So, they must have had great sex.” Hudson shrugged.

“Oh God.” She squeezed her eyes closed and bit her lip. “Thanks for that, Hudson.”

“How does your dad think he’s your sister?”

“He’s like a best girlfriend. He’s like what my mom should be. Calls me almost every day. Tells me about a sale he hit. New shoes he found. New car. New girlfriend. Shares stuff they did on their date. Asks me questions like that.” She shivered. “I mean…it’s weird, but it’s…Dad. And Mom’s Mom.”

“Weird family dynamic,” Hudson offered.

“That’s exactly it,” she agreed.

“That works for you.”

“It does work for us.” She nodded and drummed her fingers on the table. “But when I think about it, I just wonder how it works.”

“Do they speak to each other?”

“Yeah. They’re good friends, I guess. It’s hard to be close to Mom, but she’s got a soft spot for him. Her sister seems to think he’s the devil in disguise.”

“Wanna go for a walk?”

“What?”

“A walk.”

“It’s snowing.”

“Mmm.” He nodded and looked toward the windows. “Where I come from—”

“Which is where?”

“Michigan. We actually did things outside when it snowed. I thought people from Illinois did, too.”

“You,” she leaned around the table to give him a once over and then hit him square in the face with a bold look, “want to go for a walk. In the snow. In those shoes.”

“I can grab boots at my apartment.”

“Grab boots at your apartment,” she repeated quietly.

“And you could leave your stuff there.” He aimed his gaze at her laptop now.

“Where in particular do you want to walk?”

“No destination in mind.” He pulled in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I need to move.”

Tori studied him curiously for a moment and finally nodded. “Sure, I’ll go for a walk in a blizzard with you.”

“That’s the spirit,” he said with a grin. Tori slapped her laptop closed, tucked it in a messenger bag, and then slipped her phone in the bag, too. “Don’t forget this.”

She smiled when he handed her the charger. He wouldn’t have asked her to go for a walk, but he was feeling antsy, fidgety, and moving would help. But, on the other hand, he wasn’t in a hurry to run her off anymore. She was funny; this was the most interesting conversation he’d had with anyone in ages. The invitation to walk would prolong it. And he had noticed she did have boots on.

They stood at the same time. Hudson watched her pull her long wool coat on and button it up. She eyed the open zipper of his coat pointedly. He ignored her just as pointedly. Finally, Tori slung the strap of her bag over her shoulder and nodded for him to lead on.

“See ya, Jones!”

Hudson bristled when the barista called after him at the door. He threw a hand in the air and waved, but he didn’t look back. Outside, a knife of cold wind sliced his throat and ruffled his hair. He had a stocking cap, but he’d left it at home. Gloves, too. Also at home. Beside him, Tori tugged on her own beanie; damned if it didn’t frame her face just right. A few red curls peeked out from under it. Her cheekbones were high, well-defined, and something about the beanie made her eyes pop.

Hudson looked away as she pulled gloves from her pockets and yanked them over her hands.

“Do you not know how to dress for winter?” she asked him after a few moments. “How long have you lived in Montreal?”

“About seventeen months,” he answered. He didn’t add that he hated it here, and therefore, he childishly refused to embrace anything about it, including the weather.

“So. You’re from Michigan.”

He nodded when he saw her peek up at him for confirmation.

“Born there?”

“Yep.”

“And then you lived in Nashville. And now you live in Montreal.”

“Lived in Chicago. Columbus, Ohio. Philly. I went to college at a small private school in Tennessee. Moved back to Philly for a bit after I graduated. Remembered why I hated living near my family so much and moved to Nashville.”

“And now Montreal.”

“And now Montreal.”

The puzzled frown on her face amused him. Hudson watched her as they walked, picturing the wheels spinning in her head.

“What’re you trying to figure out?”

She laughed softly. “The common thread. Like…military?”

“Soccer.”

“Oh.” She nodded.

“I messed up in Nashville. I did tell you I was the family fuckup,” he reminded her. “Things were kind of ugly. My parents demanded my presence here.”

“Even though you’re an adult.”

“Even though.” He nodded dismissively. Not ready to dump all his fuckups and his parents’ reprimands and ultimatums on her, he changed the subject. “Do you like museums?”

“You’re giving me whiplash.” She elbowed him in the side and laughed when he responded with an overly dramatic frown. “I do. Like museums.”

“Art?”

“Art museums?”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Oh no! Wait!” Excited by the new idea he’d just thought of, Hudson grabbed her by the elbow and slowed her down.

“Whiplash.” Her whisper made him laugh.

“C’mon. This is great.” He tugged at her, and she started walking again.

“What about your apartment? Your boots?”

“Eh. My feet will get wet.” He shrugged. “I’ll live.”

Tori looked up at him as they walked. Hudson laughed when she rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“What?”

“You are like a puppy.” She eyed him again and looked away.

“Is that a nice way of saying I’m obnoxious?”

“I wouldn’t say you’re obnoxious,” she hedged. “You just have a lot of energy.”

“It’s okay. My parents tell me daily how obnoxious I am.”

“I don’t think I like your parents much.”

“I don’t. Like them.” He shrugged.

“So. Where are we going?”

“Museum of Illusions.”

“Mm. Okay.” She nodded. “Sounds interesting.”

“And we could do the Museum of Fine Art.”

“Sure.”

“And then maybe ice-fishing.”

“Yeah, no. I don’t go fishing when it’s not cold.”

“Just making sure you’re listening.”

The look she gave him—a little bit coy and sort of sweet—made his ribs get two times smaller. Hudson coughed to catch his breath.

“I always listen.”

“Most people don’t want to listen to me too long.” He remembered suddenly that she was carrying her laptop, and he had told her she could stash it as his apartment. “Here. Let me carry that for you.”

“How do I know you’re not gonna take off at a dead run and steal it?”

Hudson chuckled. “Well, for one thing, it looks ancient, so it might end up costing me more than just buying a new one. And second, I have a new laptop at home. And third, I don’t want your laptop. I just think you’re fun.”

The frown on her face almost made him panic. Had he said too much? Too sarcastic? Or too serious? But when she glanced at him this time, she wore a small smile. And damned if her eyes weren’t twinkling.

“Thank you,” she said softly. “You don’t have to carry my bag.”

“I don’t mind.”



Momma says: 3 stars⭐⭐⭐
It's Christmas for this installment of the Vagabond Series. To be honest, this one left me somewhere in the fair to middlin' range. I liked so many things about it, but there were a couple of things that bothered me more than the things I liked. It addresses mental health, and while the author does a good job with how she introduces it, I would've liked a more in-depth story. This kind of feels like a prologue to me, and I really wanted the rest of the story. That said, it is a pretty good beginning, and I'd be interested to see more of this couple if the author were inclined to write them. 





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