Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“You’re my north, south, east, and west, Millie Rose. You ground me, you guide me, you inspire me..”
With Cloverleigh Farms Next Generation, it began with Winnie and Dex, next-door neighbors, grumpy-sunshine single dad romance in Ignite. Then, Melanie Harlow treated us to Ellie and Gianni in Taste, a surprise pregnancy, forced proximity, adversaries-to-lovers style romance. After that, friends to lovers, fake relationship was our catnip in Hutton and Felicity’s Tease. And now, Harlow has treated us to the piece de resistance of the newer books of her wildly successful Cloverleigh Farms crew, Tempt.
From the beginning of this story, I was bought and sold on Zach and Millie. By my estimation, this is one of a few steamy stories in Harlow’s brigade of small-town heroes and heroines. Zach and Millie are delectable, as they struggle to find their happy ending in the face of an age-gap, Zach’s son as Mille’s ex, and living across the nation from each other. Honestly, through much of it, it seems hopeless for these two, mostly the proximity and the reconciliation of Zach and his son, Mason. But, have no doubt, Melanie Harlow juggles these issues well, while offering up a huge helping of spice. By the end of this book, my heart was so full of the journey that Zach and Millie took to find their happy ending. Tempt is my favorite Melanie Harlow story this year, and it is my favorite of the newest of her series.
What did Harlow do well with Tempt?
For one, she juggled the difficulty of Zach’s reconciliation with his son, Mason, Millie’s ex. She crafted Mason and Millie in such a way that you don’t have any need for their reconciliation. Instead, she creates a barrier between Zach and Mason from the beginning that makes it difficult for the reader to believe Millie and Zach will find their happily ever after. It’s this plot tactic that keeps her readers engaged. Thankfully, at just the right moment, Harlow makes her story “right” between these two men, creating a way for her main characters to come together.
Secondly, Harlow utilizes spice to bridge the gap between Zach and Millie’s ages and their proximity to each other. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite movies, Same Time Next Year, as they meet up to reconnect and grow their relationship. Again, it’s secretive, so it lends a bit of suspense to Harlow’s story, captivating her readers.
Thirdly, Zach’s journey is complex. Millie is much like her sisters, amenable to most people. You can’t help but adore the McAllister sisters. Their relationship as sisters also adds a layer of adoration to their characterizations. But Zach is the grit and darkness of Tempt. He’s made choices that act as roadblocks to any potential relationship with Millie. This too adds to the drama of Harlow’s book, creating the angst that draws her readers through the story. When he finally has his epiphany about how he wants to live his life, that’s where the magic of Melanie Harlow’s writing shines. The last couple of chapters of the book along with her bonus epilogue reminds me of the moment when you eat a tart candy that makes your mouth ache. The same happens to her readers as they finish Tempt because they smile so big at the beauty of Zach and Millie’s ending.
In a nutshell, it was a pleasure to read Melanie Harlow’s Tempt. Once I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down, wanting to know that Millie would finally find a man who loves everything about her. Tempt is the read you want for your quiet days during this Thanksgiving holiday.
In love and romance,