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From the First - Jessica Bird I've never wanted to jump into a novel and meddle as badly as I wanted to in this story.

Alex Moorehouse, world class athlete and professional sailor has returned home to recover from a serious injury he received when his sailboat got caught in a hurricane (which happened in Beauty And The Black Sheep (The Moorehouse Legacy, #1) aka [b:The Rebel|11780101|The Rebel (Hqn)|J.R. Ward|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VN%2BRpn92L._SL75_.jpg|16731870]). Wracked with guilt that he couldn't save his fellow sailor and best friend, Reese Cutler, he refuses to see Reese's widow, Cassandra Cutler. But his guilt is not solely survivor guilt. Alex has been in love with Cassandra since the first time he met her. When Cassandra is contracted to renovate the fire-damaged B&B, Alex has to fight his attraction for seven long months.

Cassandra Cutler, recently widowed, can't understand why Alex seems to hate her so much. They barely know each other, yet he's gruff and rude whenever they're in the same room together. When her work forces her to be around Alex, she can't ignore the sizzle that seems to happen around them.

I admired Alex for his loyalty to his best friend. Alex may have wanted Cass with a fever, but he never tried to step in and ruin her marriage. If only Alex knew that Reese wasn't the man he thought he was. Reese had a wandering eye and had cheated on Cassandra many times over. Reese sounded like a man in a midlife crisis and needing some sort of assurance that he was desirable. I didn't agree with his treatment of Cassandra though. He kept jerking her around with his mood swings. One minute he'd be nice, the next he'd be cruel, then smoldering, then icy cold. I felt sorry for the poor woman.

I really liked Cassandra because she seemed so composed and regal. I think she handled Alex as best as she could, but with more patience than I would have had. What surprised me was that she had known for a long time about her husband's philandering, but she never confronted him or tried to leave the marriage. It's not like she was dependent on Reese, but I don't understand how she could have been so forgiving. While Reese was selfish and having both his cake and eating it too, Cassandra was stuck at home waiting for him to return from his various adventures both on the sea and in strange womens' beds. He could and should have let her go to find some sort of happiness.

This was a sweet romance story that started out with a lot of angst, but slowly developed into something sweet. After all the heartache they'd been through, they deserved their HEA.