Cherise Newberry and her best friend Candy Carmichael were living the high life in Tampa, thanks to a series of high-risk real estate deals. But when the Florida housing market crashes, Cherise and Candy find themselves flat-broke with creditors proverbially banging at the door. The one spot of hope comes in the form of a phone call from Cherise's grandfather. He wants her to return to their small hometown in North Carolina to run his newspaper. Cherise doesn't want to do it. How can she leave Tampa for the hometown she swore she'd never return to, where everyone insists on calling her Cheri? And how can she take a job where she'll be the boss of J.J. DeCourcy, the man who broke her heart, then married and divorced her sister? Cherise finds that you can't always get what you want - especially when your account balance is less than zero. But sometimes, as the song says, "you get what you need," and what Cheri needs might just be J.J. DeCourcy.
Author Susan Donovan's signature writing style sparkles in the delightful CHERI ON TOP. CHERI ON TOP has life and energy to spare, making it a joyful book to read. At the beginning of the book, Cheri's life is a series of disasters, some humorous, some not so. Her reticence to return home is understandable, given the life she left behind in North Carolina and the life she once lived in Florida. I felt sorry for Cheri at first, but I loved watching her pick herself up and make the most of what she's got. I also adored watching Cheri find herself once more. Though I won't give any spoilers, part of her development as a character comes with having to face J.J. again. J.J. is a hero who'll have readers wishing he could show up on their doorstep. He isn't, however, perfect. He's made mistakes in the past which contributed to the number of reasons Cheri and he were kept apart. Chief of these reasons being Cheri's sister, Tanyalee, a sibling I wouldn't wish on anyone. She throws wrenches into Cheri and J.J.'s reunion, but luckily for our protagonists, Cheri and J.J. have undeniable chemistry. Ms. Donovan made it easy for me to root for Cheri and J.J.'s romance and the love story in CHERI ON TOP makes me smile just to think about it.
A supporting cast of characters, including the funniest - if not only - guard squirrel I've ever encountered, help make CHERI ON TOP a memorable read. Ms. Donovan became an instant auto-buy author for me a few years ago when I picked up and read HE LOVES LUCY. Cheri and J.J.'s story is a perfect example of why Ms. Donovan continues to stay on my auto-buy list. CHERI ON TOP is filled with warmth, humor and romance, making it a captivating, charming read. I finished CHERI ON TOP a well-satisfied reader, and I can't wait to read Candy's story, I WANT CANDY.
Reviewed for Romance Junkies