Connor Danson was living a normal life, running the family hardware store that he and his sister inherited from their father, when he accidentally witnessed a murder late one night while taking out the trash. This turn of events makes him the star witness in the murder trial of a man with a squeaky clean public image, but after receiving threats and his store burning down, Connor has to lay low until his appearance at the trial is over. The DA makes arrangements with Brie Valenzuela for Connor to move to Virgin River and work for Haggerty Construction, all of which Connor intends to be temporary. As he arrives in Virgin River, he's angry about things having to be this way and deeply misses his sister and nephews who were sent to the other side of the country for their protection as well. But things start looking up a bit when Connor meets Leslie, the administrative assistant at the construction company. After being cheated on by his ex and all the upheavals in his life, he isn't looking for love, but even Brie's warnings not to get involved with anyone can't stop Connor's heart from wanting Leslie.
Leslie Petruso has had enough of her own cheating ex flaunting his new pregnant wife - who was also the other woman - all over town. She also can't believe he still wants to be friends after all he's put her through, but when the guy won't leave her alone, she simply has to get out of town. She's worked for Haggerty Construction for years in their main office, but she decides that a move to the satellite office in Virgin River will be the perfect way avoid her overly friendly ex. Leslie wasn't expecting to get involved with another man or to fall in love either, but Connor checks all the boxes for what she's been looking for in a man and then some. The only problem is that with Connor laying low under an assumed name, she doesn't really know who he is. Will she still be interested when she finds out the truth? And what of his testimony at the upcoming trial that could prove dangerous if he follow through with it?
I was shocked to discover that it's been over five years since I last picked up a Virgin River book. There are always so many books on my TBR pile that sometimes certain ones get lost in the shuffle. I guess these final Virgin River volumes drifted to the back burner while I tried to stay up to date on Robyn Carr's newer Thunder Point and Sullivan's Crossing series. But I'm finally making a point of going back to where my journey with her books all started and finishing it up. It was a pleasure to get back to the little town of Virgin River and many of the characters who've made it come alive for me. In Hidden Summit, we have Connor, a brand new character and the former owner of a hardware store in Sacramento, who was the sole eyewitness to a murder. The killer was none other than a man who has a few shady business dealings if one looks hard enough, but nevertheless has managed to maintain a squeaky clean image as a pillar of the community. But after Connor received a threat and his store burned to the ground, the DA decided to send him into hiding until the trial starts. So with the help of Brie Valenzuela, he moves to Virgin River. At first he's not too happy to be there, until he meets Leslie, who is Paul Haggerty's right-hand woman, handling office work for his construction company. It's been so long, I can't recall if Leslie was previously introduced in a supporting role or not, but it's entirely possible she might have been seen in a previous book. In any case, she'd been working for the Grants Pass office, but decides to relocate herself to Virgin River when her ex-husband turns into a pest. Needless to say, Connor and Leslie hit it off almost immediately and although neither came to town looking for love, it finds them anyway. Although Hidden Summit didn't quite reach the heights of perfection for me, it was still a very pleasant read and a nice addition to the series.
After the death of their parents, Danson Connor, whose name has been changed to Connor Danson, always looked out for his little sister, Katie, and took over the running of the hardware store they inherited from their father. When Katie's military husband was killed in action, he also stepped up to the plate to be a father-figure to her twin boys. He was living a very ordinary life until one night, while taking out the trash, he bore witness to a murder that changed his life forever. Now his sister and nephews are on the other side of the country, and he misses them terribly, while he's gone into hiding in a tiny town that's off the grid. The only people in Virgin River who know the truth of why he's really there are Brie and her husband, Mike. To the rest of the town, including Leslie, he's just the new guy who's doing custom cabinet work for Haggerty Construction, a job that Brie helped him get. Although Brie warned him against starting any relationships, Leslie proves to be too much of a temptation and soon things heat up between them. Connor still has a lot of baggage, not only with regards to the looming trial and his star testimony, but also from a cheating ex-wife. But Leslie proves to be the perfect antidote to all of that if only she stays by his side until he gets through it. Connor is the ultimate nice guy, who also has the requisite military background to fit in with most of the other guys in Virgin River. He's very sweet and supportive toward Leslie as she deals with her own issues. They try to keep things casual, but it doesn't take long before he's falling for her and knows that when the trial is over, he wants to come back to Virgin River and stay with Leslie for good.
Leslie's ex-husband cheated on her, married the other woman, and is now having a baby with his new wife, something he always told Leslie he didn't want. Now he thinks that he can have his cake and eat it, too, wanting to remain close friends with Leslie, which is something she says, "Oh, hell, no!" to. However, he simply won't leave her alone. While not quite a stalker, he is an overly optimistic pest, who just doesn't know when to quit, so Leslie packs her bags and heads to Virgin River to get away from him. Since both she and Connor work for Haggerty Construction, they become acquainted almost right away. She wasn't really looking for love again, but Connor proves to be exactly what she needs, helping her regain her confidence and independence. Leslie is equally as nice as Connor is. When she finds out who he really is and why he's there, she's very supportive of him, too. They just fit together like two pieces of a puzzle and fall into a comfortable relationship that makes sense.
As I mentioned before, it was nice to visit with the residents of Virgin River again. We haven't seen a whole lot of Paul (Second Chance Pass) or Dan (Paradise Valley) lately, but they're front and center in this story as Connor's boss and co-worker respectively. We also get to see Dan and Cheryl in their new life together and preparing to finally marry. Of course, Jack (Virgin River) is still the backbone of the community and Preacher (Shelter Mountain) and Luke (Temptation Ridge) are in a few scenes as well. Pastor Noah (Forbidden Falls) shows up to help save the day when another character is attacked. And some of the spouses and other long-time characters appear as well on the periphery. Then there's Connor's sister, Katie. He gets to visit her in her new home for a short time before heading to the trial, and although she thinks she might be falling for her new boss, Connor isn't so certain. She becomes the heroine of the next book, Redwood Bend. And finally, we get another glimpse of Norah, a down-on-her-luck, single mom who is neighbors with Leslie. I like Norah and can't wait to read her book, Sunrise Point, which is the penultimate volume of the series.
Overall, I enjoyed Hidden Summit. It's one of those nice, rainy-day, comfort reads, but it kind of left me a bit underwhelmed. The more of Robyn Carr's books I read, the more I see a sameness in her characters and some of the situations they find themselves in. Connor and Leslie are the typical Carr hero and heroine, who come to Virgin River to work out some things in their personal lives and aren't expecting to find love but do anyway. The only thing that sets them apart is their individual circumstances. However, considering that Connor is in hiding, fearing on some level for his life, not a great deal of a suspenseful nature occurs. There's a bit of excitement at the very end, but that's about it. The rest of the book is just about Connor and Leslie working through their issues and finding closure for their past marriages so that they can move forward with each other. It just had a rather languid pace with a slightly mundane feel to the story itself. In spite of that, though, it still managed to engage my attention so that I wasn't ever bored while reading it. And I liked both Connor and Leslie, along with all the other Virgin River characters, so it was a pleasant read, just not one that reached any emotional highs or lows or that left me with a memorable impression by the end. But it was still a good addition to the series and one that's sure to please Virgin River fans.
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