MOVING FORWARD by Shelley Shepard Gray
SERIES: Woodland Park Firefighters #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Clean with mild language)
RELEASE DATE: August 22, 2023
Romance blossoms in the Colorado foothills in this sweet romance by New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray
Former Army captain Greg Tebo loves his new life in Woodland Park. In the two years since he joined the WPFD, he’s gained a reputation as a fearless firefighter, and after being stationed all around the country and overseas, he can’t wait to settle down with a wife and kids.
When a call comes in about a possible heart attack at the scene of a fire at the Garden Center, Greg assumes they’re going to be helping an elderly customer—not the beautiful, feisty proprietor in her late twenties. Kristen Werner has been determined to pretend everything is fine. She refuses to leave the company she’s carefully nurtured and move home to her loving but meddling family in Houston. Since her devastating diagnosis caused her fiancé to dump her, she’s given up on love and thrown herself into cultivating her blooming business instead—even if the hard work further weakens her heart.
Greg is drawn to Kristen’s vibrant, independent spirit and hopes romance will flower. But she’s had enough trouble with her heart to last a lifetime, and can’t trust Greg not to break it—especially if he finds out she can never give him the houseful of children he longs for….
Other Books In This Series
There’s something so swoony about firefighters in fiction, isn’t there? Which is one reason I was eager to read the next book in the Woodland Park Firefighters series by Shelley Shepard Gray. I so enjoyed the characters in Coming Home, and I couldn’t wait to visit with them again in Moving Forward. As I happily reacquainted myself with Anderson, Greg (swoon!) and Mark (three firefighters in Woodland Park who also served together in the military), I also got to meet the delightful Kristen – a strong-willed woman who continues to overcome significant health challenges with grace, grit, and pure stubbornness. She refuses to let her illness define her or dictate her life … except, of course, when it comes to potential romances. I loved her warm personality and the bit of Texas sass that peeked out on occasion.
Greg is also a southern transplant to Colorado, and that southern drawl he pulls out when it suits him is … whew. Basically, he exudes hotness (still fanning) and has just enough swagger to know what he wants and expect to get it… but not so much that he’s a jerk about it. That’s a very fine line for an author to tread but I thought Gray pulled it off perfectly. Greg’s heart is clear – and stronger than his ego – leaving him extremely likable and extremely swoony, even if you do shake your head fondly at him sometimes. Like Kristen, he’s got some personal struggles as well, stemming from his time in the military, and I appreciated that he was given wise advice about this. It was interesting to me how both Greg and Kristen felt that they needed to bear their burdens on their own, and while Greg is frustrated at Kristen shutting him out, he doesn’t recognize that he is doing the same thing with his friends. And don’t we do that exact thing in our own lives, too?
Bottom Line: Moving Forward is another warm and touching romance from Shelley Shepard Gray, written in her signature style including a secondary romance to enjoy (which I very much did). Greg & Kristen’s love story is engaging to read and easy to invest in, and the layers in each character add depth to the swoon factor. The supporting characters were exactly that – supportive – and they make a great ensemble cast for this series. Woodland Park is a quaint small town, and the author skillfully brings the setting to life. Additionally, I absolutely loved the sweet epilogue! Looking forward to book three!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers of my blog may want to be aware that there are some mild curse words scattered throughout this novel.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She’s published over a hundred novels and has over a million books in print. She currently lives in northern Ohio and writes full time. When not spending time with her family or writing, she can usually be found walking her dogs on one of the many trails in the Cleveland area. She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.
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