"Sweet romance that makes you want to find this place in real life!"
Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko
Posted August 2, 2018
Romance Contemporary | Women's Fiction Contemporary
Phoenix Rose is looking for a new start. A terrifying ordeal
was assaulted and robbed at her own business had made her a
different person and she wanted to go back to being herself.
applied to a resort in Ohio with cabins and rustic camping
as well as
room for RVs', for a groundskeeper job. Then she met Cooper
and almost ran but was soon warming up to the real man
behind COOPER'S CHARM, the man the
resort is named after.
Cooper had bought the resort as a place to escape, he had
hiding and grieving over the needless death of his young
Phoenix after getting her resume and checking her
found himself feeling protective, and for the first time in
years... he felt!
Ridley Rose is Phoenix's sister who has gone through a
kicking divorce and when she comes to visit at the camp,
taking on the housekeeping job. Which is really interesting
Ridley is the fashionista of the two sisters and it is hard
to picture her
doing housework. She finds satisfaction in doing a job and
doing it well
even though she really doesn't need the pay, her rotten ex
than willing to pay for his freedom. So Ridley came for her
the scuba instructor Baxter McNab, and gets an amazing
the mix. Once the two of them finally get on the same page
COOPER'S CHARM, the first book
in the Love at the
series, is a charming, sweet in-depth look at life, loss,
fears and coming
back to being who you want to be. Author Lori Foster weaves an
amazing story with characters that are likable, realistic,
funny, and fun,
but she also knows how to throw in some bad eggs into the mix.
Phoenix is a strong woman who has to believe it again and
and this man are just what she needs. His size plays a
factor, for the
men who attacked her were big guys and so is Coop, but to her
surprise, there is nothing frightening about him, just the
both have to do a bit of soul searching before they are able
to the other, but happily ever after is the main goal. I
secondary romance of Ridley and Baxter. The two of them and
take on life are so different from Coop and Phoenix, it's a
plot to follow. The back and forth makes for a fun read and
at the end for this couple makes you want to cheer for her
and send a
heartfelt raspberry toward the ex. Childish but satisfying.
There is a
hint of danger that comes into play with muddy footprints, a
abused puppy, firecrackers, locked maintenance sheds, all
to the fire that brings out the woman that is the true
Phoenix and the
HEA for everyone we are all looking for. If you want sweet
broken people who become stronger than they ever dreamed of
steamy moments that will have you fanning yourself then get
hands on COOPER'S CHARM and
One summer, two sisters and a chance to start
Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix
Rose had a fiancé, a successful store and a busy, happy
existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at
lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful
scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed
boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the
Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister,
Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper.
Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds
satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the
resort’s handsome scuba instructor.
For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be
merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place
most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is
The sun shone brightly on that early mid-May morning. The
crisp, cool air smelled of damp leaves-an appealing, earthy
scent. A mist from the nearby lake blanketed the ground,
swirling around her sneaker-covered feet.
Phoenix Rose stood at the high entrance to the resort and
looked down at the neat, winding rows of RVs and fifth
wheels in various sizes, as well as the numerous log cabins
and the rustic tent grounds. All was quiet, as if no one
had yet awakened.
She could have parked in the lower lot, closer to her
destination, but she wanted the time to take it in.
Besides, after driving for a few hours, she’d enjoy
stretching her legs.
Breathing deeply, she filled her lungs with fresh air, also
filling her heart with hope.
It was such a beautiful morning that her clip-on
sunglasses, worn over her regular glasses, only cut back
the worst of the glare; she had to shade her eyes with a
hand as she took in the many unique aspects of Cooper’s
Charm RV Park and Resort.
Before submitting her resume to the online wanted ad, she’d
scoured over all the info she could find. She’d also
studied the map to familiarize herself with the design.
The website hadn’t done it justice.
It was more beautiful than she’d expected.
Dense woods bordered the property on one side and at the
entrance, giving it a private, isolated feel. To the other
side, a line of evergreens separated the park from an old-
fashioned drive-in that offered nightly movies not only to
the resort guests, but also to the residents in the
surrounding small town of Woodbine, Ohio.
At the very back of the resort, a large lake—created from a
quarry—wound in and around the land before fading into the
sun-kissed mist, making it impossible to see the full size.
Currently, large inflated slides and trampolines floated in
and out of the mist, randomly catching the sunshine as they
bobbed in the mostly placid water. Phoenix couldn’t imagine
anyone getting into the frigid water today – or even this
month - but the online brochure claimed the lake was
already open, as was the heated inground pool.
She was to meet the owner near the lake, but she’d
deliberately arrived fifteen minutes early, which gave her
a chance to look around.
After six months in hotel rooms, and a month familiarizing
herself with the park, Cooper’s Charm already felt like
home. She could be at peace here and that meant a lot,
because for too long now, peace of mind had remained an
Knowing her sister was waiting, Phoenix pulled out her
phone and took a pic of the beautiful scenery, then texted
it to Ridley, typing, Arrived.
Despite the early hour, Ridley immediately texted back, Are
you sure about this?
Positive, Phoenix replied. She hadn’t been this certain in
ages. Hope the interview goes well.
Loyal to the end, her sister sent back, He’ll take one look
at you and fall in love.
Phoenix grinned even as she rolled her eyes. Ridley had the
misguided notion that everyone else shared her skewed but
adoring perception. I’ll settle for a job, thank you very
Keep me posted. Love you.
Her heart swelled. Through thick and thin, Ridley was her
backup, her support system, and the person she trusted most
in the whole world. Her parents were great too, very
attentive and protective, but it was her sister who best
understood her. It didn’t matter that Ridley lived a very
different lifestyle, or that their goals in life were so
Phoenix loved working with her hands, staying busy, and
took satisfaction from a job well done.
Ridley enjoyed seeing the world, traveling nearly non-stop
to posh destinations, had an exquisite flair for the latest
fashions, and detested being messy in any way.
Different, but still best friends through and through.
Phoenix signed off in her usual way. Love you, too.
She knew Ridley was still worried, and that bothered her.
Much as she appreciated her sister’s dedication, she wanted
to portray an air of confidence and independence…just as
she once had.
She didn’t like being weak, and she didn’t like allowing
others to impact her life, yet both had happened. This was
her chance to get back to being a strong, capable woman.
If all went well, today would be a start toward reaching
Taking her time, Phoenix strode through the grounds,
familiarizing herself on her way to the lake. She really
wanted to explore the woods, and the small, quaint cabins
where she would live.
More than that, though, she wanted to be at the lake when
Cooper Cochran arrived. She wouldn’t be late, wouldn’t be
nervous, and wouldn’t screw up her fresh start.
Unfortunately, just as she rounded a play area filled with
swings and slides, she saw the lone figure standing along
the sandy shore, a fishing rod in hand.
Was that Cochran?
Good Lord, he was big, and impressively built, too, with
wide, hard shoulders and muscular thighs. She hated to
admit it, but that could be a problem for her.
After all, she’d learned the hard way, on a very basic
level, that big men were also powerful men.
Pausing to stare, she pressed a hand to her stomach to
quell the nervous butterflies taking flight at the sight of
The sunrise gilded his messy, sandy brown hair. As he
reeled in his line, then cast it out again, muscles flexed
beneath a dark pullover with the sleeves pushed up to his
elbows, showing taut forearms and thick wrists dusted with
hair. Worn denim hugged his long legs.
He seemed to stand nearly a half-foot taller than her 5ꞌ4”.
God, how she’d prayed he’d be a smaller, less…imposing man.
Finding information on the resort had been easy. Finding
information on Cooper Cochran…not so much.
She stood frozen on the spot, trying to convince her feet
to move, doing her best to conquer her irrational
reservations, but she was suddenly, painfully aware that
they were all alone on the shore. Logically, she knew it
wasn’t a problem. Plenty of people were around, though in
their RVs or cabins, so there was no reason to be afraid.
Not here, not now.
Lately though, fear had been a fickle thing, often re-
emerging out of nowhere. She’d always been able to hide
that fear from her parents, but Ridley was a different
matter. Her sister would take one look at her and
But Ridley wasn’t here now, and this job was important...
As if he’d known she was there all along, he glanced over
his shoulder at her. Reflective sunglasses hid his eyes,
and yet she felt his scrutiny and a touch of surprise. She
knew his gaze was burning over her and it caused her to
shift with nervous awareness.
She guessed him to be in his mid-thirties, maybe nine or
ten years older than her. No one would call him a
classically handsome man. His features were as bold as his
body, including a strong jaw, masculine nose and harshly
Not typical good looks, but he certainly wouldn’t be
She could see that he hadn’t yet shaved this morning, and
she wasn’t sure if he’d combed his hair. The breeze and fog
off the lake might have played with it, leaving it a little
wavier than usual.
She couldn’t look away, couldn’t even blink.
His scrutiny kept her pinned in place with a strange
stirring of her senses, unpleasant only in its
Releasing her by turning back to the lake, he said, “Ms.
The words seemed to carry on the quiet, cool air.
Phoenix swallowed. “Yes.” She watched as he cast out yet
again. It almost seemed that he gave her time to get
herself together. Of course, he couldn’t know why she was
so reserved. Still, his patience, his apparent lack of
interest, finally helped her to move forward.
She watched the way his large hands deftly, slowly, reeled
in the line.
Her feet sank in the soft, damp sand. “Mr. Cochran?”
“You can call me Coop.”
He had a deep, mellow voice that should have put her at
ease but instead sharpened her awareness of him as a large
“I like to fish in the morning before everyone crowds the
lake. Are you an early bird, Ms. Rose?”
“Actually, yes.” A white gull swooped down, skimmed the
water, and took flight again. Ripples fanned out across the
surface. By the minute, the mist evaporated, giving way to
the warmth of the sun. “You know I had my own landscaping
business.” She’d told him that much in their email
correspondence concerning her application. “In the summer
especially, it was more comfortable to start as early as
possible. I’ve gotten in the habit of being up and about by
“You won’t need to be that early here.”
“Okay.” She wasn’t sure what else to say. “The lake is
“And peaceful.” This time when he reeled in the line, he
had a small bass attached. “Do you fish?”
He hadn’t faced her again and that made it easier to
converse. “When I was younger, my sister and I would visit
our grandparents for the weekend and we’d fish in their
pond. That was years ago, though.” This was the strangest
interview she’d ever had. It was also less stressful than
Had Cooper Cochran planned it that way-or did he just love
“You don’t fish with them anymore?”
“They passed away just before I turned twenty. Granddad
first, and my Grandma not long after.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Sounds like you made good memories
with them, though.”
“Yes.” Fascinated, she watched as he worked the hook easily
from the fish’s mouth, then he bent and placed it gently
back in the water before rinsing his hands. “Too small to
“I rarely keep what I catch.” He gestured toward a picnic
table. “Let’s talk.”
Until then, she hadn’t noticed the tackle box and towel on
the summer-bleached wooden table.
She followed Cochran, then out of habit waited until he’d
chosen a spot so she could take the side opposite him-a
habit she’d gotten into with men. These days she preferred
as much distance as she could manage.
He stepped over the bench, dropped the towel, pushed up his
sunglasses, and seated himself.
Golden brown eyes took her by surprise. They were a stark
contrast to his heavy brows and the blunt angles of his
She realized she was staring, that he merely stared back
with one brow lifted, and she quickly looked away.
Thankfully, she still wore the clip-on sunglasses, giving
her a hint of concealment.
She retreated behind idle chitchat. “I studied the map
online and feel like I know my way around. The lake is more
impressive than I’d realized. The photos don’t do it
“I’ve been meaning to update the website,” he said. “It’s
been busy though. We lost our grounds keeper and
housekeeper at the same time.”
“Someone had both positions?”
He smiled with some private amusement. “No. Either position
is a fulltime job. But without any of us noticing, the two
of them fell in love, married, and then headed to Florida
“Oh.” She expected to find many things at the resort, but
love wasn’t on the list. Love wasn’t even in her universe.
“You said you checked out the map online?”
“Actually, I researched everything I could about the place,
including the surrounding grounds, and I’m sure I’d be a
good fit for the job.”
When he looked past her, she quickly turned her head to
find a woman approaching with a metal coffee pot in one
hand, the handles of two mugs hooked through the fingers of
Cooper stood. “Perfect timing, Maris.”
The woman’s smile was easy and friendly. “I was watching.”
Long dark blonde hair, caught in a high ponytail, swung
behind her with every step. Soft brown eyes glanced at
Phoenix. “Good morning.”
“Coffee?” She set one mug in front of Cooper and filled it.
Phoenix nodded. “Yes, please.”
Maris filled the second mug, then dug creamer cups and
sugar packets from a sturdy apron pocket, along with a
spoon wrapped in a napkin. “Coop drinks his black, but I
wasn’t sure about you.”
Anyone who presented her with coffee on a cool morning
instantly earned her admiration. “I’ll take it any way I
can get it, but I prefer a little cream and sugar, so thank
Cooper reseated himself. “Maris Kennedy, meet Phoenix Rose.
Maris runs the camp store. Phoenix is here about the
position for grounds keeper.”
Slim brows went up. “Really? I was assuming housekeeper.”
Cooper’s smile did amazing things to his rugged face, and
disastrous things to her concentration.
He explained to Phoenix, “We’ve never had a woman tend the
grounds.” Then to Maris, he said, “Ms. Rose used to run her
own landscaping company. She’s more than qualified and we’d
be lucky to get her.”
Phoenix perked up. Did that mean he’d already made up his
mind to hire her?
“Especially now.” Maris leaned a hip against the end of the
table. “I don’t know if Coop told you, but we’re starting
this season short-handed. We were all taking turns with the
grounds and the housekeeping, so everyone will be thrilled
to take one thing off their list.”
Still unsure if she had the job or not, Phoenix said, “It’d
be my pleasure to make things easier. If I’m hired, I can
start right away.” She glanced at Cooper and added, “Today
Maris straightened. “Seriously?”
Already feeling a sense of purpose that had been missing
for too long from her life, Phoenix nodded. “I’m anxious to
get to work.”
Cooper put his elbows on the table and leaned forward.
“Then consider yourself hired.”
Behind the glasses, her eyes widened. “Just like that?”
“You expected a different outcome?”
“Well, no, but—” She could barely contain her excitement.
If she didn’t have an audience, she would have danced
across the sandy shoreline.
“I bet you already packed, didn’t you?”
Heat rushed into her cheeks for being so presumptuous, but
she admitted the truth with a grin. “My car is full.”
“Glad to hear it.” He took a drink of his coffee, then
said, “You had a great résumé, so meeting was just a
More than a little dazed, Phoenix said, “Thank you.”
“So you accept?” Maris asked.
“Fantastic. So where are we putting her?”
With his gaze on his coffee, Cooper said, “I was thinking
Maris paused, subdued a smile, and nodded. “Okay then. Give
me thirty minutes and I’ll get it set up.”
“I can do it,” Phoenix quickly offered. “I don’t want to
put you out.”
“It’s not a problem. I’m just glad you’re hired. Now
hopefully Coop will find a housekeeper, too—hint, hint.”
She looked up at the sky and pretended to pray.
Cooper shook his head. “You’re the queen of subtlety,
Maris. As it happens, I’ll be interviewing a woman next
In an aside to Phoenix, she said, “He interviews someone
every week. Trust me, most don’t get hired so easily.” Then
to Cooper, she added, “If she’s not a serial-killer, hire
He snorted. “You’re going to make Ms. Rose think I’m a
harsh boss. She’ll run off before she ever gets started.”
Maris rushed to say, “Coop is the bestboss. Working for him
is a dream.”
Phoenix laughed. “You don’t need to sell me. I’m excited
for the opportunity.”
“Just because you’re a positive person, meaning you’ll be
fun to have around, I’ll make sure you get some extra
towels and one of our better coffee makers.” With a wink,
she headed off.
As Maris disappeared into her store, her words hung with
Phoenix. If most people weren’t so easily hired, why was
she? She knew she had good credentials, and she knew she
could do the work. Was he so desperate to fill the position
that a formal interview wasn’t necessary?
She wasn’t used to things going smoothly these days, but
she wanted the job enough not to question it.
Silence dragged on. She was aware of Cooper intently
watching her while he drank his coffee. It made her
Determined, she turned to him. “I’m really looking forward
to the job.” Damn it, she’d already said that—or something
like it. She didn’t want to babble.
“Maris hasn’t given you second thoughts?”
Phoenix shook her head. “Actually, she seems really nice.”
“She is. I’m fortunate that everyone who works here gets
along really well.”
Perfect. The last thing she wanted was drama in her life.
She’d had enough of that. The plan now was to work hard
enough to keep the demons at bay, and otherwise live
peacefully. “They all live on-site?”
“Yep.” He stood. “Come on. I’ll show you around while Maris
opens your cabin and gets fresh linen inside.” He paused.
“You’re aware that the cabin is small, right?”
“Yes. It’s just me so I don’t need a lot of room.” In fact,
it’d be nice to have less to take care of. Recent events
had proven to her that material things were far less
important than she’d thought.
“We have some premium cabins, and a few available rental
campers, but I try to leave those open to guests.” He
carried his tackle box, towel and rod as they walked. “Over
there is the cabin you’ll be using. There aren’t any units
around it, but it’s close to the lodge, so there’ll be a
lot of foot traffic going by. We have quiet time from 11pm
to 8am, so no one should disturb you during that span.”
She gazed at the small wood cabin that would be her home
for the foreseeable future. Screens enclosed a front porch
just big enough for a rocker. A lattice skirt circled the
base of the cabin. She envisioned some colorful pots filled
with flowers to brighten the all-wood exterior, maybe a
wind chime or two and a floral wreath for the door.
Decorating it, making it her own, would be fun.
“You’re welcome to get your breakfast from the camp store,
but you do have a full refrigerator and a small stove. Each
cabin can sleep four, but since you’re alone, I assume
you’ll use the loft bed without unfolding the couch.
There’s only a small TV, but you have WiFi.”
She already knew all that from the brochures, so she only
Cooper paused, his light brown eyes staring down at her. “I
know it’s not much—”
“I love it. It’s perfect.”
His gaze lingered. “I think you mean that.”
Every word. With a confidence she didn’t always feel, she
said, “I intend to be very happy here.”
What do you think about this review?
1 comment posted.
Re: Sweet romance that makes you want to find this place in real life!
What a lovely review! So looking forward to reading this.
(Kathleen Bylsma 3:45pm August 21)
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