10 September 2014

Last Dance for Cadence by Maren Smith

 The ad read: “Full-time housekeeper/nanny position. Live-in preferred. References and experience required. Salary negotiable. Apply in person.”

Cadence Westmore knew she wasn’t qualified for the job, but for a paycheck and an apartment, she was determined to apply. As an ex-dancer with two bad legs and no experience with children, she expected to be turned down. What she didn’t expect was the instant attraction she felt when Corbin’s Bend’s resident doctor took her in his capable hands.

A widower with three boys to raise, Dr. Marcus Devon knew he needed help. But he also knew Cadence Westmore was the last person he should hire. Still he gave her the job, opening his home and his life to a woman as stubborn as she was lovely, and as determined not to need him as he was to make her his. She was her own worst enemy, pushing herself to exceed her wounded body’s physical limitations until the doctor finally stepped in to apply some good old-fashioned bare-bottom medicine. The more she rebelled, the more he took her across his knee until at last Cadence realized if she wasn’t careful, she just might lose everything all over again.

I do believe that Last Dance for Cadence may now be my favorite of the Corbin’s Bend series. Ms. Smith’s contribution to the series was an emotional read that made my heart break for Cadence time and time again throughout the book. I cannot fathom the betrayal someone would feel having their dreams, their future, and their ability to walk ripped away so painfully by someone who was supposed to care for them. While Cadence has clearly persevered, she sees herself as a failure when she is anything but that. Hitting bottom forces her to contact her “Other Mother” and Cadence goes to stay with her as she tries to get her life back on track.

Mama Venia lives in Corbin’s Bend and has told Cadence nothing about the community. I will say that this lead to a couple of rather entertaining and humorous scenes. Determined to get her life back on track sooner rather than later, Cadence immediately begins looking for a job and finds herself at the home/office of the community’s doctor who is in need of a live-in nanny for his three sons. Despite a rather lackluster first impression, Marcus felt compelled to give her a chance in spite of his reservations about her physical limitations. While the time-frame of the book appears to be relatively short, the author packs so much into the novel showing how the relationship between Cadence and Marcus develops and strengthens that it felt completely right, whereas such a short courtship in the majority of books I’ve read often feels rushed. Regardless of her lack of previous exposure to DD or BDSM, it was clear that Marcus was able to give Cadence the penance she felt she needed and this is perhaps one of the primary reasons I enjoyed the book so thoroughly.

Last Dance for Cadence is a wonderfully written emotional read that is an excellent addition to the Corbin’s Bend series. I loved the way the boys warmed up to Cadence in varying degrees and that while Michael was the last to accept her, he became her fiercest protector. This book has definitely been added to my re-read list, especially when I’m in the need for a cathartic read. As ever, I look forward to the next book in the Corbin’s Bend series.


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