The Cottonbloom Series by Laura Trentham is the perfect end of summer treat! Read our 5-star review of the third book, Till I Kissed You, now available.
The Cottombloom Series is a PERFECT summer read… I totally devoured it in 4 days because once I started I couldn’t stop reading. Each book is so sweet and heartfelt, well-written and super sexy.
Many years ago, after an argument over fishing rights, Cottonbloom split into two towns, separated by the river: Cottonbloom, Louisiana and Cottonbloom, Mississippi. The Louisiana side tends to be poorer, working class (derogatorily called swamprats), while the Mississippi side is more well-to-do (‘Sips).
The series opens with the two towns engaged in a competition for who can put on the better Labor Day festival, the Crayfish Festival on the Louisiana side, the Tomato Festival of the Mississippi side.
The three novels unfold over the course of a summer, as we follow the Fournette siblings from the Louisiana side while they overcome obstacles lingering from their past and find love across the river.
In Kiss Me That Way, Cade Fournette returns to Cottonbloom after being forced out of town about 10 years before.
When he was 17, Cade lost his parents in a car accident and is forced to become the main caretaker of his two younger siblings, Sawyer and Tallulah (Tally). He struggles under the responsibility and eventually drops out of high school to work.
One night while out on the river to fish (for food), Cade comes across a young girl hiding in his boat, Monroe Kirby. Monroe ran away from home that evening after almost being sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend.
From that point on, Cade becomes her protector. For years, the meet in secret to talk and they become fast friends… however, before the relationship can potentially become something more, Cade leaves.
Fast-forward 10 years and Cade is back in town and has found success as a businessman and mechanics expert. He was recently in a mountain climbing accident and Sawyer convinces Cade to come home to convalesce.
While there, he comes across Monroe, now a physical therapist, marital arts expert, and mentor to other young girls.
Through Kiss Me That Way, we watch Cade and Monroe get to know each other other as adults and fall in love, despite his concerns about not being good enough and her distrust of men, emerging from watching her mother’s revolving door of boyfriends.
In Then He Kissed Me, we get to know Tally, the youngest of the Fournette siblings.
She’s professionally successful (owner of a local gym), but finds her love life isn’t as robust… especially since her ex-boyfriend Heath has taken things to a stalker level. However, things change when Nash Hawthorne returns to town.
When they were real young, Tally and Nash were best friends and inseparable. But, just as Tally lost her parents, Nash lost his mom to cancer as well. While Tally stayed in Louisiana with her brothers, Nash moved to the Mississippi side, and their friendship withered.
Nash went on to finish high school two years early, go to college, and pursue his Ph.D. in history. Now he’s back to teach at Cottonbloom College, but Nash has never forgotten his childhood love of Tally.
Despite Tally’s hesitation (especially her belief that she can’t match Nash’s intellect), their childhood love transitions to a sweet (and HOTTTTT) romance.
Till I Kissed You is the culmination of the series, so far.
In the first two books we get hints of a Romeo/Juliet-style epic love and epic break-up between Sawyer Fournette and Regan Lovell (Monroe’s best friend).
She’s the Mayor of Cottonbloom, MS, he’s the commissioner of the parish on the LA side and they’re both competing to win a grant from Heart of Dixie magazine for putting on the best festival.
Each engage in some attempts at sabotage (e.g. a rabbit fiasco in Regan’s mother’s tomato garden, some vandalism on the LA side). But when it turns out that there’s an dangerous person out to stop the Cottonbloom festivals, even resorting to arson and breaking and entering, Regan and Sawyer join forces to figure out who’s at the bottom of the attacks.
In the process, the two realize there’s still a very heated sexual tension between them… but does any of the love still exist too? And after being pulled apart by their families and their insecurities, can Regan and Sawyer find love again?
Till I Kissed You is my favorite of the series! I’ve been wanting to know what happened between Regan and Sawyer, and it seems that their years-long enmity is the result of a giant misunderstanding. And in the present, miscommunication causes one step forward, and several steps back. Even still, it’s clear to see that Sawyer and Regan care for one another… add in the HOT sexy times and this book has me swooning and flailing:
When he closed his mouth around her and sucked, she writhed between him and the wall, her throaty little cries driving him wilder. He raised his face. He wouldn’t do this unless she understood where he stood. Which was firmly on his side of the river.
“This won’t change anything. Agreed?”
“I’ll still hate you, Sawyer Fournette.”
With her breasts exposed and her lips swollen from his kissed, she launched the words as if making her final stand…
…He was slipping into a place where the past didn’t matter, where his perceived betrayal and her heartlessness ceased to exist, stamped out by their joining. That limbo was dangerous.
Letting his lips fall to her temple, he took a single hard thrust when he wanted to be gentle and slow and continue staring into the depths of her.
“I’ll still hate you too,” he whispered, taking a hard thrust.
She answered by clutching him closer, not pushing him away. He lifted her thigh until her leg was curled high on his hip, opening her to him even more. God, he wanted to look, wanted to see her body taking him, et knew the sight would signal the end.
He nuzzled his lips along her temple and down her jaw.
“You’re so damn tight and sweet, baby. Does this feel good?”
“I’ve wanted this for so long.” Her voice bordered on begging. “Make it last.”
Can it last? Regan and Sawyer have to deal with their towns’ bad blood, as well as their own, but as we learn over the course of the series, anything is possible, especially when it comes to summer love.
Since it’s August, I know many of us are dreading the beginning of the Fall and all the added responsibility that comes along with it.
But there’s still time to enjoy the Cottonbloom Series as an end of summer treat. Trust me, you will enjoy every moment!
Many thanks to the publisher for advanced review copies.