I fell in love with Rohan, let’s call it “puppy love”.

Echo Lake CNTitle:  Echo Lake
Series: Swift River Valley
Author:  Carla Neggers
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  January 27, 2015
Source:  NetGalley

In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner…

Heather Sloan has landed her dream job—the renovation of Vic Scarlatti’s stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It’s the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather’s older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.

Staying at Vic’s guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn—especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody’s sudden interest in her, and she suspects there’s more to his homecoming than he’s letting on….

Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love…

It’s hard not to fall in love with Rohan right at the first page.  Really.  Who can resist a frisky Golden Retriever puppy leading humans on a merry chase through the snow?

*I received an e-ARC of Echo Lake from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Read on for my thoughts on Echo Lake.  No true spoilers, promise.

We meet the most adorable character in this novel at the very first page.  Rohan, an abandoned Golden Retriever puppy has escaped from his rescuer’s home and taken off for a romp through the snow.

The major characters are introduced rather quickly through the search for the happy, cuddly, mischievous Rohan. Vic Scarlatti, Adrienne Portale, Heather Sloan are searching in various places for the escaped puppy.  Somehow, Heather has gotten the outdoor search area.  Following puppy tracks in the snow, Rohan is leading her where she hopes he did not end up… the water.  Sighting the pup caught in the icy water causes Heather’s heart to sink as she quickly, but cautiously slides down the snowy bank to reach Rohan.  Gathering her dwindling strength she grabs the pup from the water and turns to slowly make her way back up the bank – hopefully without them both falling back into the frigid water.  Seeing a shadow above her, she looks up into the eyes of Brody Hancock.

Brody had left Knights Ridge years ago, back when a very young Heather had a serious crush on the bad boy.  He is back in town temporarily to help his friend, Vic Scarlatti, a retired diplomat who took up residence here a short time ago.  He has owned the home for a few years, but while he was traveling around the world’s hot spots Adrienne did house-sitting duty for him.  The daughter of a friend and former lover, Adrienne is a wine expert who can do her work pretty much anywhere – so the house-sitting job fits right into her lifestyle.

Since Vic retired he has been noticing small things happening around his home.  Nothing major, nothing that has him worried for his safety but enough to ask Brody, a DSS agent to come to town for a visit and do some investigating.  While in town, Brody not only has to worry about Vic, but running into the Sloan brothers again – Heather’s 5 brothers – who don’t exactly see him in a good light.  Which makes falling for the grown up Heather a bit, shall we say, interesting.

Echo Lake is at heart, a love story – Heather and Brody’s love story.  With a small mystery to solve along with falling in love.

Since Swift River Valley is an ongoing series about an entire community, I worried a bit about keeping characters straight since I have not read all of the books in the series.  I didn’t have to be concerned.  Characters from the past novels were introduced naturally throughout the story, with a sentence or two about how they got together and where they are today.  So it was a nice backstory and update rolled up in a very brief, but flowing into the storyline result.

I enjoyed Echo Lake and would recommend it.  It is a love story, a charming love story and who doesn’t need that in today’s world.  A side mystery that really isn’t that serious, but does add to the tensions of the story – but this is Brody and Heather’s happily ever after.  So enjoy.  Oh, and fall into puppy love with Rohan ‘cos he is adorable.

Echo Lake by Carla Neggers is available at Amazon in Hardback, paperback, audio and on Kindle.