Review by Veronica

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Series name: Butterfly Bayou, # 5

Listen to me, my darling girl, and listen well. Don’t ever dim your light for a man. Never. You are smart and talented, and you can have any life you want. If the man is right for you, if he loves you, he’ll support you and not drag you down.

Thanks to Lexi, the bayou has now become one of my favourite places for romance stories to take place in. 

After leaving the military, Major Blanchard moved to Papillon, Louisiana, to be with his aging father, where he’s taken a deputy position with the sheriff’s department. Now that he’s settling into life on the bayou, he’s trying out the dating scene. Every single woman in town seems to be pining after the handsome newcomer. But so far, nothing’s worked out, and he’s had some spectacularly bad dates. Major’s getting ready to give up on love when a new lady roars into town to film a movie and turns his world upside down.

Actress Brynn Pearson is trying to make a successful transition from child star to leading lady. Now that she’s landed her first lead in a major film, nothing can stop her. She’s committed to focusing solely on her work, so romance is the last thing she needs—too bad she can’t get her mind off the dreamy deputy she keeps running into. He’s gorgeous, and something about him makes her feel safe. As Brynn’s feelings for Major deepen, she starts to wonder if maybe there’s more to life than her career. 

When a family crisis throws Major’s life into a tailspin, he turns to Brynn for support, and hopes their budding relationship will shine brighter than Hollywood lights. 

Bayou Sweetheart is my first Lexi Blake book, but I can tell you it won’t be the last. I must admit that I went out and ordered all the other books in this series as soon as I was done with this book. It was that good. Bayou Sweetheart is the fifth book in the Butterfly Bayou series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

There are so many moments in this book that had me laughing, the not-so-legal taxi service called “Guber,” a seemingly organized group of raccoons wreaking havoc on the town, and a couple of adorable dogs. I like when romance authors add those humorous moments to their stories. It just adds so much lightness and charm to their stories. I tend to escape the world by losing myself in a good romance book, and I just love it when a love story not only makes me swoon but also laugh. 

I love the bayou!! Usually, I am a sucker for a romance book in the countryside or England. I was not expecting how much I would fall in love with the bayou. It is a unique and breathtaking place, and Lexi did a marvellous job bringing the setting to life. There was this romantic, mysterious off-the-beaten-path feel to the bayou, and it was nice to be transported to a new place I would not usually visit via a book. 

There are some more serious and emotionally tougher moments in this book. Major’s father has been diagnosed with dementia. Throughout this story, we watch Major struggle with caring for his father. My heart was breaking at times; I just can’t imagine what it would be like watching the parent you know and love slip away from you day by day. Lexi tackles this tough issue with grace, understanding, and much thought. Even though the scenes with Major and his father were heartbreaking, they also felt heartwarming. When you know the time you have with the person you love is limited, you make the most of every day you have with them, and that was what Major and his father did. 

The cover of this book made me instantly think that this would be a more clean romance, which it wasn’t. Not that the sex scenes were overly explicit, but there were definitely spicy moments. Major and Brynn have that instant chemistry, and even though they may have gotten off on the wrong foot (Brynn thought Major was incredibly cranky), that connection between them is hard to deny. I really enjoyed these two as a couple and as main characters. They both are great romantic characters but have enough depth and uniqueness to keep readers interested. Their relationship follows that typical romantic journey, but I loved every moment. My heart fluttered, broke, and rejoiced in all the right moments. Overall it was really fun being with this couple. 

This book is the whole package, funny, heartwarming, and sexy as hell.

Thank you, Berkley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.