After being brutally attacked in his restaurant, chef Hudson Richmond hasn’t been able to go back into the kitchen. He is having nightmares and panic attacks when men come up behind him, and he can’t even think about sex again. When things are bad enough that Hudson needs to be hospitalized, his friends suggest that maybe a change of scenery would help. Hudson’s good friend (and former friend-with-benefits) Jamie Vaughn suggests that Hudson come back to Snowcroft and help out Jamie’s sister, Leigh. Leigh is pregnant, a surrogate for Jamie and his husband, Trevor. Considering Leigh is a terrible cook, Jamie suggests Hudson move in with her and cook for her while he recovers. Hudson finds that Leigh is able to soothe much of his stress and sleeping (platonically) with her at night helps keep the nightmares at bay. Quickly, the two become fast friends.
David Warner used to be a cop in Albuquerque, but after his partner betrayed him, David is looking for a change of pace. He takes a job as the new chief of police in Snowcroft. The town sets up a temporary residence for him at a cabin Hudson owns, but when the pipes fail, he needs someplace else to stay, and Hudson suggests he move in with him and Leigh.
The three get along surprisingly well as unlikely roommates. They quickly become close friends, relying upon and leaning on one another for support. David makes no secret of his attraction to both Leigh and Hudson, and Leigh definitely thinks her roommates are gorgeous. And slowly Hudson, who has never previously been interested in women, begins to realize he has feelings for Leigh, as well as David. The three begin a sexual and romantic relationship, slowing building something solid between them and imagining a future together. But when some of Leigh’s demons come back to haunt her, it could destroy what the three have built.
Intertwined Hearts is the third book in Christi Snow’s Snowcroft series. It connects with the first book as Leigh is Jamie’s sister and she is carrying his and Trevor’s child and the two men play a role as prominent side characters here. We also met Hudson there as Jamie’s friend and occasional sex partner. There are also some side characters who appear across the different books. That said, this story stands alone well and I think you could easily read it without being familiar with the first two books.
I will admit that this story had a bit of a rough set up for me as these three all came together in one house. I didn’t particularly love the idea that Leigh is perceived as so helpless that she needs some guy she barely knows to move in and take care of her. There are lots of pregnant single women, and there are certainly women who can’t cook well, all that manage to take care of themselves. The idea that Leigh needed someone to watch over her, and that Jamie would invite Hudson to move in with Leigh without even asking her, didn’t sit well with me. Now Hudson probably needed her care more than she needed his, which Leigh realizes, but I just find kind of paternalistic that these men are making decisions for her. I also found the idea that Hudson would invite David to move into Leigh’s house when there are problems with the rental somewhat crazy. I mean, the guys are strangers. Do landlords really invite their tenants to live with them when there is a problem with the rental? David and Leigh also end up having an absurdly coincidental connection. So the set up here was somewhat of a hurdle for me, but once things got going, I really enjoyed this one a lot.
What I found most engaging is watching these three people build their relationship. They are all relative strangers at the start, and so they make the move to friends and ultimately lovers and romantic partners. I was really engaged as the story developed, wondering how the transition would come from friendship to more, and watching the dynamic between them. I think Snow does a nice job making their relationship feel natural and organic once they all come together. I could feel how much these guys cared for one another, how protective they became over each other, and how attracted they all were. Even Hudson’s new awareness of his attraction to women worked well, and so I really liked watching these three build something between them and finding love together. There are lots of tender moments, some hurt/comfort, as well as a strong sexual connection.
What I wished was better developed was the background on these three. We learn the most about Hudson, who we know was the victim of a violent attack. It is not detailed on page, but we do see the aftermath in his anxiety, nightmares, and PTSD, as well as hear about his suicide attempt. So I definitely felt like I had a good sense of him and the past he brings to the relationship. David and Leigh felt less developed to me. David’s past doesn’t come into play much, but we do hear about how he became a cop partly because he craves rules and order after his hippie upbringing. But while we are told a bit about it, I don’t feel like we got enough to really understand some of his issues or things that come up related to his childhood. But the bigger issue for me is Leigh, as her background plays a major role in the main story conflict and I don’t feel like we get enough foundation to understand what is going on. We are told frequently that Leigh isn’t like other women because she isn’t girly (as if all women are girly). And we know that her mother wanted her to be more feminine. But from that basic outline, we get Leigh having a major crisis of confidence about her inability to act and do things that other women do, and it felt just too unsubstantiated for such a big issue in the story. There are also some generalizations about how women act that bugged me here, including how every woman is a hormonal mess while pregnant. And while this might be true for some (and certainly for Leigh who was constantly crying), I didn’t love the generalizations. That said, I really appreciated that Leigh is considered a sexual person and physically attractive even while pregnant, something that is very rare to read.
Overall I really enjoyed this one. It has been a while since I have been in the Snowcroft world and reading this story reminded me how much I like it. The fourth book in the series is already out and features Law’s story, a side character who has been a major part of the first two books, so I am really excited about that one. So if you are looking for an entertaining MMF story, I can definitely recommend Intertwined Hearts. And if you are looking for a great series set in a small mountain town, I can recommend this whole series.