Phoebe was living her life in Boston as a financial analyst when a photo taken without her permission went viral. She lost her job and her girlfriend and retreated to her late grandmother’s cabin in Vermont to get it ready for renters. As a teen, Phoebe used to spend summers with her grandmother and it was during one of those summers that she fell for Taylor. Everything about Taylor at the time was confusing and wonderful and secretive, and when Phoebe wasn’t ready for more, she left one summer without another word to Taylor and neither of them has ever quite gotten over it.
Taylor still hikes the trials near Phoebe’s family’s cabin and helped Phoebe’s grandmother tend the garden. Running the local animal shelter is her passion and Taylor wants more space to help more animals. The cabin always felt like home to her, even after Phoebe broke her heart, and she wants to buy the cabin from Phoebe’s family. But now that Phoebe has returned, it doesn’t seem like that will be a possibility and Phoebe brings back all those feelings Taylor has tried to outrun over the years. The attraction between the two of them is still there, but there are dogs that need foster homes and Phoebe needs a job and the women live in two different states. Taylor and Phoebe will have to lay it all on the line to finally have the home together they both know is their future.
Hideaway is part of the Vino and Veritas collection, a set of multi-author stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order featuring the Vino and Veritas wine bar and bookstore.
Phoebe and Taylor’s story is a quiet, small town romance. They were friends as teens and secretly dated one summer, but Phoebe wasn’t sure who she was at a young age and didn’t know how to handle the feelings she had for Taylor. The women have gone on and built lives, but they still haven’t found the relationship that clicks like they did together.
Their story is slow moving and mostly drama free. Taylor runs the animal shelter and is committed to the animals and there are dogs and cute puppies to be seen here. The women reconnect and while the spark of attraction and the familiarity is there, Taylor knows Vermont is her home and is reluctant to open herself up only to wind up getting hurt again when Phoebe returns home.
We see the women in a lot of day-to-day activities as they work to repair their friendship. The story was all rather even and flat for me, however. Taylor and Phoebe both seem like perfectly nice women, but the entire story lacked emotion for me. Every scene read the same, whether it was from Phoebe’s or Taylor’s POV, and where there was supposed to be heat or worry or any emotion, it didn’t come through.
Phoebe gets a job singing at the wine bar and that’s how this book ties into the series, but the story does stand on its own. Phoebe and Taylor were fine and their small town story was also fine, but their story didn’t stand out or leave any lasting impression on me.