REVIEW: Two Nights to Forever (Orchard Hill Book 2) by Rebecca Crowley
Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but love just might…
Eve Klein almost has it all: a thriving career, great friends, and adoptive parents who’ve supported her in everything—including her quest to find her birth mother. She’s hired a private investigator, and while she waits for the last piece of her history to make her whole, she focuses on the most exciting deal of her career—a controlling share in Keller and Sons, a luxury watchmaker.
To most people Keller watches are status symbols, but to Saul Keller they’re handcuffs. He thought his brother had everything under control, until a distress call from an employee forced him to leave Wall Street and move home to Orchard Hill, Missouri. A year on, he’s shifted from trying to save the family business to selling it—and finally setting himself free.
Eve is Saul’s most exciting—and alluring—professional adversary, and he’s exactly the type of high-flyer she’s sworn to stop falling for. But when she needs his help to prepare for a Passover seder with her birth mother, the lines between business and pleasure become perpetually blurred.
Dear Ms. Crowley,
Yes, I’m late and circling back to this story now that Passover is at hand. New readers need not fear that they have to begin with the first book in the Orchard Hill series as I think they can be read in any order.
I loved the immediate chemistry between Saul and Eve. They’re both acquisitions types (Eve loves working for a women-owned, ethics-led private firm while Saul has made a name for himself in New York) who thrive on finding a business to buy and then making the deal. They think high stakes meetings are fun.
He extended his hand, ignoring his brother’s panicked expression. Eve didn’t reach for it, didn’t stand, and he could swear he saw a sliver of playfulness slide into her professional smile as she opened the leather portfolio on the table in front of her.
She was enjoying this, and that was sexy as hell.
She clicked her pen to life. “What’s your counter?”
In that instant, the atmosphere between the two of them changed, shifted from clinical professionalism to the hot, chemically charged thrust-and-parry of flirting. He arched a brow, unbuttoning his jacket. The tip of her tongue swept out to moisten her lips. They sized each other up …
Working out the details for the business deal brings them in close contact for a month as Saul, who had fled from his hometown and the family firm, makes sure that the equity firm will do right by the employees. There is a little bit of enemies-to-lovers here as, while he negotiates for the best outcome, Saul can’t give away how desperate he is for this deal to go through. A personal phone call that rocks Eve brings them closer outside of business hours as her PI has found her birth mother. Deborah’s invitation to her family’s Seder panics Eve who was brought up religious but maybe not as religious as she now feels she needs to be. Luckily Saul is ready to walk Eve through it the evening before.
The actual Seder turns out to expose Eve’s overly high hopes of easily sliding into this new family and instead of feeling like welcomed Elijah, she realizes she feels like an intruder. To help make it up to her, Saul invites her to his friends’ second night celebration which turns out to be the relaxed and warm (and hilarious but also meaningful) inclusion she needs. We also get more insights into Saul’s past, as a bullied nerd, from the friends who have known him for decades. And Eve sees a tight knit group who have supported each other through thick and thin.
“Are we all reclined and ready to go? Everyone sitting comfortably?” Josh asked from the head of the table, receiving a chorus of affirmation in reply.
“Wonderful. And now…everyone up! Wash hands! This is not a drill! Go, go, go!”
Josh played an air-raid siren on his phone as all of the guests stumbled up for the ritual hand washing, laughing and knocking into each other as they scrambled to find a sink.
I appreciate that the families in the story feel and act real. Saul’s family loves him but doesn’t quite understand him leaving for greener pastures while he’s never felt as if they see the real him nor appreciate that he has given up a year of his life to try and salvage the mess his brother has made of the company. Eve’s adopted parents have loved, supported, and adored her but seeking why her birth mother gave her up and trying to prove herself worthy of love has been that missing bit in her life.
The final conflict is built on what has come before. Eve feels that Saul will ultimately leave her as have all the men she’s been attracted to before and yes, he does want to be free of this family company that he’s always felt as a ball and chain on his ankle. They have to do some soul searching and self discovery about how they’ve viewed life and their issues before being free to start a real relationship. In the end, Saul finds a way to assure Eve that he’s there for good, forever. This is a lovely “feel good” romance with some slow boiling angst where I wasn’t left wondering “where did that reaction come from.” The stakes are there but so is the effort to get things right. B
And now a bit more from the fun second night with Saul’s friends.
It’s that time of the evening, my friends,” Josh announced, pressing his palms together. “We’ve drunk, we’ve eaten, we’ve recounted the plagues and relived the great Exodus. There’s one piece still missing—half of one, to be precise.”
“Afikomen hunt!” Mabel declared, prompting a chorus of whoops and pumped fists.
“The afikomen is hidden somewhere in this house—”
“In plain sight, so don’t go rummaging through my drawers,” Hanh interjected.
“In plain sight,” Josh affirmed. “And to prevent lollygagging and ensure heartfelt participation, I have also scattered extremely embarrassing photos of most of you. Eve and Jonah, you’re exempt, but if the rest of you don’t want the world to see you at your most awkward, I suggest you hustle.”
Eve turned to Saul with an arched brow. “Is this when you tell me you never had an awkward phase and we open another bottle of wine?”
“Hell no. Let’s move.” He stood up so fast his chair clattered, grabbed her hand and tugged her toward the stairs to the basement.
“Wait,” she said through her laughter, kicking off her heels, and jogged down the staircase after him”