Sweet Southern Sorrow (Sweet Southern #1)
by Tessa Teevan
Parting has never been such sweet sorrow, at least not for Sawyer Callahan and Cheyenne Hamilton.
One summer forever changed the lives of Sawyer Callahan and Cheyenne Hamilton. Two very lonely people found solace in one another and in the end, fell in love. Unfortunately their plans for the fall took them in entirely different directions. Despite their best efforts, family issues and life’s circumstances got in the way, breaking both of their hearts in the process.
Almost six years later they find themselves face-to-face, and old feelings resurface. When the past collides with the present, will they be able resist the temptation, or will they finally realize that they’re where they’re meant to be?
Thoughts of my dad, school, and my future start to roll through my head. He expects me to take over for him at his company one day, and I guess, until now, I took it for granted. I knew I had a job as soon as I graduated college, so I didn’t give a shit when it came to my courses. Dad, unfortunately, suddenly decided to find his father gene and told me he wasn’t giving me a job just because I was his son. Apparently I have to earn it now. I don’t know when he changed his mind, deciding to actually parent for once since my mom died, but apparently having a son with a 2.0 college average was enough to make him care.
I try to push the thoughts from my mind and count the number of days I have left in this town. Too damn many, I tell myself. Drinking a little more of the lemonade, I realize I’m getting a little bit too warm. The water looks cool and inviting, and since no one’s here, I decide I might as well take a dip. Stripping down to my boxers, I look around and then laugh at myself. It’s at least ten p.m. and I’m alone. There’s no one here to see me naked, so instead of getting my boxers wet, I slide them off, putting my clothes in a pile by the tree. Entering the water, I’m instantly chilled, but it feels good on my skin. I’m not exactly used to lake water, and I’m a little freaked out about what’s lying beneath, but I man the fuck up and enjoy it. Lost in a back float, I stare up at the moon, wondering what the hell I’m doing here, feeling more alone than ever. Out of nowhere, I hear a small splash, causing me to jerk out of position.
I look around and can’t see anything until my eyes adjust. Lowering myself into the water, I only allow the top of my head, from the nose up, to be visible. All of a sudden, I see her. I can barely make out her figure, but I know it’s Cheyenne. She’s standing on the edge of the lake throwing stones in, and at first I think she’s trying to skip them. After watching her, I realize she looks angry and she’s taking her anger out on the water. I’m trying my hardest not to move so she doesn’t see me, but then something slimy slithers across my foot, and I can’t help the pussy-like yelp that comes out of my mouth. I see her stiffen and then look out into the water, eyes scanning the lake, trying to figure out where the sound came from.
I think I’m in the clear until I hear her. “I can see you out there, ya know. The moon is nature’s nightlight, city boy,” she says, a teasing tone in her voice.
Moving closer to shore, I stop when water is at hip level. I study her, and she looks like she’s been crying.
"What’s wrong?” I ask, unable to help myself.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?” she retorts, crossing her arms.
I instantly notice the way her breasts push up, and I can see the hard nipples through her tight t-shirt. My cock stirs to life, and it’s in that moment that I remember I’m completely naked in the water. Fuck.
“Well, for the second time today, I caught you crying. Either you’re just really emotional or you’re having a pretty damn bad day.”
“It’s my birthday,” she says, catching me off guard.
“It’s your birthday and you’ve found yourself at an old man’s lake in the middle of nowhere twice?” I ask, wondering why in the hell she’s not with family, friends, or even a boyfriend.
She shrugs and sits down in the sand. Dammit, she’s apparently not going anywhere soon. I might as well become a prune as I wait it out in the water, not wanting to freak her out by walking out naked.
“No one to celebrate with,” she says simply, looking off in the distance, and if I weren’t naked right now, I’d be joining her on the shore, trying to salvage whatever’s left of her day. I’m not sure why I care, but I guess it’s probably because I understand loneliness more than most people.
“Then you came to the right place. I’m no expert at backwoods birthdays, but I am pretty damn good company,” I tell her, and a light bulbs turns on in my brain. Gesturing towards the tree, I point at the thermos. “First things first. Go and get some of Wyatt’s lemonade. You’ve got to have whiskey on your birthday.”
As she starts to move towards the tree, I quickly swim to the shore, hoping to get out when her back’s turned. All is clear, and I don’t hesitate to cup my dick as I get out of the water. Before I can get to the tree line, she turns around and stops when she spots me, her eyes wide. Holding up my hands, I back away slowly, not realizing I’ve just exposed myself. It isn’t until I see her looking down that I notice I’m on full display for her.
“Umm, pretty girl, eyes up here. It’s not like you’ve never seen a dick before,” I joke, trying to keep it light.
“I…well, I mean, I haven’t,” she says, her eyes not meeting mine. “At least not in person.”
I can usually tell how much a book is going to affect me just by reading the prologue, and let me tell you, Sweet Southern Sorrow took me for a ride from page one. I mean, you know it's gonna be a good read when you're only a few seconds in and you already have tears forming in your eyes.
We start off with our heroine, Cheyenne, remembering her 8 year old self saying goodbye to her Daddy for the last time, then after shaking out of those painful memories, she's remembering her most recent heartbreak over having to leave the love of her life to head off to college.
Fast forward 6 years, and Cheyenne comes face to face with her long lost love, Sawyer. Of course the reunion isn't all sunshine and rainbows but I'm so thrilled with the way Tessa Teevan pulled it off. So many times I read a second chance love story and I have a really hard time feeling the love between the characters because there's so much pain, regret, and even resentment between them. Yes there's pain with Cheyenne and Sawyer, and yes, there's regret over what happened all those years ago, but luckily Sawyer recognizes right away that he wants Cheyenne again and doesn't let the resentment color his view too much, which is usually what happens in so many second chance romances.
Sweet Southern Sorrow bounces back and forth from present day to the summer Cheyenne and Sawyer fell in love. Usually I'm not a big fan of books that jump back and forth, but I feel it was necessary in this case. There's so much love between the main characters that you're really left wondering what could have possibly happened to tear them apart in the first place, and I feel that if that had been given away in the beginning, their story wouldn't have had such a huge impact.
I absolutely loved both Cheyenne and Sawyer throughout the entire book. I loved watching them fall in love when they were younger, and I loved watching them realize how much they still loved each other 6 years later. But most importantly, I loved that I felt their love. There wasn't a single second where I was doubting their love, or doubting their HEA.
There are only two things I didn't enjoy about Sweet Southern Sorrow. One being Cheyenne's Mom... What a piece of work that woman was! But every good story needs someone to hate, right?! The other thing? The fact that it ended! I would love to read more about Cheyenne and Sawyer. I'd love to see them get married and have babies, but it really did end perfectly... I was just sad to say goodbye.
Sweet Southern Sorrow was one of the most, if not the most, heartwarming books I've read all year. It left me happy and content, and I can't wait to read Bryan and Cori's story in Sweet Southern Seduction.
If I’m not writing or looking through tons of photos of hot men, all in the name of research, then you can probably find me curled up with my Kindle, ignoring the rest of the world. I love my sports almost as much as I love my books. My other obsessions include red wine, hot men, country music, and all things Grace Potter.
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Sweet Southern Sorrow for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.