In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4) by Kristan Higgins

In Your Dreams book coverHere’s another Blue Heron book with a dog (the heroine’s)—and a cat (the hero’s) this time, which made me extra happy, as I’m more of a cat person. This is Jack’s book—the brother of all the Holland women paired off in the first three books of the series. With this one I finish off the series (I read them out of order), and I’m sad it’s ending. Higgins is as funny and real as she normally is.

Jack’s a fairly happy and chill guy, but things have gotten complicated. First, a while back his wife of only a few months cheated on him and now she’s back in town, wanting to get back together. But even more significant is the fact that a couple weeks before the book opens, he rescued four teenagers from a car in a freezing lake. All but one of them are fine, but the fourth is in a coma and Jack is pretty distraught about his failure to save them all. On top of that, the entire town of Manningsport, New York is treating him like a major hero, when all he feels is haunted by the last kid not being okay.

Emmaline Neal’s got a big problem, even if it isn’t in the same class as Jack’s. Her ex, who dumped her in a fairly unpleasant way, is getting married and has invited her to the wedding. She needs a date and everyone knows Jack’s always up for that sort of thing—doing a lady a favor. What she doesn’t know is how perfect the timing is, because Jack would do almost anything to get away from the hero-worshipping town. He’s even up for playing her pretend boyfriend.

So off they go. They behave like perfectly platonic friends until the last night there, when they end up in her bed. After they get back, Jack wants to date her. She is like a salve for his current heartache over the fourth kid. But Emmaline, having just been reminded of her own painful experience, doesn’t want to risk having her heart broken again. Eventually he wears her down with his charm and they start dating. They seem really good for each other, even if Jack probably is using her a little (as a distraction from his newly-stressful life) and she’s falling in love with him a bit too fast.

Add to this equation Jack’s ex-wife, Hadley. She insinuates herself into almost every date he and Emmaline have. Em is pissed off by how willing he is to accommodate Hadley, helping her out when she’s injured and so on, when Hadley’s obviously playing him to try to get him back. Emmaline doesn’t quite trust him with Hadley, given her past experience. Jack’s got to figure out a way to get rid of Hadley before Em is done with him.

This relationship was fun to watch developing. I really liked both Emmaline and Jack. Em is a strong character—she’s a cop, after all—but she’s got her own complicated history to deal with. Jack’s main challenge in the book, other than Hadley, is how to deal with the aftermath of the rescue. That is handled nicely, I thought. So I recommend this one if you want to laugh as well as see some people deal with some difficult issues.