Redwood Bend (Virgin River)

Redwood Bend - Robyn Carr (ARC from NetGalley)Katie Malone decided that the best thing she could do for her five-year old twin boys was to give them a better sense of family after all they had been through. (In Hidden Summit, she was shipped off from Sacramento to Vermont when her brother, Connor Danson, needed witness protection.) So, she packed up her belongings and moved to join her brother in Virgin River, at least for the time being. On her way up the mountain, Katie has a flat and Dylan Childress is one of four vacationing bikers who stopped to help. She specifically notices and recognizes him as a former child actor who she'd had a crush on as a pre-teen but she doesn't let on that she knows who he is. They later run into each other again at Jack's Bar and Dylan takes it from there. These are two people who are essentially in the same place but one doesn't know it. Katie is ready for stability, community and commitment. Dylan comes from such a dysfunctional family, he doesn't believe that he has it in his DNA to have a successful, committed relationship in the long term. But everything about his present life just screams solid and committed. Both enter into a "commitment free" relationship, knowing Dylan will soon be returning to his home and business in Montana. When the time comes for him to leave, neither can admit to each other that it was more than a "fling."There was something oddly comfortable about Katie and Dylan's relationship, even though it felt temporary a lot of the time and when it appeared to go south. These two characters were so really well defined you felt you knew the paths they were going to have to take to come to terms with each other, no matter how painful. It's not predictable but it's terribly honest. Carr took time and paid attention to the nuances of the characters and the developing emotions and ensured the details were in sync with their histories. Many of the characters from past stories appear in supporting roles to this romance. However, missing are the other secondary story lines that I find critical to each book, where the residents we've come to know and love have substantive roles going forward. Even some of the new characters introduced here could have had more page time (Dylan's grandmother, Adele; Walt the biker). It's a drawback though largely compensated for by the depth of Katie and Dylan's story.I was glad to see Katie get her own romance and this one was well done. I just hope we haven't seen the last of her and Dylan.