Available from the Wild Rose Press
Release Date: April 24, 2023
Four couples, four stories: Darien Francis and Richard Li meet during a bank robbery, but she's afraid to love again. Shane Kenniston and Beth Parker are reacquainted years after she had a crush on him, but she is a recent widow, and Shane's life was upended by a false accusation. David Early and Kate Howard meet in the laundromat, but her life is consumed by the needs of her disabled child, and David isn't ready for the responsibility. Realtor Frank Ellison meets Kayla Barnes at an open house, but a mistaken first impression derails any chance of romance. Can they all overcome the obstacles to love?
"It's a good thing you're not attracted to me."
She peered at him, sniffling, and dabbed at her eyes. "You're not, are you?"
"Which answer will get me in the least trouble?" he asked.
She laughed shakily. She felt a lot better. "If you were before, you wouldn't be now." He gave her another tissue, and she managed to get most of the mascara off. He rubbed away a stray smudge with his thumb, and his fingers brushed her cheek. The soft touch was even more comforting than being held in his arms. She closed her eyes.
"Love stories that are thoroughly engrossing and thought-provoking." ~ Midwest Book Review
"A captivating collection of four romantic stories! In these heartwarming selections, relatable couples contend with the obstacles and challenges of love after meeting during a bank robbery, reconnecting amid tragedy, making bad first impressions, and taking on difficult responsibilities."
"One of the strengths of Reluctant Hearts lies in Griffin's ability to create believable and multi-dimensional characters. Each protagonist is flawed and relatable, and their hesitations and struggles feel genuine. This makes it easy for readers to become emotionally invested in their stories and root for their happily ever afters." ~ Gina Rae Mitchell
"All four stories are realistic in that they could really happen – and aren't all hearts and flowers....Recommended for those looking for quick reads with happy for now endings." ~ Sparkling Book Reviews
"This is a great book, four stories all following people who are not necessarily ready for love, but whose hearts don't give them a choice. If you enjoy a good love story, but don't necessarily have the time to read a full length novel, this one is perfect. You can read one story, and leave the rest for another time, or plough through them all in one day!"
~ Candlelight Reading
"The scenarios are nicely varied...These stories are pleasant, easy reading, and the setups, mostly, center on believable conflicts, characters, and situations, as Griffin convincingly establishes her cast's worlds, habits, jobs, and drifts of mind. Griffin's comfortable at moments of high drama and at the mundanities of life—the "stupidly molded, uncomfortable plastic chair" of the laundromat are as convincingly described as one story's first real kiss: "Not a gentle, comforting one this time, but a real, grown-up kiss." The stories take the point of view of one partner rather than alternating, and all but the first from the perspective of the male partners, who demonstrate respectful vulnerability. The strongest story, though, is the one with a female POV. Darien's agency and strength is highlighted while she and Richard both engage their trauma, building together towards an ending that satisfies and promises a hopeful budding relationship. Takeaway: Second-chance romance readers looking for simple but interesting setups will find these tales scratch the itch." ~ BookLife
"Reluctant Hearts by Linda Griffin is an engaging collection of four distinct short stories about finding love even when we aren't looking for it…Linda Griffin has a keen sense of timing and a knack for shaping characters that are endearingly realistic and so easy to fall in love with!...Each story and couple are so engaging that you'll be hard-pressed to choose a favorite...Fully in the realm of contemporary, the cast are working through issues familiar to all of us, adding that enchanting sense that good things can happen in our modern, problem-filled world. However, despite the difficulties the couples face, the romances discovered in Griffin's writing are as light and sweet as a lemon meringue pie. If you're looking for a gentle collection brimming with possibility, curl up with a copy of Reluctant Hearts." ~ Indies Today
"The four stories in this book are entertaining with solid characters and interesting plots. Each story is unique with different levels of conflict, emotional drama, or quirkiness. More of a happy for now, the stories give hope of second chances. I was hoping the four stories would somehow intermingle at the end, but the overall storytelling with well-developed plotting was an enjoyable read." ~ Still Moments Magazine
"All four stories follow the theme of being reluctant to fall in love again. They are short but packed with character growth, slow-burn chemistry, and friendship. Do yourself a favour and get a copy. The author draws real-life people in a short time frame." ~ Maggie Blackbird
"I enjoyed the slow burn romance in 'No Regrets.' Darien and Richard were both so busy recovering from their experiences at the bank robbery that it made total sense for them to focus on their friendship while they healed. The more I learned about these characters, the stronger my desire became for them to live happily ever after together. Their personalities complemented each other so nicely, and I loved the way they kept checking in with each other as their relationship progressed. They were both kind and respectful people who would make a wonderful spouse.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little hesitant to read 'Probation' because it featured a character who had been falsely accused of rape. The author handled this topic sensitively and fairly, though, and I soon relaxed...I was also intrigued by their blossoming romance and how that might affect both of their reputations as well...
The chemistry between David and Kate in 'The Shape of Life' was sweet and convincing. I started rooting for them to end up together soon after I met them. They lived very different lives at first glance, but their shared values made me think they'd be a fabulous match...
Everyone will start off on the wrong foot with someone eventually. It's an embarrassing but unavoidable part of life, so I was curious to see how Kayla and Frank handled it when it happened to them. I liked how earnest they both were and how much they worked on their friendship before anything romantic was stirred up between them. That was exactly what they both needed after the misunderstanding of their first meeting.
Reluctant Hearts was romantic and fun." ~ Long and Short Reviews
"Each story is fully developed with engaging characters, interesting occurrences, and a realistic romance.
The writing is this collection is flawless. The descriptive narration reels in the reader while the characters engage the reader. Linda Griffin specializes in realistic romance, and she's outdone herself with these four couples. This is no rose-tinted glasses kind of romance. Instead, the author brings to life modern day love in the current world we live in. It's a treat to read.
The characters are poignantly written with their own backstories. I enjoyed reading and connecting with the characters. The POVs are deeply emotional which added an additional layer to the story.
If you're jaded towards love and romance, I recommend this book to you. If you love reading realistic romance, you'll want to read Reluctant Hearts. Another romantic gem by Linda Griffin." ~ N.N. Light's Book Heaven