Friday, November 7, 2014

Blog Tour, eARC Review, Excerpt: Bigger Than the Sky by Harper Bentley

Harper Bentley has taught high school English for 22 years. Although she’s managed to maintain her sanity regardless of her career choice, jumping into the world of publishing her own books goes to show that she might be closer to the ledge than was previously thought.
After traveling the nation in her younger years as a military brat, having lived in Alaska, Washington State and California, she now resides in Oklahoma with her teenage daughter, two dogs and one cat, happily writing stories that she hopes her readers will enjoy.

Title: Bigger Than the Sky (Serenity Point #1)
Author: Harper Bentley
Release Date: Sept 30, 2014
Find on

Five years ago, I left my fiancĂ©, hotter than hot Navy SEAL Kade Kelly, at the altar. 
No, I’m not an idiot.
Yes, I had my reasons. 
Now I’ve made a new life for myself working at a large firm in Richmond and I’ve left the past behind. Or so I thought.
Upon returning to my hometown of Serenity Point, Virginia, to take care of some business, I find that Kade’s now home for good and he’s none too happy about my being here. 
Two months. That’s all I’m staying then I’m out of here. Unless I believe the town’s pink-haired psychic’s prediction. Or embrace the sense of belonging I feel at being back home. Or give in to the emotions stirring inside when Kade's attention is suddenly on me. 
He scares the crap out of me. 
He thrills me. 
He used to tell me our love was bigger than the sky.
I always knew ours was a once-in-a-lifetime love. So how can he be so sure it can happen again?


After my squawk of surprise, I turn and see Brody Kelly walking across the street and I can’t help the huge smile that covers my face.

“Brody!” I holler and run to meet him, jumping up and throwing my arms around his neck for a hug as his encircle my waist and he spins me around.

“Thought that was you,” he says with a grin as he sets me back down.
“In the flesh,” I say with a smile as I look up at him, covering my eyes with my hand to block the sun. Brody was always such a cutie with his messy sandy brown hair, expressive hazel eyes and mischievous grin that always let you know he was up to no good. He’s around six-two, two-hundred pounds of rock solid muscle and I’d think he was hot if not for the fact that he’s like a little brother to me.

He walks over and whistles at my car. “Man, Mill, getting’ pretty fancy on us. Might wanna hide it in the garage tonight so no one steals the rims.” He grins down at me when I come up beside him and smack him in the arm. He looks around for a second and says, “Seriously, where’s Jeeves? Didn’t he drive you?”

“Shut it, Brody,” I reply with a giggle.

“Guess you’re doing pretty well for yourself then, huh?” he asks, a small frown forming on his face.

I purse my lips then respond, “Yes, I’m doing okay, I guess.” He looks at me out of the corner of his eye in a that was so an understatement kind of way since my car cost almost six figures. “Um, what’re you doing here? I mean, it’s like  you just appeared out of the blue,” I say.

He takes me by the shoulders and turns me to face across the street. I look at Pettyman’s Lumberyard, but that’s when I notice it no longer says Pettyman’s on the front but Kelly & Family Lumber and Construction in its place.

“Y-you bought Pettyman’s?”

He nods with another grin then asks, “So how long you in town for?”

“Not sure. I’ve got two months’ vacation time I’m using so I came to finally check out the station,” I explain, turning back to face it, my smile falling away.

“Aw, Mill, I’m sorry. They were good people,” he replies. “I know Harley feels terrible about everything.”

Harley Sedgwick, the local heating and air technician, had inspected the heater in Papaw and Meemaw’s house for years, telling Papaw on his inspection five years ago (the winter after my wedding debacle) that it really needed to be replaced. Papaw had scoffed at him telling him there was at least a good five more years in it. The next year, Papaw had neglected to call Harley to come back out and take a look, and Harley had been so busy that it hadn’t even occurred to him to check on them. The heater had developed a leak since the previous year it’d been checked, and my beloved grandparents tragically died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning on a chilly day in early November.

“I know,” I say. “I hope he knows it’s not his fault. Papaw was a stubborn old fool anyway, as Meemaw would’ve said.” I chuckle sadly.

He curls an arm around my shoulders to comfort me. The Kelly men and their protectiveness, I think which makes me sigh.

“So think you might be back to stay?” he asks looking down at me, eyebrows raised.

I huff out a laugh because that’s a ludicrous idea. “No. I wanted to see if maybe I could get the place up and running again then sell,” I inform him.

He drops his arm then nods with what looks like disappointment, which I think is ridiculous. He knows I’m never coming back.
“So how are you? How’s Piper?” I ask.

“She’s fine,” he says aloofly. Then he gets a shy look on his face. “I passed the fireman test. I’m a real-live firefighter now.”

My eyes now get big and I squeal, “Really? Oh, my God! I’m so happy for you!” I hug him again telling him his news is wonderful when I hear someone clearing his throat behind him. Still holding on to him, I lean to the side and look around his shoulder, and what I see makes me swallow down a gasp.

Dear God.

Brody’s older brother Kade Kelly.

Still hotter than hell Kade Kelly.

Kade Kelly who’s got a hard body that’s sculpted like a magnificent work of art.

Who has a large Celtic cross tattooed on his back with “Fiona” in the middle of it in honor of their baby sister who’d died at birth.

Kade Kelly who sings and plays guitar in a band.

Who took my virginity when I was sixteen and he was eighteen.

Kade Kelly who I left standing at the altar five years ago.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

In all honesty, it was the words Navy SEAL that got me to read Bigger Than the Sky, and? I'm so sad that I only discovered Harper Bentley's books now! The way this story was told, I want to get my hands on all her other books and hang my reading list out to dry. 

Amelia tells her own story in a chatty, curl up your knees with a hot cup of cocoa, kind of way. It starts out a little confusing, but then you realize that she was confused, too, wanting to marry Kade after nine years, yet scared of what life would be as a Navy wife. It's not so much a surprise that she ran, considering she was scarcely a kid herself. 

Five years later, she's matured a little more but discovers she's never outgrown her home town. Does she stick to her plans to just settle her estate or will the Kellys be able to convince her otherwise?

Kade has changed, seeming more cold and distant, more angry, but it's not a surprise considering how Mill left him. She's skittish now, less trusting, so will she believe what he has to say? The decision falls on her now: she can quit the security of her current job at her Richmond firm and leave everything she's worked for or she can build up what she's inherited, start her own firm, and open herself up to Kade once again. The answer shouldn't be so hard but she's risking everything she has and more. Again. 

The Kelly family itself is an interesting bunch. Cassie, Kade's sister and Mill's best friend, is one of the most real characters I've come across in a while. I love how much this woman is a friend to Mill and manages to balance the love she has for her family along with it. Then Brody. Can he fix his relationship with Piper and solve his problem, too? I have a feeling Mill and Kade are going to get very involved there. And what better parents can you ask for than Carolina and Lucas Kelly?

Sydney and Mike. Now there's another idea for a book right there. And I'm sure Peyton's got more of a story than what I can see up front. I can mention so many more characters that would make good book fodder but I'll admit they all made me laugh - and snuffle - and then laugh again. I think I'm addicted. 

I'm in for the long haul, Harper Bentley. Bigger Than the Sky is just the start to a whole series of books about the Kelly family and friends in Serenity Point and I do hope to read more about them, and a little more about Mill and Mr Bossypants. 

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