All it takes is one little kiss...
In order to keep custody of her teenage sister, Tessa Scuderi told a small (okay, big) lie to the people of Lucy's Lake, Vermont about what really happened ten years ago when Dermot Finnegan took off with her virginity, her car and the town bell. It had been working, too, until she found her old car parked in front of her house, keys in the ignition and a telltale red hair stuck to the headrest.
... to totally screw everything up.
All Finn wanted to do was return the stupid car and get gone. But he stopped to save a burning pet shop (big mistake), ended up kissing Tessa behind the drugstore (big mistake, but worth it) and discovered that Tessa's been building him up as some kind of town hero all these years (gonna have to puzzle that out.) Now Finn has to discover who's behind a string of mysterious fires, but first he's gotta deal with the heat between him and Tessa. Hell, one more kiss can't hurt, right?
The Comeback Kiss has one of my favorite plot elements: the friends-to-lovers theme. Well, albeit with a long absence in between. Because of events that occurred that night that Finn left, Tessa has custody of her younger sister Izzy and is doing all she can to fend off the social worker bent on taking Izzy away. And now Izzy is up to something and Tessa needs Finn's help to keep her from doing something stupid. Well, more stupid than she's already done. And all this is requiring Finn and Tessa to spend time together.
What really shines in this book are the characters. Finn and Tessa are very likeable and you can see how they change as the story progresses. Finn really hurt Tessa when he left, especially when it was just one more horrible thing that happened at that time for her. There are also good secondary characters, from Izzy, Babs (friend of Finn's who stranded him), and local store owners.
There's a mystery element that runs through the story, but it doesn't detract from the romance and is an integral part of the story. Ultimately, this is a good contemporary romance. Now I have to go read Maybe, Baby since it's been sitting on my shelf for forever. Oh, did I mention it actually stands alone quite well? It does.