Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbeques, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.
Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents' wishes. They're only seventeen, for goodness' sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can't stand Ryder's nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn't exist.
But when a violent Mississippi storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma's and Ryder's true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
Jemma and Ryder have their whole lives planned out for them. By their parents. Because of something that happened during the civil war, their families were forever united; but never in wedlock. Since these were the first two of any generation that were the same age, their parents have decided that they will finally unite the both.
Unfortunately, both Jemma and Ryder have other ideas. She can't stand him, and thinks he's stuck up. He has no idea why she hates him, but ignores her because of it. Then things start to get even more confusing. Jemma's sister Nan has a brain tumor and must be operated on immediately. So Jemma's father and mother, along with Ryder's mother, Laura Grace (who is a registered nurse) take Nan to Houston for immediate surgery. Ryder's father, an attorney, is out of town on a big case, leaving Ryder alone.
And when a tornado and hurricane threatens Magnolia Branch, everyone decides the only thing to do is have Ryder stay with Jemma and weather it out. Jemma, who is resourceful herself, has already stocked a small cellar room with everything they might need. And in the space of a couple of days, these two will learn things about each other, and the truth of what is behind their feelings for each other.
Finding their way around the fact that Jemma has recently dated one of Ryder's friends; the worry for their homes and their families; the tragedy of a loss; deep personal secrets and pains; and the discovery that what they really wanted all along was right in front of them the entire time, help to show Jemma and Ryder that what is really important in life may not be so far off after all.
This book was a delight to read, and while it isn't filled with any life-changing events, it is indeed a recommended book for anyone who enjoys reading about life and people and the events that shape us into who we are.