In my opinion most good stories start slow, and Magnolia Secrets does as well, but not for long.
There is a steamy scene that sets the stage for nice plot tension through the rest of the book; and as the narrative moves onward one can sense the "build-up", and that makes you want to read on to see what happens next. You'll be rewarded for your long bouts of reading by surprises at the end too.
The scene that stands out to me the most is worth mentioning. It is about midway through the book, when Evan is so angry with Lainey he won't (or can't) even listen to her. He will not trust her or listen to reason. For me this was the part that grabbed my emotions, and kept me fearing for Lainey, wondering if she'd be OK at the finish.
I like the plot, the dialogue is realistic, and the chapters set a good reading pace. This is a
solid story by Beth Hale, and I recommend it highly.