Daisy's Back In Town by Rachel Gibson
Series: Lovett Texas #1
Also in this series: Crazy On You (Lovett Texas, #2), Rescue Me
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Daisy Lee Monroe thought she'd brushed the dust of Lovett, Texas, off her high-heeled shoes years ago, but she's come back home only to find that little has changed. Her sister is still crazy, and her mom still has pink plastic flamingos in her front yard. And Jackson Lamott Parrish, the bad boy she'd left behind, is still so sexy it hurts. She'd like nothing better than to avoid this particular man, but she can't. Daisy has something to say to Jackson, and she's not going anywhere until he listens.
Jackson learned his lesson about Daisy the hard way, and now the only word he's interested in hearing from Daisy's red lips is good-bye. But she's popping up everywhere, and he doesn't believe in coincidence. It seems the only way to keep her quiet is with his mouth, but kissing Daisy had once been his downfall. Is he strong enough to resist her now? Strong enough to watch her walk out of his life again? Is he strong enough to make her stay?
This is a hard novel to read at times. The secret baby plot is a lot harder to swallow here, because the baby in question isn’t really a baby – he’s 15. For me, it’s easy to forgive and forget when the heroine doesn’t tell the hero right away about a baby, but only if it’s cleared up early on. It’s a lot harder to justify after 15 years of silence.
I remember having an argument with a friend about Daisy’s actions several years ago. She couldn’t accept that Daisy had kept her son a secret for so long. I, on the other hand, understood Daisy’s reasons for not telling him in the beginning. I also understood how the longer she went without telling, the easier it was not to. I can’t say I agree with it or condone it, but I understand.
Daisy, Jack and Steven were the best of friends growing up. From 4th grade all the way through high school the three were inseparable. Although Daisy didn’t know it, both Jack and Steven were madly in love with her. For the sake of their friendship, they agreed neither would have her. Until Daisy turned 17 and fell in love with Jack, that is. Try as he might, he couldn’t resist her.
Their relationship was like a crazy roller coaster with high-highs and low-lows. Daisy would freak out and get jealous over nothing, then cling like crazy. Jack would push her away, then devour her. They continued on this way until Jack’s parents died. The months leading up to that Daisy was even worse than usual, clingy and insecure, and Jack kept pushing her away. What he didn’t know what that Daisy was pregnant. So when his parents died and he told her he needed to take a break from her, he wasn’t doing it to be mean, he just needed some space.
But in Daisy’s scared, pregnant 17yo mind, that meant he didn’t love her. So she did what she always did when she and Jack had a falling out – she ran and cried on Steven’s shoulder. Steven, being the upstanding best friend that he was, convinced Daisy she should marry him and let him take care of her baby. So she did.
On the night of Jack’s parent’s funeral, Daisy and Steven confronted him to tell him they’d gotten married – leaving out the part about the baby.
15 years go by. Steven dies and Daisy realizes she must tell Jack the truth about their son. She goes back to Lovett, TX (her hometown, where Jack still lives) to tell Jack the news, leaving Nathan (her son) behind in Seattle. All along Daisy always thought she did the right thing by not telling Jack, something Steven always fed into. But once she’s back she realizes she made a mistake – that she robbed both Jack and Nathan of a relationship.
I think one of the reasons this works for me is that Daisy realizes she made a mistake and tries her best to make it right. She doesn’t let Jack run all over her, but she understands his anger.
Jack is one of those over-the-top alphas who oozes sexual menace. While that can be off-putting in a lot of ways, it really worked here. I can’t exactly say why it worked, but it did. His anger at Daisy is completely and totally justified, as is his anger at Steven. When he realizes the enormity of their betrayal..well, my heart broke for him. Not only did he lose the woman he loved and his son, but he lost his best friends as well.
Watching Daisy and Jack move forward with their lives and come back together was really hard at times. I wanted them to work things out, but I wasn’t sure how Jack could let go of his anger. I worried that the resolution would come too easily, or that the true conflict would be brushed aside. But that wasn’t the case. Gibson did a credible job of showing us how that anger can eat at a person.
I was also impressed with the way Jack and Nathan’s relationship progressed. Although Jack knew nothing about Nathan, Nathan has known his whole life that Steven wasn’t his real father. That made it easier for him to accept Jack, but he was angry at his mother for not preparing Jack ahead of time and also standoff-ish with Jack because of his anger. Even so, they interacted really well. Nathan was glad to have a man to talk to, and Jack was glad to be able to act like a real dad.
“I know about safe sex,” Nathan said, interrupting Jack’s thoughts.
Jack swallowed. “That’s good.” He smiled at his son, vastly relieved that there would be no hard questions about his own sex life.
“What I want to know is…” Nathan stole a quick look back at the tent. “Where is the clitoris exactly?”
Jack’s smile fell and he opened his mouth. No words came out so he closed it.
Nathan had no problem forming his words, though. “And what the heck is a G-spot?”
Although the overall tone of this novel is serious, there is quite a bit of humor laced throughout.
“Mom,” Nathan called to her.
Daisy pulled her gaze from the tent and the fleeting glimpse of Jack’s bare back, the smooth planes and indent of his spine, the sliver of the white elastic just above the blue waistband of his jeans…”Hmm?”
“What’s a faaar ant?” he asked just above a whisper.
“Fire.” She chuckled and shook her head. “Fire ant. They have a nasty bite that burns.”
Nathan smiled. “Well, why didn’t he just say fire?”
“He thinks he did.”
The secondary characters really round out the story. Not only was I wrapped up in Daisy, Jack and Nathan, but also in Daisy’s mother and sister, Jack’s brother and all the other residents of Lovett. Daisy’s sister, Lily, and her man-hating troubles really added the perfect touch of small-town-Texas-Crazy to the story.
“I’m going to concentrate on getting better and raising Pippen. I’m over feeling bad about Ronnie. I don’t need a man in my life to make me feel important.”
“That’s true.” Lily really did sound as if she were on the road to complete mental health.
“Why should I base my self-worth on a man who counts his hard-ons as personal growth?”
Daisy laughed. “You shouldn’t.”
Lily pulled off a piece of tape holding a cotton ball to the side of her elbow. “Men are the scum of the earth and should be killed.”
Well, maybe not complete mental health.
Steven and his actions were really the only thing that marred my enjoyment of this novel. Gibson tries to make him an sympathetic character because of the way he died, but I had a really hard time feeling sorry for him. Although Jack and Daisy were sneaking around behind his back in high school, his betrayal was 50x worse. He deliberately stole Daisy and her child away from Jack, then continued to push Daisy toward not telling Jack the truth. Not that I’m saying Daisy was blameless, but I really felt like Steven was the villain of the piece. I was glad to see Jack get over his anger in the end, but I don’t know if I would have been able to. Steven’s betrayal was too big.
Although parts of this novel are tough to get through, it’s well worth reading. The individual struggles and hardships of the characters just make them that much more rounded and believable.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5