Jesse Garahan no longer believes in love. Until he meets Danielle Brockway and her tiny daughter, Lacey, on their way to their new home in Pleasure, TX. Danielle’s worthless ex-husband left her high and dry, and now she’s looking for a simple small-town to start over in — and then she meets Jesse. She just can’t seem to help herself where long-limbed, swaggering Texas men are concerned. Suddenly, life is anything but simple.
He found her on the side of the road, her engine spouting heat and steam, her delectable backside hanging out over the rim of the engine space, and her efforts to bring her engine alive once more accompanied by the concerned questions of her tiny daughter. Yet Danielle Brockway was a woman unlike any Jesse Garahan had ever encountered, and this quiet man, with feelings and emotions he would rather keep to himself, found that his life was never the same.
Readers who enjoyed the other books in this series have met Jesse Garahan, the youngest brother in the family and one whose heart had been shattered by the repeated disregard of a woman who seemed to encourage his affections but who, both times, returned to the arms of her not-real-nice husband. Go figure. Now Jesse is trying to find his way back to some semblance of normalcy, some way of dealing with the inner emotional pain, and some way to bring balance back into his life. He has come to believe that love just wasn’t in the cards for him, unlike his two older brothers.
This is a story that is built around the lives of two very hurt and disappointed people. For Danielle, life has taken her down the path of love and motherhood only to leave her high and dry when her rodeo-loving husband declared that he didn’t want her or her daughter anymore, that he was leaving their lives permanently. Danielle could understand his attitude toward her, sort of anyway, but she just couldn’t understand how anyone could take one look at Lacey and be able to walk away. Yet that is what Lacey’s dad did, and now mother and daughter are seeking some kind of geographical anchor to give them permanence and and new start in living. For Jesse, he knows that the ranch and his brothers are his solid grounding, but his life is hurting and empty, his heart broken and his belief in other people really decimated. He’s more than willing to give into his physical urges like any normal man, but his heart is definitely out of commission and likely to remain so.
Yet this story is filled with delightful moments that one little girl brings alive with her joyful innocence, her wide-eyed expressions of disappointment that her daddy doesn’t want her anymore, her acceptance of others without qualifiers, and her delight in experiencing now people and situations. And Jesse finds that while he is more than on the defensive where women are concerned, his defense mechanisms toward one little girl are null and void. She makes him her captive almost from the first. This novel, like the two before it, is filled with family and loving, with life as it is lived on a modern-day ranch, with people who know the ups and downs, the negatives and positives of human relationships and have known disappointment but lived to see another, finer day. This author has brought characters to life that will speak to the emotions and feelings of readers, will engage the imagination with fine descriptive passages that live in balance with personal interaction, making this a novel that is a joy to read and a story that is engaging. It is filled with the tensions of any living situation–making good decisions about the future, meeting the financial burdens of running a modern ranch, experiencing and making sense of human relationships at several levels, and recognizing the power of family to embrace and support those within that special circle. All in all, it is a novel that promises a good reading experience for those who love cowboy romance and fulfills that promise in every way.
Jesse’s deep hurt and disappointment figured in the previous book and readers knew that he was a broken and defeated man. Now his story comes alive and readers find that he has been given another opportunity to move beyond the hurts of the past. I enjoyed this novel so very much and appreciate the consistency that the author displayed in carrying one with the stories of the three borthers in this family. Series writing is not really easy, and this particular author has proven that she can do and do it well.
I give this novel a rating of 4.25 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.