“A shepherd’s hut, twenty-four hours, a stranger…” It’s not the perfect start to Gemma Winters’ new life—another man is the last thing she needs after the suffocating control of her ex. But, when she finds herself isolated with a ruggedly handsome stranger, the demands of her body take over.
Since his wife died, Callum Mackenzie’s relationships have been strictly practical, with his only real love affair being with his land. But his family wants him to re-marry and he wants heirs. When Gemma turns up, he begins to think marriage might be a possibility after all.
Their twenty-four hours of passion has shattering consequences—marriage and two people who are forced to face their worst fears.
This second novel in The Mackenzies series features the second Mackenzie brother, Callum–a man with a deep well of fear of being hurt based on the betrayal and death of his wife and infant son many years before meeting a woman whose life is endangered by a flash flood, the kind for which New Zealand is famous. And it is in the context of that emergency situation, stranded in a temporary shelter with a man who doesn’t appear to be too welcoming other than the fact that he saved her life, that Gemma Winters begins her new life. Running from an oppressive and ultra-controlling ex, Gemma is masquerading as the heiress of a piece of property and an falling down house, property that Callum’s family have been wanting for years. But that is all still in the background when the fires of sexual attraction ignite between Callum and Gemma. The core of the story is how these two people respond to challenges that grow out of that short span of time, of how their fears and past hurts seem to stunt their ability to respond in healthy ways, preventing them from tapping those inner wells of authentic caring and love they both possess.
I really enjoyed book one in this series about Callum’s brother — The PA’s Revenge — and I was delighted when the author sent me this book to read and review. Ms Fraser writes with the sure touch of someone who knows this context being a New Zealand resident herself. She writes as one who also seems to have her finger on the pulse of human experience, writing about feelings and relationship with a sure hand and crafting a story that hangs together well and moves forward without those annoying “stalls” that plague some stories. I think the author also accurately portrayed that sense of hopelessness that surrounded both Gemma and Callum to such an extent that they just couldn’t get past each other’s walls. The resolution will be surprising to readers as it was to me. I’m hoping that there will be more about this fascinating family in the future.
This is a fine piece of writing and has resulted in a novel that deserves to be read and appreciated. It is a very nice look at life in a country many of us find unfamiliar and thus fascinating. It is also an intense romance read that will drag the reader into the lives of the characters in a way that absorbs the attention, the kind of read I really like. Don’t miss this one. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.