Really good book. Kensington starts off the book really ticked off. The House of Steele security firm has just lost another job to Jack Andrews. So wh...moreReally good book. Kensington starts off the book really ticked off. The House of Steele security firm has just lost another job to Jack Andrews. So when Jack shows up at her office she's not inclined to listen to anything he has to say - until he tells her that he needs her help. She's still wary but he's pretty much challenged her to accept. I loved the sparks that flew from the moment he arrived. She is definitely attracted to him but there's something about him that irritates her too. Jack is attracted and intrigued. He takes her to a jewelry store he's investigating and is very impressed by her quick thinking. Jack enjoys flirting with her and making no secret of his attraction to her, while Kensington tries her best to keep him at arm's length.
The Italian government has asked their help in investigating a corrupt diplomat who is suspected of drug trafficking and diamond smuggling. Kensington and Jack each have specific strengths that they will have to use to determine what is going on. I especially liked Kensington's abilities to find out almost anything via the computer. She really surprises Jack with some of the things she finds out. There are quite a few twists and turns to the revelation of exactly what is happening and who is behind it. I have to admit I had my suspicions fairly early and couldn't understand how they had neglected to suspect that person.
From the investigation of the first murder to the final confrontation the danger keeps increasing. I was pretty sure who was behind it all, but there were times I wondered about whether certain other characters were involved. There was one that kept me wondering until the very end.
Both Jack and Kensington occasionally have a hard time keeping their minds on the case. The heat between them keeps increasing even as they battle the issues that could keep them apart. Kensington fears the loss of loved ones because of losing her parents when she was young. She tends to use work to keep people at a distance and protect herself. Jack works alone, also not letting people get close. His mother abandoned him and his sisters when they were young and he still blames himself. His coping strategies are pretty interesting and I loved Kensington's reaction to them. Neither of them shares their pasts easily but it means more when they do. One thing that both had in common was their love of and closeness to their families. I really enjoyed Jack's sister's comments to him about Kensington, and Kensington's siblings all had a few things to say also (loved Rowan's comments about Jack's butt). The epilogue was a nice conclusion to the book.(less)
This sucked me in from the first page and didn't let go until I'd finished. Cooper was checking up on an ex EOD agent who had been out of contact for...moreThis sucked me in from the first page and didn't let go until I'd finished. Cooper was checking up on an ex EOD agent who had been out of contact for awhile. With agents being murdered his job was to warn them what was happening. In this case he was too late, arriving just after the man was killed. As he was investigating Gabrielle showed up and Cooper was barely able to escape without being seen. When she then showed up at yet another murder scene, Cooper realizes that she's investigating the same thing he is and it has put her in danger. He's determined to keep her safe even if he has to reveal some of his secrets. And it would be all too easy to do that as there is something about Gabrielle that is really messing with his focus.
I really liked Gabriella. She is determined, focused, and very smart. Because of the violent death of her father and the fact his killer had never been found, she uses her investigative powers to help the victims get justice. She had a relationship with a local cop that didn't work out, but she shares what she finds out with the cops to help them solve their cases. She figured out a connection between murdered women and the agents (though she didn't know they were agents) that Cooper and the EOD hadn't because she was looking at a different angle. All she knew about Cooper at first was that he was there when she needed him. When she started receiving threatening calls and attacks, she asked for his help in keeping her safe. She begins to trust him as she goes about checking out leads for her story. There's also an intense attraction between them that is trying to distract her. I loved her focus and the way she wasn't going to let anything stop her from finding out what she needed to know. She knows Cooper is hiding something from her and when she finds out what it is there is a certain amount of betrayal in what she feels. I loved the way she stood up to everyone at the EOD office, including Mercer. I liked seeing her give Cooper the chance to talk to her about his past as things started spinning rapidly toward the conclusion, and she realized that a lot of her anger toward him was because of the way she felt about him.
Cooper really surprised me when it came to Gabrielle. When we met him in the previous book he was the typical agent - cool, in control and ready to do whatever necessary to get the job done. In this book there are definitely cracks in that exterior. He has been frustrated by his inability to warn the agents in time to save them. Finding Gabrielle in the middle of both scenes wasn't doing anything for his peace of mind. He is also under orders to keep her from finding out about the EOD, though that doesn't work too well. He's pretty impressed by what she has found out so far. When she becomes the victim of several attacks his protectiveness ramps up. I really enjoyed his confusion over the way that she has got him wound up. He is not used to feeling so out of control around a woman and isn't so sure he likes it. As much as he'd like to lock her up to keep her safe, he knows that's not possible. I liked seeing the way that he supports her with what she needs to do with her job even though it's really hard for him. There was a great conversation with Mercer that really opened his eyes to what he was feeling and doing. The final confrontation put the finishing touches on them. There was a nice twist at the end that had been hinted at during the end of the previous book and is fully explained by the end of this one.
I loved the suspense. From the beginning there was always something happening that added to the tension. It was interesting to see the two approaches to the investigation and how important Gabrielle's information turned out to be. I liked the bits of the story that were from the killer's point of view because we get a little of what is driving him. It also adds to the chance to figure out who he is. There were a couple possibilities and I was happy to see I had picked the right one. I'm really looking forward to the next one.(less)
Another fantastic book from Maureen Child. I loved the beginning as Colton King is punched by Penny's brother, just before he finds out that Penny has...moreAnother fantastic book from Maureen Child. I loved the beginning as Colton King is punched by Penny's brother, just before he finds out that Penny has two children that are also his. Colt is stunned and furious that she didn't tell him. To a King there is nothing more important than family so he heads off to confront her about it. Penny has plenty to say about her reasons and she isn't going to apologize for it either. He wants to be involved but he has reasons he won't stay. Penny wants him to stay but has her own reasons for not depending on him.
Colton and Penny had met in Las Vegas and had a passionate week together. They got married the last night they were there, but the next morning Volt left, telling her it was a mistake "I don't want a wife. I don't want kids. My lawyer will take care of the divorce." Then he walked away and didn't look back. So Penny took him at his word and never contacted him. She's furious when he shows up and starts taking over. Even though she struggles to make ends meet, she knows she will do anything to make sure her children are safe and happy.
Penny doesn't want to depend on him. She is fiercely independent because she knows what it's like to depend on someone and then have them disappear. Colt has made no secret of the fact that he won't stay and she doesn't want to put herself and the twins through that emotional pain. But she also can't deny him the chance to get to know his kids so she lets him stay. I loved seeing him taking over everything as Penny recovers from her surgery. There's a great quote where he's talking to his brother about what he's been doing. "Never again will I say the phrase 'just a housewife.' How the hell do women do it? I've been here for two days and I'm beat. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of two babies... Women are made of way tougher stuff than us, Con. Trust me."
Colt finds himself getting more and more attached and it scares him to death. He feels guilty for something that happened ten years earlier, when he believes he let down someone who was depending on him. That ended tragically and he's been running from commitment ever since. Besides his love for the twins, he realizes that he has never stopped loving Penny. She has also never stopped loving him and though she knows he will leave, decides to take things day by day and enjoy what time they have together. The heat between them is intense and while both want to continue neither can easily let go of their fears.
When Penny confronts him about his upcoming departure, he finally tells her about his past. He is stunned by her reaction and the things she tells him. I loved the way she tried to get through to him and her actions when she couldn't. As seems typical of the King men it seems to take awhile for things to penetrate their hard heads, but when they do the results are magnificent.(less)
Excellent book. Dana has come to Bitterwood for a couple weeks to see her brother and meet his fiancee. When Doyle is involved in an accident that tur...moreExcellent book. Dana has come to Bitterwood for a couple weeks to see her brother and meet his fiancee. When Doyle is involved in an accident that turns out to have been deliberate she is determined to help find the culprit. To do that she's going to have to work with Walker Nix, a man she finds incredibly attractive. Nix is just as taken with her, but getting involved with his boss's sister isn't a good idea, especially since she'll be leaving soon anyway.
I really liked both Dana and Nix. Dana is a US marshal and very good at what she does. She is also a workaholic, using her job as a way to fill her life. As the oldest in her family, after her parents were killed in an accident she took responsibility for her two younger brothers. She blames herself for the death of her youngest brother and has never been able to open herself up to emotional commitment to another person. Dana's first day in Bitterwood has her accompanying Nix as they look for her brother. She is attracted to him, but resists because she won't be there for long. Investigating the accident with Nix shows them both that there is something going on that involves her family. The deeper they delve into her mother's past the more it becomes obvious that someone is hiding something big and they'll stop at nothing to keep it that way. Dana is determined to get at the truth and working with Nix is the best way to do it. I loved seeing Dana start to open up to Nix and share her feelings with him. Her guilt has been overwhelming until Nix shows her that she couldn't have changed what happened. Her feelings for Nix are growing too, but she is afraid of loving and losing.
Nix has spent his whole life in Bitterwood except for a short time spent in the Marines. He loves his hometown and the mountains. Working as a detective gives him a bit of excitement in his life while keeping him close to home. He hasn't been happy about the problems in the police department and is fully on board with weeding out the corruption. I like the fact that he has respect and liking for his boss. He's the one who takes the initiative to go look for Doyle when he doesn't show up where he should be. I also enjoyed his reaction to Dana and how he realized early on that she was going to be very important to him. I loved his protectiveness toward her, even though he knew she was capable of taking care of herself. Working with Dana gave him the chance to get to know her even better and realize that he wanted her in his life permanently. And that meant he was actually going to have to talk about his feelings too. I loved the ending and what he offered to do and how it all worked out.
I loved the mystery of Dana and Doyle's mother. Doyle had first gotten an idea that there was something going on during the last book and his investigation is what got him hurt at the beginning of this one. As Dana and Nix discovered more about what had happened the danger she was in increased. I loved the whole investigation and seeing Tallie come to life for Dana. The person behind the attacks wasn't a total surprise but there were some surprises leading up to it. I'm looking forward to the next book and seeing how it all comes together.
There wasn't much about the missing crime boss in this book, as it concentrated mostly on the mystery of Dana's mother. There were a few mentions of the ongoing search and investigation. I expect the next one will wrap it all up.(less)
Wow, what an incredibly emotional book. Jamie's husband Sam was killed in Afghanistan six months earlier. She is slowly recovering from her loss with...moreWow, what an incredibly emotional book. Jamie's husband Sam was killed in Afghanistan six months earlier. She is slowly recovering from her loss with the help of her husband's military working dog. When her husband's best friend turns up to check on her Jamie is glad to see him. She, Sam, Brett and their other friend Logan have all been friends for a long time. Brett had promised Sam that he would watch out for Jamie but he hadn't realized how hard it would be.
Brett had met Jamie first but he had a girlfriend at the time. By the time he was free and saw her again, Jamie was in love with his best friend Sam. So Brett kept his feelings locked down and stayed in the friendship zone. Now Sam is gone, Jamie is free and Brett's survivor guilt is killing him. He tries really hard to fight the feelings but eventually it all comes out.
Jamie desperately misses Sam but she knows she has to move forward. Brett's arrival is like a ray of light in the darkness surrounding her. His friendship has always been special to her, but now there seems to be a new intensity to it. Without Sam there to provide a buffer the connection she felt to Brett the first time they met is back and stronger than ever. Jamie knows that Sam would want her to be happy, but she doesn't know if she can convince Brett of that.
Soraya Lane does an incredible job of showing the depth of the emotions and trauma that the characters go through. Jamie's happiness at having someone she can talk to about Sam is clear, as is her initial dismay at the attraction she feels for Brett. She feels disloyal to Sam until she realizes that he wouldn't want her to stop living. She is surprised to find out that Brett has loved her for all these years. She is nervous about pursuing her growing feelings because she doesn't want to ruin their friendship. I loved Jamie's sensitivity to Brett's fears, and also her strength in not letting him hide them from her. Her actions in regards to his scars showed just how deep her feelings for him really were.
I loved the realism of Brett's feelings. He doesn't hide his grief over the loss of his best friend and his own working dog from Jamie. His inner turmoil over his long standing feelings for her make his mission even harder. He fights to keep those feelings secret from her until he just can't do it any longer. He also makes sure that she knows he would never have done anything to come between her and Sam. I loved the way that he kept trying to slow things down between them. His sense of honor also kept him from hiding their relationship from their friend Logan even though he knew what Logan's reaction would be. I loved seeing the way that everything worked out for them. The importance of the bond between the dog and its handler was also shown very well. I really enjoyed seeing what an essential part of the story Bear was. I especially loved the river scene at the end. I'm really looking forward to Logan's story.(less)
Fun book, but very emotional too. The night that Wynn and Grace spent together they thought they were complete strangers looking for a few hours of fo...moreFun book, but very emotional too. The night that Wynn and Grace spent together they thought they were complete strangers looking for a few hours of forgetfulness. It was quite a shock to run into each other at the wedding of mutual friends and discover just how far back their connection went. Wynn remembers what a pain Grace had been during that shared family vacation and has a bit of trouble at first putting that memory to rest. Neither can deny the intense attraction they feel and make the decision to enjoy being together for the short time they have.
Grace had been looking for a way to escape memories that night and found it with Wynn. Her last relationship had ended a year ago when the man she was seeing had died in an accident. She carries a lot of guilty feelings about that relationship and is avoiding getting involved with anyone new. The connection she feels with Wynn has given her a chance to move on but she isn't looking for anything permanent. The more time they spend together the more she gets to know him. In spite of their growing relationship Wynn still insists that there is no longer any place in his life for a family of his own. Grace sees how much he loves his family and his little brother and falls for him even more. When she realizes that he won't look at the possibilities of having a future she lets him know she needs more than he's willing to give and breaks things off. I really enjoyed the relationship that the two of them had. There was so much fun in the teasing they did about their childhood conflict. I really liked seeing how being with Wynn started healing her heart. I also liked the close relationship she had with her sisters and how helping her one sister also showed her how to move on from her own failed relationship. It was great to see Grace stand up for her own needs when it came to being with Wynn.
Wynn has a lot going on in his life. He had a breakup with the woman he loved when she decided she didn't want to continue their relationship. This caused him to entirely give up on the idea of having a family. I loved his shock at finding out that the woman he'd had that incredible night with was Grace. He still remembers the trouble she caused him and it creates some interesting conflicts in his mind. He knows that she won't be in New York for long so he persuades her into being with him while she's there. He finds himself having such a good time with her that he asks her to go to Sydney with him for his brother's wedding. Their connection gets stronger but he still refuses to admit that he's falling for her. It isn't until she walks away from him that he can accept his feelings and then he has to figure out how to fix it.
Wynn also has some stresses going on at work. As the head of the publishing branch of the family business he has to deal with the changes in the publishing industry. He has some ideas on what he wants to do but they go against everything his father believes it. This causes a lot of tension between them which is aggravated by an underhanded trick his father pulls. Wynn loses his temper and says something that his dad overhears that makes things even worse. There is also the question of who is trying to hurt or kill his father. There has been some progress on the search for the attempted abductor from earlier in the series, and in this one there is an explosion at the wedding. I have a suspicion now on who it is, but will have to wait until the next book for confirmation.(less)
I loved this book. Courtney has moved to town with her two kids to start a new life. Her son is having a hard time with the move and has been getting...moreI loved this book. Courtney has moved to town with her two kids to start a new life. Her son is having a hard time with the move and has been getting into fights. After his last fight she is given a choice of either signing him up to play baseball or having him expelled. She doesn't want him playing baseball but she's out of options. Travis is the Little League coach and a former ball player himself. He has plans of his own that don't include a family, but he has a hard time staying away from this one.
I liked Courtney a lot. She is the kind of mother that puts her kids needs before her own and is determined to do what is best for them. After the death of her ball player husband she has moved to a new town to start fresh. Her husband had been an excellent player but a terrible husband and father. At the time of his death he was deeply in debt and had been guilty of many infidelities. Courtney blamed much of it on the baseball lifestyle as none of the management or other players had done anything to help but had only covered it up. She doesn't want Josh playing the game but has no choice if she wants him to stay in school. Finding out that the coach is a former player himself makes it hard for her to trust him. If Josh has to play, she is determined to keep a very close eye on Travis. That isn't too hard for her because he is very easy on the eyes. She also discovers that she is attracted to him but when she finds out he is trying to get a professional coaching job she is determined to keep her distance. As the weeks of the season go on she realizes that Travis is nothing like the other players she has known and is very impressed with the way he handles the boys on his team. The attraction to Travis is mutual and they get closer as Travis spends more and more time with them. But she has never told him who her husband was and she is afraid of what his reaction will be when he finds out.
Travis was an excellent minor league pitcher until he got hurt. Now he spends his time as a PE teacher and coach while applying for jobs as a professional coach. He is aware of all the good that being part of a sports team can do for a troubled kid and offers a spot on his team to Josh. He doesn't understand Courtney's dislike of the game but manages to talk her into giving him a chance to work with Josh. He is really interested in her, but a family is not in his plans for the future if he wants to get back into baseball. In spite of his wariness he can't stay away from Courtney and her family. I loved seeing him get more involved with them, right down to caring for the baby. One of the things that impressed me most about Travis was the way he emphasized how important school is. He is also the type of coach that encourages the kids and doesn't say mean things to them. He is a fantastic role model and Josh's hero worship is completely understandable. Travis falls for Courtney and wonders what will happen if he gets the coaching job he has applied for. When he finds out Courtney's secret he's hurt that she didn't tell him and has a bit of trouble believing that she could actually feel anything for him when her life had been so different. I loved seeing the way that his goals and dreams changed and found the ending to be really moving.(less)
Very good book. Lexi came back to Ramblewood to work after ten years away, even though she knew she would be around Shane again. They had been in love...moreVery good book. Lexi came back to Ramblewood to work after ten years away, even though she knew she would be around Shane again. They had been in love but while she was away at school Shane had had a one night stand with a rodeo groupie. That woman ended up pregnant, so Shane broke things off with Lexi and married the other woman. He later found out that the child wasn't his and ended up divorced and childless. Shane is still a rodeo star and has also started a rodeo school with his family. Being around Lexi has shown him that he would really like to have her back in his life, if she'll only forgive him. But then something comes up that really changes their relationship.
I liked both Lexi and Shane, though there were times that he irritated me. He comes across as pretty self centered for a good share of the book. He is a rodeo rider and focused on winning a championship. He is also very charming and a flirt who has had the reputation of being something of a womanizer. He has admitted his mistake that caused his breakup with Lexi and would really like a second chance with her. He's finally gotten to the point where she'll speak to him, but he wants more. He is still in love with her but doesn't want to admit it. He is also busy with the rodeo school and he works a lot with one of the young students who ends up playing a huge part in the story. There is a really terrific scene with Shane and Hunter at the diner, where thirteen year old Hunter is giving Shane advice about women. Shane spends a lot of time thinking about his rodeo goal and also an offer to do a reality show and what they will do for him. Things seem to be getting better with Lexi when he finds out about a secret she's been keeping from him. He doesn't react well and Lexi really blasts him with some things he had never thought about. It was a real eye opener for him and really gave him something to think about. Once he adjusted to the news I loved seeing the way he and Lexi dealt with it together and how it made their relationship stronger.
Lexi had been heartbroken when Shane broke up with her. She transferred schools out of Colorado and rarely came home to visit over the next ten years so that she wouldn't see him. When she was offered a job back home doing what she loved she couldn't stay away any longer. Being around Shane is hard because she is still attracted to him. There are times that she sees changes in him, but she's not sure she can trust him. Spending more time around Shane and his students makes her think more about their past and the secret she kept from him. She never intended to tell anyone until it was discovered and she had no choice. I really liked the fact that she had made her decision for all the right reasons and stood by it even in the face of Shane's anger. I liked the way that she stood up for herself and told him off for his attitude. She had gone through a lot of heartache back then and also now as she searches for the truth. I really enjoyed seeing her able to work things out with Shane. The ending was fantastic.
I loved the part played by Hunter. He was a fun kid and pretty smart for a thirteen year old. I loved his hero worship of Shane, and also that he saw Shane as a real person who makes mistakes. It was fun to see him give Shane a hard time about girls. I loved his reactions to the birth of the foal.(less)
This is my favorite Cash Brothers book so far - they just keep getting better. There is so much going on, most of it dealing with expectations met and...moreThis is my favorite Cash Brothers book so far - they just keep getting better. There is so much going on, most of it dealing with expectations met and unmet. Marsha had had a huge crush on Will when they were in high school. But as the preacher's daughter, going out with one of the wild Cash brothers was not possible, until she talked Will's brother into convincing him to take her to the prom. That night she put the moves on him and ended up getting pregnant. But Will wasn't ready to be a father so she left Stagecoach to go to college, not telling him that she planned to keep the baby. When she needs to return to Stagecoach because of her father's health, she knows she has to tell Will the truth. To say that he's shocked is putting it mildly. When he compares his life to hers he's not too sure that he has anything to give them, but he wants to try.
I felt so bad for Will. He had never forgotten Marsha and was stunned to get her letter telling him about Ryan and that they were going to be in Stagecoach for the summer. He is determined to get to know his son and try to be a father to him. He remembers the terrible feeling of being rejected by his own father and never wants his son to feel that way. His initial meeting with her just emphasizes their differences and he feels terribly inadequate. Meeting his son only makes it worse. Ryan is incredibly smart and is a bookworm. Will was diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade and barely graduated from high school. He has learned to adapt the way he does things but fears that Ryan will be ashamed of him. Meanwhile, Ryan thinks that Will doesn't like him because Ryan doesn't like rodeos and building things. Will also has to deal with Marsha's dad's disapproval of him making it even harder for him. I loved the way that Marsha stepped in and sent Ryan to spend a weekend with Will without his ereader, expecting that they would have to find a way to communicate. It was great to see them start to bond over a shared interest in the way things work. It was even more moving to see the way that Ryan deduced Will's reading problems and how much he wanted to help his father. Will also found that his feelings for Marsha were growing as they began to get reacquainted. The attraction was still there but he discovered that he wanted more than that. His problem was trying to get past the feeling that he wasn't good enough for her. Just when he thought that he might be making some progress she would pull back because of her father's attitude. This left him feeling worse than ever. I really liked the advice that Johnny gave him and that Will was willing to follow it. The ending was spectacular.
Marsha had been a good girl all through school, fully aware of what was expected of her as the preacher's daughter. Her one rebellion was the crush she had on Will. I loved the way she got Buck to set up their prom date and then went after what she wanted from him. It was just her luck that she ended up pregnant. She told Will, but wasn't really surprised by his reaction. She didn't tell her parents before she left for college, determined that she would keep the baby and prove to them that she could handle it all. She didn't tell them until after Ryan was born, and didn't tell them who the father was. Over the next fourteen years she didn't forget Will, but was very careful that he didn't find out about Ryan. When her dad got cancer she took Ryan and went back to Stagecoach, determined to finally tell Will about Ryan so they could get to know each other. She also had to confess to her parents about who Ryan's father was. I have to say that for a preacher who was supposed to be all about God's love, her dad was horribly judgmental, especially considering he didn't really know Will at all. It also bothered me that Marsha didn't do more standing up to him in defense of Will. She spent an awful lot of time putting her dad's feelings first. I did like the way that she was determined that Will and Ryan would spend time together. She was really frustrated by the way that Ryan behaved around Will. I loved the way that she forced him into it at first and then made it easy for them to spend time together once they had connected. Marsha also had her own feelings that she had to come to terms with. Now that she had done it, she felt very guilty for not telling Will sooner that she had kept Ryan. She also knew that she was falling for him all over again. She really wanted to be with Will, but she kept letting her father's attitude come between them. I ended up with more respect for her father when she had it out with him and he pointed out some things to her that she hadn't considered.
One of the best things about this series is how the importance of family is so clear. Whatever else happens, they are always there for each other. That makes the trouble between Will and Buck that much worse. I'm looking forward to the next book, hoping that they are able to make peace with each other.(less)
Lovely conclusion to the Cadence Creek series. Amy is tired of being the focus of everyone's scorn and gossip and just wants to get away. When she fin...moreLovely conclusion to the Cadence Creek series. Amy is tired of being the focus of everyone's scorn and gossip and just wants to get away. When she finds out that Jack needs a temporary assistant at his guest ranch, she offers her services. She's attracted to him but she has plans for her future and he's not part of them. Meanwhile, Jack is just as attracted but he doesn't do relationships so he's going to try to keep his distance.
I liked Amy and Jack, though each of them irritated me at different times. Amy has the reputation of being a flirt, flighty and fast. Her father left them when Amy was small and her mother has been depressed and withdrawn ever since. Amy seems to be desperate to find someone who will love her and has dated almost every man in town. While at a wedding she hears yet another person make an unkind comment about her and runs away in tears. Jack comes to her rescue, taking the time to tell her that she is a better person than they give her credit for. A couple weeks later she has taken his words to heart and made the decision to change her life by going to school. When she finds out he is in a bind and needs some help at his ranch, she offers to help out. She knows she can do a good job for him if she can just keep her mind on the job and off her attraction to him. I loved seeing her really get into the job. It was obvious that she was really good at it and once she got over her fear of making mistakes she enjoyed it. She also discovered that the millionaire CEO was a whole different person when they were there, and that he was very hard to resist. Spending time with him and getting to know him, she begins to fall for him, even though he's made it very clear that he isn't relationship material. I loved the growth she showed as she finally began to trust herself and stop letting the past rule her. I really liked seeing her stand up for her own needs and believe that she deserved someone who wanted her and needed her for herself. There was one place that had me in tears as she made the decision to move on and then again as they finally found their HEA.
Jack is in Cadence Creek for his brother's wedding when he comes to Amy's rescue. Because he doesn't know her he isn't aware of her reputation until he hears the comment that upsets her. Jack takes the time to talk to her, find out a little bit about her and show her that she's more than what they think she is. When he comes back to town a couple weeks later he shares his dilemma with her and is surprised by her offer to help. Having noted their attraction to each other, he makes sure she knows that he doesn't do relationships, but that he is happy to have her help. Once they've arrived in Montana he is amazed by how different she is and seriously impressed by her abilities. He begins to regret his insistence that they not get involved, especially when he has such a good time showing her how to have fun. Jack was terribly hurt years earlier when he fell in love with a woman who then broke his heart. He's been afraid ever since then to trust another woman with his heart. Being around Amy makes him think of things that he hasn't considered in a long time, but he just can't let go of his fears. By the end of two weeks I just wanted to kick him in the butt and tell him to suck it up. After the night they had together he treated her so badly I thought he was lucky she didn't run him over with a large vehicle. Even after she left he couldn't bring himself to admit how he felt about her, and made things even worse later on. I completely loved seeing his brother tell him what a complete idiot he had been. I loved it when he said "Get out of here. Your romantic woes are annoying my cows."
I loved the depth of emotion throughout the book. I could feel Amy's hurt at the wedding, her embarrassment when she got lost in Montana, her happiness and then disappointment after New Year's Eve, and then her steely determination to get on with her life. Each one was appropriate to the scene, and fully believable. Meanwhile, I could appreciate Jack's encouragement of Amy at the wedding, and his attraction to her at the time was obvious but controlled. It wasn't until they got to Montana that his vulnerability became more obvious. He was desperately fighting his growing feelings for Amy. His deep seated hurt over the tragedy of his past was truly heartbreaking, and his bone deep fear was paralyzing for him. It definitely made the ending that much more satisfying.(less)
Very good book. I loved the intensity between the two. Jessi and Allan have struck sparks from each other ever since they met, first when their best f...moreVery good book. I loved the intensity between the two. Jessi and Allan have struck sparks from each other ever since they met, first when their best friends married and now that his family's company has taken over her famly's company. Due to a long standing family feud there are bad feelings on both sides. When those friends are killed in a car crash Jessi and Allan are named as coguardians of baby Hannah and must find a way to work together. As they leave business behind in order to concentrate on the baby things start to change between them and neither knows quite how to deal with it.
Jessi knows her marketing job with the new company is on the line and that the new owners really want to remove all Chandler influence. As she's in the middle of preparing a new proposal she and Allan learn that their friends have died and named them as guardians for their daughter. As they head for North Carolina Jessi starts to see a different side to Allan, one that's far more appealing than the cold businessman she is familiar with. The lowering of some of their barriers also allows the chemistry they've been fighting to get a stronger hold on them. Jessi has always considered herself the loner of the three sisters and has worked hard to keep her emotions under control. She is nervous about taking care of Hannah because she's never been comfortable around children. I loved the way that she jumped right in, in spite of that nervousness. She usually feels like she doesn't know what she's doing, but she does a great job of figuring things out. She admits to some envy at the way Allan always seems to know what to do. I loved her reaction when she found out he was reading baby care books on the sly. Jessi finds that her feelings about Allan are changing the longer they spend together. She really opens herself up to him but also fears that she's depending on a man who doesn't believe in love. I loved the way she stood up to him at the end and called him on his denial of what they had come to mean to each other. I also loved the way she responded to the business challenge and didn't make things easy on Allan.
Allan prides himself on his iron control of his feelings. He refuses to allow himself to have strong emotions after seeing the way his father allowed his emotions to control his life. Jessi has caused all kinds of reactions in him for a long time. He still hasn't forgotten the one steamy kiss they shared at their friends' wedding, and the sparks they still generate are intense. Finding out about the deaths of his friends has put him in a very vulnerable place. He needs to reinforce his walls and challenges Jessi to prove to himself that his control is just as strong as ever. He discovers that when it comes to Jessi that control just isn't there. Later on, sharing their grief makes him realize that he actually likes her quite a lot and that worries him even more. He knows his cousin wants Jessi out of the company and feels that would be best for him also, to get her away from the temptation she is. Working together to take care of Hannah causes even more conflict within him. He is beginning to like having her around every day and she's affecting the way he thinks of the direction his life is heading. The closeness they experience during the hurricane scares him and makes him feel more vulnerable than ever. Knowing that no one ever stays around in his life, he uses the business as a wedge to push Jessi away. I loved seeing him realize that Jessi had been right when she called him a coward and how he feared that he had lost her forever. The boardroom scene at the end was great.
I'm really looking forward to the next book. Kell and Emma are the ones left and I expect their story is going to be great. With his attitude the way it is I'll bet that he's going to fight hard and fall hard.(less)