REVIEW: The Way to Texas by Liz Talley
“Her stay in Oak Stand, Texas, is only temporary. After a series of setbacks, Dawn Taggart is giving herself one year to pull everything together so she can start over somewhere else. No putting down roots here. No romantic entanglements. No exceptions!
Not even the very persuasive Tyson Hart can change that. A contractor looking for a fresh start himself, Tyson is the type of guy who promises forever-‘and means it. But Dawn refuses to let those whiskey-colored eyes, that smooth voice and the broadest set of shoulders this side of Houston weaken her resolve. Her mind is made up. Now, if she could only convince her heart…”
Dear Ms. Talley,
Dawn’s character caught my attention when I read the first book in this series, “Vegas Two- Step” last year. She’s a veteran of a bad marriage and has the battle scars to prove it. And it seemed that her wounds would go deep since her entire life had its share of problems. So when I checked the upcoming Harlequin Super Romances and found it listed, I was a happy camper.
Some of the previous characters make appearances here, like Jack and Nellie, but in supporting roles that make sense. I love the initial “baby on the way” scene and usually I’m not a fan of “lets show how past characters are all fertile and happy.” Tyson is nervous, especially when – as he says – Nellie springs a leak but then he swings into action doing what men can do best in those moments – driving like a bat out of hell to the hospital. I like how you use this to also allow Tyson and Dawn to quickly get to know the other’s basic personality as there’s nothing like a crisis to get to strip someone down to bare bones.
‘Second chance at love’ stories are favorites for me and I like that both Dawn and Tyson have survived rough and broken marriages and are due for happiness. They’ve suffered and are initially reluctant to risk their hearts which means they also know where the other is coming from. And both have a teenage child which adds to the difficulties in working out their relationship. Add to that the presence of the previous spouses and our couple have their work cut out for them. Lots of conflict here but it’s conflict done well.
I felt the relationships between Dawn and her son Andrew and Tyson and his daughter Laurel were handled well. The children are at the stage where they still want their original familles back and are suspicious of the new romantic interests their parents have. They are close to the age when acceptance would come easier but not quite there yet. Their rebellion and back talking seem realistic to me. But I do feel that, however well you wrote the scene when Dawn explains things to Andrew and for all the basic truth of her arguments to him, his change of heart comes fairly quickly. Ditto for Laurel. They’re strongly against the romance for days or weeks then suddenly after one ‘heart-to-heart’ they both do a 180? It was just too fast.
Dawn and Tyson have the hots for each other but they also feel comfortable with each other even to the point of going into what went wrong – warts and all – with their first marriages and bad dating choices. As I mentioned earlier, I like that they both don’t want to rush into anything new and take some time to get to know the other. Dawn does toss up a lot of roadblocks and comes up with a lot of excuses which might have been a deal breaker had Tyson had less experience in relationships. But he realizes she’s been burned – more than once. And then there’s the fact that she thought Tyson might be on the rebound – and everybody knows that rebound relationships = bad. So I can understand her actions.
When Dawn has decided she’s had enough of men stomping on her heart – or so she thinks – she really lets loose. Because that’s one hell of a hissy fit, tantrum she throws. 20 years of pent up emotion are all that could account for it. But good for Tyson that he didn’t press the matter, that he backed off and then tried again in a more subtle way. Of course it helps when he’s got Nellie and the townspeople on his side.
So, let’s talk about the town of Oak Stand. All snickers aside, it still sounds like a nice place to live with nice people in it. The Senior Center could have been insulting or cutesy but instead shows that the seniors of the town still have life, humor and something to give to their community. I lurve seeing Bubba again. I hope that his character translates well for those who’ve never had the chance to meet a ‘good ol’ boy’ in person. They can be charming.
Forget a doctor or a lawyer…give me a man who can repair things or make them with his own hands. I love that in a man so I was already predisposed to love Tyson. Plus he’s a Tar Heel! Ahem, sorry. Where was I? Yes, Tyson is a delicious hero. And Dawn is well worthy of him – at least once she gets her hissy out of her system. I can believe in their romance and not just because the plot tells me so. I’m also looking forward to the at least one more romance in this series. B