Dear Ms. Watt,
I love a contemporary that doesn’t ask me to put up with idiot behavior or a stupid premise that has to be explained every which way to try and get me to believe in it. Thank you for giving me such a book.
Now that his rodeo career is over, Kade Danning has nowhere else to crawl but back home. He wishes he could just keep his head down, fix up his father’s abandoned ranch and then sell it so he can afford to spend more time with his daughter. Move back, then move on–quickly. Unfortunately, after ten long years he can’t avoid Libby Hale.
Kade has loved Libby all his life and he’d give his championship titles never to have hurt her. But he did. And convincing her to forgive him is the hardest challenge he’s ever faced–in or out of the arena.
There are so many things I like about this book. A believable hero and heroine, a plot that makes sense, details that set the time and place and a couple finding a second chance at a love they both thought gone for good.
The way you handled Kade and Libby’s initial interactions was a breath of fresh air. No grandiose fights or flouncing or instantly falling into each other’s arms or too quickly working out the tangled up emotions that had broken them up so many years before. Also, Libby is initially mad and still angry at Kade but she doesn’t keep it up for that long – it’s hard to hate intensely for that amount of time – and she’s honest about that too.
The horse stuff seems well done. The training, the round up, the mustang stuff. Brava for picking an interesting career for Libby with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Libby isn’t one of these “save all the mustangs at all costs,” “they must run free” women. She’s all business with them, as she should be in her job. No false bleeding heart stuff – well, except for Blue but he’s the only exception and they have a history. The book doesn’t become a platform for or against wild mustangs, range grazing, or fancy ranches. And I’ve heard of the John Lyons horse training methods through a friend.
There’s enough background information on Libby and Kade’s childhoods to fill in all the blanks but no moaning, bitching or bellyaching – which makes sense for tough western people. And the events of the past – both childhood and as young adults – plays into how they acted then and now. Libby was afraid of marriage since her own parents were AWOL through booze and Kade didn’t want to be abandoned by Libby as he had been by his mother.
I like the bit where Kade calls Libby on whether sleeping with him got rid of her itch and she acknowledges that it didn’t. I also liked that she was initially honest with him that she still felt something for him – no false denials there – but that she would find trust hard.
Libby’s reaction to Kade’s daughter Maddie works for me. Maddie is, after all and through no fault of her own, the reason for Kade marrying another woman and Libby being hurt. Libby hasn’t been around children much and it would be hard for most people to welcome with open arms the cause of their past hurt. But Libby quickly sees that Maddie is a good kid and starts to feel a little more comfortable around her and with her.
Kade’s ex-wife Jillian also doesn’t become a bitch queen just for the plot. She and Kade had their issues but can talk to each other and honestly want the best for Maddie. Kade’s parenting skills are fun to watch, and make sense in that he does the opposite of what his abusive father would have done.
Joe Barton and his crowd are used enough for the plot but never take over the story. The amount of background stuff about the town and people is just right. The villain is gotten in the end but in a believable way – finding Blue’s registration to get Libby off the hook for horse theft and then stunting Ellen’s career advancement. The descriptions sound authentic and give the story flavor. They, and the way I like this story, have already enticed me to try more of your books.
When Libby and Kade fall for each other this time, I think they, and I, are both sure it is the right thing. Epilogues usually don’t work well for me but this one – and I love the teasing about pretending to fix something in the indestructible jeans – was just right. You have a nice, easy, understated way with the characters, some gentle humor and honest actions – nothing felt forced for the story and everyone had their good and bad days. And the action stays centered on Libby and Kade. Good job and thanks for the enjoyable read. B+