Dear Ms. Thomas,
This is the last book in a trilogy that doesn’t read that way. Which is a relief to me as I hate jumping into a series and feeling over my head with past characters and situations. After reading the middle book, The Cowboy’s Promise, I knew the book on the hero’s brain damaged sister would be up next and I knew I didn’t want to miss how you would handle this. As with the other books of yours I’ve read, it is with tact and believability.
Samantha Cartwright was once a no-nonsense tomboy who loved horses and wasn’t afraid of anything. Then she was kicked in the head by a rescue horse, spent time in a coma and then more time fighting her way back to as close to normal as she’ll ever get. Physically she looks fine but she copes by taking notes, making lists and trying to stay calm in the face of trying situations. Since the accident, her overprotective father, wealthy oil baron Dominick Cartwright, has tried to smooth her path but Sam knows she if she wants to obtain her dream, she’ll need to reach for it herself.
Her initial meeting with financial advisor Wade Dawson is a step on her way to achieving her dream of opening a horse rescue operation. It’s a step towards an ulcer for him as he discovers that somehow, Sam’s multimillion dollar trust fund has been emptied. Wade decides to cover the expenses Sam is accruing with his own money while he searches for whoever tapped the account. And if that also means he has to do some physical labor trying to help get her rundown property in shape, so be it. But as their attraction for each other grows, each only sees obstacles in the way of a potential romance. Is there a chance for them and Sam’s dream to come true?
First off, though Dominick Cartwright isn’t onstage much, I loved him. Here’s a man who is confident in his power and authority and it’s easy to see why he’s such a mover and shaker in the oil business and in the state of OK. But…he loves his daughter and still worries about her and how she’ll get on in the world. He’s concerned about her – and has slightly smothered her to some extent – but can recognize that a man truly loves her and is willing for her sake to push the romance and step back for her to reach for her dream – both the horse ranch and a relationship. In a world of idiot, moron romance fathers, he’s a winner.
I also love the image of the matching geeky nerd father and son. Bravo that Wade recognizes his son’s intelligence and fosters it but at the same time, still worries about making sure Luke can relate to other children and has some kind of social network. And thank goodness that when there is an issue with Luke and Sam, and from all the mentions of a child in Sam’s past I knew this was coming, Wade still believes in Sam, doesn’t blame her since she did everything right and reassures her that it was mainly Luke’s fault for not following her clear directions and warnings. There are no breakdowns in their relationship over this is what I’m trying to say and I truly appreciate it.
Sam is a heroine who fits both choices in our recent poll on heroines: perfect or flawed. She’s a woman who is beautiful enough to make men who pass her in the street turn and look until they accidentally walk into a wall but she’s also flawed with her memory lapses due to her head injury. And unlike so many “flaws” in romanceland this one is major and permanent. There’s no quick fix for Sam but she’s got coping mechanisms already in place that help her deal with her life as it always will be. Bully for her that she’s got the gumption to reach for her dream of a rescue horse ranch, that she’s tried to research it and make sure she’s covered all her bases, that this isn’t just a rich girl whim but a deep seated desire and that she’s overcoming her remaining fear of horses.
You handle the previous couples from the first books in the series just the way I like. We see they’re happy, they take a small part in this book in a way that fits this book and then that’s it. As such I feel that anyone could start with any of these books and not feel lost or annoyed.
This is a fast romance but you make it clear that Sam feels that Wade likes her as she is, is good for her and just plain makes her feel good about herself: complete, whole and perfect. I like that Wade stops to consider how his relationship with Sam will affect Luke and makes sure it’s okay with his son. Wade tells Sam that most women see his as a geek but in Sam’s eyes, he’s sexy and desirable. And all guys want that.
I do question Wade’s ethics – just a bit. I can understand why he wanted to wait until he’d spoken with his uncle before spilling all the beans but once that was done, to wait any longer irked me. Yes, he did eventually come clean about it and I give him major points for going straight to Dominick and fessing up but that little bit of time makes me squirm for him. I do hope Dominick Cartwright dishes out hell where it’s needed.
This is a fast, enjoyable read which is a nice wrap up of this series. I like that you’ve created a heroine with problems that won’t be solved with any quick fix. And a hero who is a cowboy wannabe underneath his geeky exterior. I like that each of them stretches their limitations and finds something wonderful in the other. If only Wade had confessed his cover up earlier…but the book is still a B for me.