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Would he still love her…if he knew?
Tanner Hayes smashed Claire's life to pieces when he chose the rodeo over her ten years ago. And now he'd wrecked her truck! Fantastic. She'd lost her husband, the family ranch was mired in debt, her father was recuperating from a stroke and her son was being bullied. Why not throw a reckless bull rider into the mix?
All she'd wanted was a safe, stable life. But with Tanner back in town—and staying on her ranch—nothing was safe, or under control. Not the feelings she'd fought so hard to forget. Not the son she was determined to protect. And certainly not her long-held secret…
Everything happened at once and in slow motion.
A crushing jolt shuddered through the truck. Her wheels skidded sideways. She smacked against the window when her pickup rolled down an embankment, as if punched by something large and lethal. Glass rained deadly sharp. The earth tumbled around her, her truck in spin cycle. When a massive tree loomed, the Chevy slammed into it then stilled.
Winded and stunned, she hung upside-down in her lap belt, blood, metallic and warm, on her tongue, a rushing sound whistling in her ears. Her heartbeat changed and grew slow and rolling in darkness. Something hurt, a long way away. Then nothing.
“Ma’am. Ma’am. Are you all right?” A man’s voice shouted, rousing her. She tried turning her head but pain held it in place. When she opened her mouth, silent panic flew out.
“Hold on. I’m getting you out of there.”
Acrid smoke pierced her consciousness. She closed her eyes against the billowing grit.
This wasn’t happening. It was a dream. No. A nightmare.
A tugging motion jerked her right and left, followed by a ripping sound. Large hands halted her sudden fall.
Her rescuer cradled her against his chest, his breaths heaving beneath her ear. After carrying her some distance, he lowered her slowly to the ground. Grass scraped against her stinging cheeks and she opened her eyes.
“What?” she croaked, then swiped at the trickle leaking from her mouth. A man wearing a cowboy hat hunched over her, his features blurred.
“You’ve been in an accident. We have. Our trucks collided in the intersection.”
“My truck!” She bolted upright and clutched the swirling ground.
An arm snaked around her back and eased her down. “I called the dispatcher. The fire department’s on the way.”
A wail sounded in the distance and Claire wanted to shriek with it.
Her special day. Her anniversary. Ruined. No. Demolished by this…this…
She squinted upward and focused. A dark swirl of hair brushed across the tall man’s forehead; a light scar zigzagged down his square jaw. Recognition zapped through her.
It couldn’t be…
“Hello, Claire.” His mouth went up, just a fraction—the same ready-for-anything smile that had once undone her.
She closed her eyes, heart thudding. Ten years since she’d vowed never to see him again…and now here he stood, two for two in wrecking her life.
Claire's heart has been broken more than once, and that has made her extremely cautious, especially when it comes to her son. With her family's ranch and her father's health on the line, she wants to take the easy way out and sell. Tanner left town to pursue his rodeo dreams thinking that success would make Claire want to accept his career, but instead it kept them apart for 10 years. Now he's back in town to help her father keep the ranch and help secure a future for himself, but once he sees Claire again, his plans start to change. I loved the way he instantly bonds with Jonathan, Claire's son, even though he doesn't know that he is his son as well. Tanner knows he wants a second chance with the only woman he's ever loved, but Claire does not make it easy for him. She is constantly putting barriers up, both with his plans for the ranch and for their relationship. Sweet and emotional second chance romance, I enjoyed it from start to finish, with the exception of Claire's constant worrying/complaining.
I received an ARC via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master's degree in English and was an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Blaze and Harlequin Heartwarming. Her novel, A LEAGUE OF HER OWN, won the 2015 National Excellence in Romance Fiction award in contemporary romance series and the 2015 Bookseller's Best award for contemporary romance, long.
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