I was hesitant about reading this book. I tend to want to read anything written by Maisey Yates - but on the other hand, I don't really like cowboys or small town romances. I grew up in a small town, around cowboys, and as a result of that constant exposure, I don't like either. So why read about things I don't like?
But still, I was curious about the story, I was intrigued by quotes and photos and even a theme song to go along with the book.
First chapter, I was convinced I wouldn't like the book. Why would someone return to a small town they disliked, especially when they had no family there or any reason they had to return? Sadie was going back to a place full of terrible memories by choice? Someone who liked to run and never settle down was signing a five-year lease to run a bed and breakfast? None of this made any sense to me. After the first chapter, I put the book away and read two other books. But then I returned to it. At least give it a try.
Well, by chapter four, I was thoroughly drawn into the story and couldn't put it down. All other plans for the day were put on hold so I could keep reading. Parts of this book were so good. And I'm not even talking about the sexy times - which were plenty good - but it was the other parts. Sadie learning to confront her past demons and Eli realizing he'd spent his whole life trying to save everyone. This book had me in tears more than once. It also had me laughing and cringing and then it made me angry.
In the beginning Sadie is returning to her home town after being gone for ten years. But as she approaches what is to be her new home, she runs out of gas, and a law officer pulls over to see if she needs help. Officer Eli Garret, the same man who arrested her ten years earlier, and the catalyst for what caused her to run away. Also, turns out that was Eli's first arrest. You never forget your first, right?
Sadie's back in town to open up a bed and breakfast, which happens to be located on land owned by Eli's family. Little bit complicated. These two can't seem to stand each other, until they realize that really they can't get enough of each other. They have some serious, explosive chemistry. The dialogue is great. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two realize how much they wanted each other.
For a while I was loving this book so much, was thinking it was one of the best romances I'd ever read. There is a scene (possible spoiler! Sorry.) in which Sadie finally tells Eli about what happened the night he arrested her. So incredibly heart breaking and so very well written. I was feeling everything reading this, the hurt and the shame and guilt. And the way their relationship developed after that, after all the secrets and been uncovered. So good.
But then something happened that pissed me off. Made me so angry and I considered not even finishing the book (for like three seconds, but still). She'd just been completely vulnerable with him, showing him the place she'd run to for safety when she was younger and he'd been so kind and understanding. Damn bastard had braided her hair. Then all of a sudden, something happens, and it was a big, bad something, but still, his response was to say, "It's over." This from the guy who was always so careful and controlled and concerned, and his reaction is to ditch her after seeing how much she wanted him, how much she trusted him?
I know this is a romance novel and I knew they would work it out, but at that point, I was thinking Sadie would have a happier ever after if she packed her things, got in the car and drove as far away from the dysfunctional Garrett family as possible. Suddenly living with no one but her cat and moving from place to place every year or so didn't seem like such a bad idea in my mind.
Also, I detest when some character who has no importance at all suddenly shows up bestowing invaluable wisdom. That's such a trait in small town romances - the all knowing elder or busy body, too observant neighbor. I hate that. To me it's lazy that the characters can't figure out important things for themselves and need someone who really should be minding her own business to show them the way.
The ending is sweet, and of course, I'm glad they worked things out, but because of the events right before the ending, I'm not able to call this one of my favorites. However, it was still a very good book.
I've already started reading the next book in the series.
I received a review copy of this via NetGalley.