A bigger challenge than she expected!
Shae McArthur once had it all. Perfect job, perfect fiancé. And when she lost everything, it was her own fault. Now she's starting from scratch with one last project -- turning the Bryan Ranch around. If she succeeds, maybe she can pick up the pieces of her former life.
The only problem is the ranch's stubborn -- and captivating -- owner, Jordan Bryan. He's fighting Shae on every change. What gives? True, his scars prove Shae's not the only one starting over. Still, shouldn't he, of all people, be able to see beyond the surface? Because she thinks maybe they could be each other's perfect new beginning….
Good book, with two people who are starting over after big changes in their lives. Jordan has come back to the one place he swore he'd never step foot on again. Jordan left when he was eighteen, to join the military, because he could no longer stand to see what his stepmother was doing to his father. Not long ago, Jordan was badly injured in the war, and while he was still in the hospital his father died. Suffering from nightmares, and feeling stifled by the dead end job he had been given, Jordan decided to head back to the ranch, which he now owns.
Shae is going through an upheaval of her own. We first met her in Once a Champion, as the spoiled sister to Liv. She was accustomed to getting anything she wanted, and things being done her way. At the beginning of this book, her fiance has called off their wedding shortly before it was to take place, no longer able to put up with her Bridezilla attitude. Then, when she goes back to work, she is fired because she spent too much of her work day working on wedding plans instead of doing her job. This leaves her with no job and no way to pay the thousands of dollars she owes for the wedding that won't take place. She's stunned when she gets no sympathy from either her best friend or her brother, who both point out that she's been a selfish bitch for most of her life. Her only hope of recovery is talking her boss into giving her one more chance. All she has to do is make it possible to turn the Bryan ranch into another guest ranch for her boss.
The problem? Her boss is the ranch owner's hated stepmother. He owns the land, but Miranda owns the lease on half the property for the next twelve years. Miranda has a long standing grudge against Jordan, and is determined to make his life on the ranch absolutely miserable, and has no problem using Shae to do it. Jordan is equally determined that he will not be driven off the land where he is hoping to start a new life. And Shae is the one caught in the middle. It doesn't help that she and Jordan have some history of their own.
I loved seeing Shae and Jordan work through their own issues by seeing how the other one has changed. She starts out blindly following Miranda's instructions, having only gotten Miranda's side of the story. Seeing the changes in Jordan has her thinking about what he must have gone through when they happened, something that never would have occurred to her before. Some of the things that Miranda is doing start to bother Shae, and she begins to see her boss through different eyes. Jordan also begins to see some changes in Shae. She doesn't seem to be quite the spoiled princess that he remembers. I loved seeing them slowly begin to get to know each other, and learn about each other's pain. Shae also learns a lot more about herself and isn't always happy about the picture she sees. I did like seeing the way that she began seeing things from Jordan's point of view, and that she really wanted him to be happy. I also enjoyed seeing the respect that Jordan started to develop for Shae. He saw the amount of work she was putting in by herself in the attempt to fix her life. He would have been happier if it weren't on his land, but he couldn't help but appreciate her efforts. Neither of them counted on the attraction that built up between them. Jordan was dealing with the scars and was certain that Shae, with her previous need for perfection, would never be interested in him. What I loved about her, was that while she was shocked by his appearance at first, it wasn't that long before she was able to look past the scars and see Jordan for who he was. I liked the way that, while she felt badly about the emotional trauma he was going through, she didn't seem to pity him. And her acceptance of his problems went a long way toward helping him heal. One of the greatest things was seeing that Jordan and Shae were able to work things out by actually talking to and listening to each other's concerns.
Miranda was a real piece of work. I could completely understand Jordan's problem with her. She had completely bamboozled his father, and because he loved his dad he couldn't bring himself to tell him what was going on. Losing his father before they were able to mend their relationship was one of the things that was so hard on Jordan. Miranda's viciousness was well hidden when anyone else was around, but one on one she was nasty. I hated seeing the way she had Shae fooled at the beginning, but loved seeing how Shae began to see the real Miranda. It was fun to see how Shae dealt with Miranda's "spy". Things were getting really bad, and I wondered if Miranda was actually going to win. I liked the way it worked out, though I would have liked to see Miranda really suffer.