Sir Oliver Fortune Hayes is new to Horseback Hollow…new to Texas…and even new to parenting. It's enough to drive a man daft -- and daft he would go, if it weren't for Ollie's new nanny, Shannon Singleton.
A cowgirl for a nanny? It's a little unorthodox, but it works. The trouble is, now Oliver can't help imagining sweet Shannon as his Valentine. She's warm and bubbly and…much too young for the likes of him. Will proper Oliver maintain his upper-crust composure? Or will the love of a good Texas woman rope him in for good?
Very good book, as another of the British branch of the Fortune family bites the romantic dust. Oliver has come to Horseback Hollow for his sister's wedding, bringing his toddler son with him. He has only just gotten custody of his son after the death of his ex-wife and is a bit frazzled. The nanny that works for him in England declined to come with him, so he needs a temporary nanny so that he can also get some work done while he's there. He is the stereotypical Brit - cool, reserved, maybe a bit uptight, but he does love his son and wants the best care possible for him.
Shannon is a local girl who has come home to stay with her parents while she looks for a new job. She left her last position when her married boss made unwanted advances to her, then threatened her if she tried to report it. Rather than fight it, she quit and is waiting to hear the results of her last interview. She first meets Oliver when he stops to ask directions, and later discovers that he is renting a house on her parents' ranch. When he asks her to step in as Ollie's nanny, she is hesitant. She is attracted to him, senses that it is returned, and doesn't want to get involved with a man who is not going to be staying around. She also doesn't want to be involved with a man she works for. One of her conditions for taking the job is that there are no inappropriate actions. What she doesn't want to admit to herself is that she's more worried about what she might do than his actions.
I loved the relationship that developed between Oliver and Shannon. Oliver's early years were spent with a father who felt emotions of any sort were bad, so Oliver has a hard time showing his, even to his son. He is definitely attracted to Shannon, but he gave his word to keep his hands off, even though that is getting harder to do. I loved seeing how protective he was of her when that one man got too aggressive with her, and how he took care of her afterwards. I think that was the beginning of when his feelings began to change. I really loved watching him loosen up a little. He even started to consider the idea of a future with her before he got spooked by the depth of his feelings and made a bit of an idiot of himself. I did like the way he redeemed himself at the end.
Shannon is a warm and loving young woman who takes to Ollie right away. It's her instant connection to him that spurs Oliver to ask her to be Ollie's nanny. She sees that Oliver loves his son, but that he doesn't seem to be able to show it, and is determined to fix it. She is also fighting her attraction to Oliver. She is the one who insisted that they have no contact, and she is beginning to regret it. As she has spent time with him, Shannon feelings for him change. She still sees no future for them, but wants to enjoy whatever she can with him. She is later hurt by the accusations he makes and his refusal to listen to her. I liked the way that even though he didn't let her explain, she didn't slink away but let him know what she thought. I loved the way that her reaction motivates her to face her past and do something about it. I liked seeing her hold out at the end until Oliver was able to give her what she really needed from him.