Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ever After at Sweetheart Ranch - Emma Cane (Avon - May 2015)

Series: Valentine Valley (Book 6)

The only thing hotter than a cowboy . . .

Math teacher Lyndsay De Luca never surprised anyone -- least of all herself -- until this summer. First, she secretly published her debut romance novel. Then, she started dating Will Sweet, the cowboy of her dreams. And now, Lyndsay's scrambling to hide the juiciest tidbit of all: that the hazel-eyed hero of her steamy fiction is the same guy whose kisses have become her mind-blowing reality.

. . . Is a cowboy in love.

Ever since Will's high-school sweetheart died in a tragic accident, he hasn't been able to commit to a long-term relationship. Lyndsay is the first woman in years who's been able to catch -- and keep -- his attention. When they team up to teach Valentine's teens about ranch life, Will discovers it's not just her sexy-as-hell smile that has him hooked. Will she be the one to finally break down the walls around his guarded heart?

Good friends to lovers in a small town book. Lyndsay and Will have known each other all their lives. She had a crush on him in high school, but he was dating her friend Brittany. She died in an accident and Will never developed a serious relationship with anyone else. 

Lyndsay is now a math teacher at the middle school, with a secret life as a romance writer. Her first book is about to hit the shelves and she's horrified to realize that she has based her hero on the man she's never been able to forget. Though she knows that he's not the settling down kind, and she really wants a husband and family of her own, she decides that a period of dating Will is just what she needs to get him out of her system.

Will is content with his life as a rancher and his reputation as a playboy. He holds himself responsible for his girlfriend's death, and feels that he doesn't deserve the kind of life he would have had with her. So he dates for a short time and breaks things off before anyone has a chance to get serious. He's kept his relationship with Lyndsay as friends for two reasons: first, he's best friends with her brother and was warned off Lyndsay years ago, and second, he doesn't want to wreck the friendship they have. But lately, those reasons are fading behind the attraction he's starting to feel for her. 

They start to date when Lyndsay asks him out, though he tries to make it clear that there is no future in it. Lyndsay appears to accept that, and their times together are lighthearted and fun with a side of steamy. She also begins to realize that, instead of getting him out of her system, her feelings for Will have actually gotten stronger. She also knows she's going to have to tell him about his part in her book, but she's afraid of his reaction. She also realizes that no matter what she does, he's never going to give up his guilt and move on, so she breaks things off with him.

Will's feelings for Lyndsay are changing and that scares the life out of him. He doesn't want to open himself up to that kind of pain again. But when a conversation with his mother and then a crisis involving Lyndsay force him to face his past, he realizes he's going to have to let go if he's going to get the life he really wants. I loved his big moment at the end, when he shows the whole town how he feels about her book. 

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and their stories. The widows and their nemesis, Will's grandmother, have moved their feud into the Preservation society election, and their campaign moves create some more conflict. The widows also decide that it is their duty to help promote Lyndsay's book, and their actions there add some more excitement to her life. I also liked catching up with the characters from some of the previous stories.

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