A man in uniform, a narrow alleyway, and a steamy kiss in the rain. Yup…sounds like my kind of book!
What’s it About?
There’s a storm brewing…
The day his wife died, Sheriff Cash Hill discovered she was leaving him for another man, one she’d loved since before their marriage. How could the single dad ever trust another woman again? But when Georgia’s best friend, Holly, comes back to town, something about Holly’s sweet, sassy vulnerability has his protective instincts kicking in hard. Holly Jensen left La Colina, Texas with regrets. She’s returned home to work as the new large animal vet and to watch over her best friend’s daughter. But Holly’s knowledge of Georgia’s past could rip a family apart. And she’s reluctant to go to the sexy…and single…sheriff, as he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with her. Both are faced with a choice…stay locked in the past or allow their reservations to be silenced by a passion hotter than Texas summer nights. Can they learn to trust their own hearts and each other?
This novel manages to approach a very complicated romance in a brilliantly delicate way. After all, we are dealing with a single father whose wife died just one year before, and he’s starting to fall for his wife’s best friend. Definitely a love story that needs to be dealt with carefully so as not to seem widely inappropriate. And I’d have to say it was handled damn near perfectly, and you never really get the sense that either Cash or Holly are somehow crossing a line by exploring a relationship with each other. While Cash is still reeling from the death of his wife, we quickly discover that all was not perfect in their little family. Yes, they may have had a beautiful daughter together, but their marriage was seemingly one of obligation after an unexpected pregnancy. And on top of it all, on the day of his wife’s death Cash found a letter from her stating that she was leaving him because she had always been in love with another man.
As for Holly, she’s had a crush on Cash for as long as she can remember, and when her best friend made a move on him which resulted in pregnancy, their friendship almost fell apart. Holly has since moved back to this small Texas town to keep an eye on Sophia, the daughter of Cash and her deceased best friend. Little does Cash know that Holly is aware of another of his wife’s secrets. There’s a chance the darling Sophia might not be his after all. In the beginning both Cash and Holly are wary to start any kind of relationship. They both understand their history is a complicated one, and when Holly reveals the possibility of Cash not being Sophia’s father, things get even worse. However, something that I particularly appreciated with this read was that the two really don’t rush into anything. Sure, they feel a simmering attraction, but they obviously have some things to work out together. While it does prolong their eventual romp in the hay (quite literally!), you also have to admire their ability to talk out some of their issues before jumping into anything too hastily.
A Shy Extrovert
Something I could really relate to while reading this book was Holly’s demeanor. She can come across to others as very personable and outgoing, but internally she is reeling from shyness. Whether it be with Cash, his family, or even his daughter, Holly has the tendency to use humor as a way to deflect attention away from herself, and avoid having too many personal discussions. My God it’s like reading a description of myself! I could also relate to the internal struggle Holly was experiencing at moving back to her small hometown after going to school in a big city.
“At a school of over forty-thousand students, it’d been easy to blend in and go unnoticed. She’d forgotten how into everyone else’s lives people got around here. Small-town Texas.” As someone who grew up in a small town in Ohio, I totally understand what Holly is talking about here. There is something about going to a big school, in a big city, where you have the ability to blend into the crowd. You rarely stand out and are able to just go about your life without the worry of others getting up in your space. But when you inevitably go back to small-town life, you go through a kind of culture shock at the suddenness of not being able to stay invisible.
A Title of Deception
Since the death of his wife, Cash has become a shell of his former self. His ability to trust others has lessened considerably, especially when it comes to women. His wife hid the fact that she had been involved with another man right before she became entangled with Cash, which has now raised doubt as to the paternity of his daughter. Not only that, but Holly was aware of this other relationship, and kept it a secret from Cash for so long, thereby impeding his ability to trust her as well. However, it is because of Holly that Cash is able to learn to love again. He is able to break out of this shell he’s been suffering in for the past year so he can be a better father to his daughter, and a man that Holly can fall in love with.
Although we see how this story encompasses “Saving the Sheriff”, in my opinion the novel has a much stronger focus on saving Holly. Her back story is just as compelling as that which Cash went through with his wife. In her mind, Holly is undeserving of love based on her own actions years before following the death of her grandmother. As the eldest of three children, Holly was suddenly thrust into a caregiver position for her two younger siblings. But rather than put her life on hold, she made the decision to go off to school, and put her siblings in the care of a foster family. The small Texas town felt that Holly had abandoned her family, and Holly came to believe the vitriol they spouted her way. When Cash and his daughter Sophia come along, she doesn’t feel worthy of becoming a part of their lives for fear she might one day abandon them like she did her siblings. Holly is standing on the precipice of living her life alone, and Cash takes it upon himself to prove that she is not only worthy of love, but deserving of his love specifically. As you can see, we’re not just dealing with a tale of “Saving the Sheriff”. These two really come to save each other.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Hills of Texas, book 1. Cash’s family is delightfully entertaining. With a number of siblings, I can’t wait to discover what romance is in store for each and every one of them!
Should you read it? This is a very well thought-out tale of romance. Normally when dealing with a tale where two leads are dragging their feet to enter into a relationship, you just wanna yell at them to get over it and have sex already. But with this book their hesitancy really does make sense, and you become intrigued to figure out how they’ll be able to overcome all of these obstacles together. And there are definitely a number of hurdles for them to jump. The incorporation of Cash’s daughter into the story was damn near perfect. Not too much, not too little, and she’s pretty freakin’ adorable. I do feel that this first book in the series is really laying the groundwork by introducing us to all the characters of this loving family, and that Cash and Holly are sort of the starting off point for even better things to come. I for one am all in, and am excited to see where this series might take us!
Smut Level: There’s only one sex scene, and it comes pretty late in the story. That being said, it’s in a barn hayloft for crying out loud, so totally worth it. We also get to enjoy plenty of steamy kisses before then!
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Tule Publishing. 206 Pages.