THE ONLY PLACE SHE FEELS SAFE...
After her capture by human traffickers, international reporter Arden Wilkes should have felt safe back in her small hometown. Blue Falls, Texas, feels comfortingly familiar--and painfully foreign. Disoriented, Arden struggles to regain her sense of self and deal with the aftermath...only to find a sense of safety in the last place she ever expected.
Rancher Neil Hartley knows too well the kind of scars that trauma can bring. However, what started out as warm friendship with Arden is quickly turning into a deepening attraction. But despite Arden's slow recovery--and the promise of love--her old life still awaits her return. Now Arden must choose between the woman she used to be...and the safety of her rancher's arms.
Oh, be still my beating heart! What a wonderful, emotion filled, sweet romance that seriously had me in tears in the chapter ONE! When does that happen?! Never!
Even though the plot touches some serious and heavy topics as targets of the investigative reporter's interests, it mostly has a focus on the tender, fragile, adorable romance that is budding between Arden and Neil. The plot is original, fresh, and has just enough angst and deep emotions mixed with the beauty of Texas prairie and the love of a family, attraction, and worries about the future to make it believable, authentic, and satisfying cowboy romance tale.
Arden Wilkes PTSD was given such authenticity, that it took my breath away, and yes, had me in tears. The emotions are raw and real, the horrors she had gone through in Uganda were unimaginable. I am glad that the author didn't indulge with more details into the capture as it is now, and how she underlined the fact that one can not judge the whole nation because of a few bad apples.
Arden is struggling to find herself again after the tragedy, wondering about her future, and worried with the financial burden, her parents are under because of her father's heart attack.
Neil Hartley knows something about survival, and the nothing short of amazing connection he immediately forms with Arden is the life preserver that Arden needs to start the healing process she desperately requires to be able to move on from Uganda.
Both Neil and Arden are characters easy to like and relate to. Even with opposite lifestyles, they have much in common with their values, beliefs, and love for the Texan landscape. I adored them together, as well as with their families. The banter and fun with the Harley siblings were a delight, and I do hope I get to witness the rest of the gang to fall hopelessly and helplessly in love, as well.
The depth of the emotions, the love for a family, the care for the land, and most of all the precious, dreamy romance in a story that took me by surprise, captivated my mind and charmed my heart.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me