by Lynne Marshall
All Taylor Clark ever wanted was a normal life and a traditional family, but so far she’s had neither. Soon after discovering that her boyfriend was secretly engaged and she moves to Charity, Montana for a fresh start, she realizes she’s pregnant. As her new friendly and sexy landlord helps her settle in, they become friends, although Taylor has to keep reminding herself to keep her distance. The last thing she needs is to start something new.
As an ex-con, Joe Collins knows a little something about fresh starts. Despite his determination to keep his head down, he can’t ignore Taylor’s natural beauty or obvious vulnerability. In short time, a tentative friendship blooms along with something more precious—trust.
When Taylor’s ex comes to town, he threatens everything that Joe and Taylor have built together. Joe steps up to care for and protect her, even though he risks losing more than the woman he loves.
I’m giving this one 3.5 stars … I’m not quite comfortable with giving it 4 but it definitely doesn’t deserve 3.
As you can imagine this story spends a lot of time delving into trust issues. Taylor has had some really bad luck with men and so she’s pretty much at the point of thinking they are all going to treat her poorly. Then when she does meet one that seems like he could be different, he turns out to be an ex-con. Not having known anyone who has gone to jail, she’s pretty much only got stereotypes to go off of. It’s a slow process as Joe shows Taylor what an up-standing guy he is, regardless of a stupid choice in his youth.
There is a lot of back-and-forth on the romance side of things as they both struggle with timing and their own histories. I can understand where Taylor comes from on a lot of stuff but Joe really is a good man and he shows it. There comes a point where I think that some readers might be tired of her attitude but luckily she figures things out.