After leaving his small town of Duck Creek and needing a place to lay low for awhile, Sam Waters finds himself working as a ranch hand in Nelson Island. He plans to return one day when things are safe, and views his current life as temporary until he can get back to be with his brother and girlfriend Ever. But when his boss's daughter Aston returns home from college, Sam finds himself attracted to her and unable to get her off his mind. As Sam grows apart from his old life and starts to embrace his new one, suddenly things change for him and he begins to get a new picture for his future. When Sam suddenly becomes single, he wants nothing more than to pursue things with Aston but he is convinced that he doesn't deserve her. Aston wants to see where things with Sam go, but she knows that there are things that he is keeping from her. Can Sam open up to Aston and have a chance at a future with her?
I found it really hard to get behind the relationship between Sam and Aston. When we first start this story, we see what has caused Sam to run and start a new life. Sam and Ever had grown up together and loved each other for as long as they remembered. Even though Sam left, they still communicated when they could and appeared to be as in love as ever. But then Sam meets Aston and all of a sudden he seems to pretty much forget about Ever and their relationship. He finds himself constantly thinking of Aston and wanting to act on his attraction to her. I am glad that there wasn't any physical cheating on his part, but I did feel as though he was emotionally connecting with her in a way that wasn't fair to Ever. Aston was strong and could take care of herself, yet she stayed with a boyfriend that treated her horribly for longer than I could understand. I didn't like that she felt like Ever wasn't good enough for Sam even though she didn't know her or their story. It just felt forced to me. I felt like Sam and Aston's relationship was wrong and that Ever had been made into the bad guy when Sam abandoned her when she needed him the most.
I also felt like Sam moved on far too quickly from Ever and made some pretty hasty decisions. If he had really loved Ever like he said he did, then I felt like he would have had a much tougher time moving forward as fast as he did. Everything that had happened with Ever that caused Sam to leave was largely glossed over, and I felt like that should have been a bigger part of this story. Besides the beginning and brief visit of Ever and Sam's brother Hunter to Nelson Island, they are basically not even a part of this story. When they were, Sam acted pretty childishly and didn't take any of the blame for the situation they were in. Sam wasn't completely to blame and I don't condone what happened, but Sam wasn't without his share of responsibility either. I felt like Ever kind of got the raw end of the deal, and it almost seemed as though the things that happened with her were uncharacteristic of her personality and only happened to drive the relationship between Sam and Aston forward. I was just left with a bad taste in my mouth after everything that happened, and I think that is why I never felt like Aston and Sam should have been together. I think if you are looking for a mostly clean NA story that involves a sort of love triangle, then you might give this one a shot. But for me this story just wasn't what I had been expecting. I am interested to get Ever's story though and would definitely give Diana Gardin another read in the future.
**ARC Provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)**
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