This is my first book in this series but it is the 7th book in the series. This is also one of my first cowboy-romance books but I can honestly say, I dug the cowboy vibe. Even more than the cowboy thing, I just really liked the writing of this book. The author brought together two very different characters with a great deal of emotional complexity and she did it well!
Hugh is the Hero of the book and I absolutely loved all his layers. Hugh has a really good heart but it’s buried underneath a rough exterior and a lot of hurt from his past. This was the first male Hero I’ve ever read about who discussed being overweight in his past and how it effected a relationship he was in. I don’t know why I found that so compelling but it might be because it made Hugh so much realer to me. The back story on Hugh also helped me to understand all the stupid ish he was doing in the present. Hugh is a special brand of unfriendly, he even insults Harlow when he first meets her. In the end though, the author's good use of flashbacks and character introspection smooths over all the rough edges.
Harlow, our heroine, is also a complex character who I ended up really liking. At first, Harlow seemed more like an obnoxious flirt than a serious character but oh, look again. It turns out Harlow is simply a master of illusion. Harlow is good at burying her real feelings and only letting the world see what she wants them to see and you know what? I’m here for that. Not every heroine needs to wear her heart and every last emotion on her sleeve. I really enjoyed Harlow’s vulnerabilities and all the cover ups.
I have to give a shout out to the story line between Harlow and her sister. It was just really fascinating to see how Harlow’s sister was the closest person to her and not even she knew what was going on inside Harlow. This was a subplot that added to the overall book by giving you a more in depth understanding of Harlow. The same goes for the interactions between Harlow and her Dad. Again, we see a different side of Harlow portrayed through the lens of her relationship with one of the supporting characters.
There was a slow build up to the relationship between Hugh and Harlow but I never felt bored or like the book was dragging. Instead I felt like I was invested in the relationship by the time it was manifest. There is a really sweet and real bond between Harlow and Hugh. There are many pages where the status of them as a couple is unclear but the bond is always there.
I highly recommend this book for all you fans of second chance romance. But not just second chance romance, second chances in life. Don’t pass this one up.
**ARC provided by Publisher**