By: Heather Dowell
*Originally posted on Heather’s blog.
He’s a ranch hand. She’s the owner’s beloved little sister. There are a million reasons why they shouldn’t be together…but there’s also no way they can stay apart.
Alice has been in love with her older brother’s best friend James for as long as she can remember. One night five years ago she thought maybe they stood a chance. She was wrong. Heartbroken and rejected, she moved on. Or at least, that’s what she told herself. But now an opportunity has come along and it’ll mean leaving the family’s ranch—and James—far behind. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime…just so long as she doesn’t lose her heart for good while saying goodbye.
James should let Alice go. She’s always dreamt of more than their little world could give her. More than he could give. She has dreams and he means to help her achieve them. So when the chance comes along to drive her all the way to Los Angeles, he leaps on it, because…why not? They are still friends, after all. The very best of friends…right?
Alice needs help and there’s nothing he won’t do for the woman he loves….except, of course, tell her the truth about the way he feels.
I cried while reading the prologue of this. The tension between the two main characters starts off in the very beginning of the book. We find out that she was going off to college but she had just spent a summer with him as her best friend and it had become more of a romantic relationship but neither of them was willing to admit it. Then she kissed him. He didn’t want her to stay on the ranch if she had dreams of more, so he let her go to college and tried to put her out of his mind for the 4 years she was there. Then she came back to the ranch, and for the last year it’s been all either of them can do to resist their feelings and pretend like the kiss never happened.
This was honestly one of Maggie Dallen’s best books. I’m not one to read a lot of adult romances because I just don’t relate even though I am an adult. They often come off as a bit boring, especially if the two people have already fallen in love. But because the love in this story was unrequited in that neither of the characters knew how the other was feeling at the time. Both loved each other, so it really built the tension with every chapter. I wound up using the search function on my Kindle for the word kiss to see how long I would have to wait for it to happen. There was so much tension even in the beginning chapters that I never knew when it was going to go down, but I highly anticipated it. It felt like it took forever, but that’s exactly how the characters felt. They had literally waited 5 years to try and tell each other how they were feeling and for him to explain why he didn’t tell her the truth so long ago.
So in this book, she is going off again but this time to go live in the big city and to take over her friend’s business. He has never had a family who’s loved him, but he has had a found family in her brothers and a home at the ranch where he’s worked as a ranch hand since he was a teenager. So he is just going to stay and try to not miss her too much while she is gone. but then she needs someone to drive her to the city. During the road trip, they both realize how much they’re going to miss one another.
I really liked how they made decisions that were what they wanted and also what they knew they shouldn’t choose in order to not advance their relationship or open up about their feelings. It kept me on edge in a good way. I also loved just how sweet the guy was and all of the cowboy references and him calling people ma’am. The end of this book was interesting as well to see how far he had come as far as having confidence and seeing how others really did appreciate him and that he was worthy of her. The brothers were super sweet, and I really liked one of their girlfriends, Katy. I have not read the first two books in the series about her older brothers, but now I really want to. Basically, this book was ubber swoony with great characters and a wonderful payoff.
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