Kissed by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams
Great lunchtime read – light, romantic romp – no overt angst to overcome, just some good old fashioned romance.
Never settled in one place, Haley Carston was the “tag along” to Katie Michaels in school when she eventually landed up with her Aunt Matilda, long enough to finish school. Finally she felt like she belonged somewhere, even if she didn’t exactly fit in.
Katie partners Haley up with her older brother Maddox to attend the high school prom – and despite her reservations she attends, feeling uncertain and uncomfortable all night. Good news is that she was not alone – Maddox felt the same way, he would rather have been anywhere but the prom but none of that was Haley’s fault. By the end of the night they had gone their separate ways and having experienced her first kiss, Haley had her memories – Maddox had a dilemma, because he couldn’t get her out of his mind.
Jump forward a ten years and things have definitely changed.
Aunt Matilda is dying and having secured leave from work Haley returns to look after her. Within a few hours of being in town she bumps into a feisty youngster – Olivia and knows instantly that this is the daughter of her school friend Katie – she is her mother’s double – it is just a shame that she has grown up without her following Katie’s untimely death in a car accident.
Feeling a connection to the child Haley calls her guardian to ask permission to take her to see Aunt Matilda, to her surprise she discovers that it is Maddox that is now responsible for the little girl.
Olivia is one smart cookie and Haley sees the prospect of being able to help the little girl out. She funds Olivia’s business proposal and does everything she can to make sure it gets off to a successful launch. Maddox has his doubt and although he is not in a position to help much financially, he gives Olivia 100% of his effort to get the business started.
Maddox had been doing just fine 10 years ago, sailing through college, as a football star with the strong possibility of turning professional. But with tragedy striking the family, his career fell by the wayside and he returned home to not only take over the management of the family ranch but to assume the role of parent to his infant niece Olivia and nursemaid to his brother Justin who had suffered a catastrophic injury while riding rodeo – life was definitely not playing fair with Maddox and with one year left before he could complete his degree he was angry and frustrated at the loss of everything he had worked so hard for.
Seeing Haley again sends him into a tail spin and while he can accept he has feelings for her, he knows that he can’t offer her the type of life he feels she is entitled to. He is working all hours and much of it away from the farm, just to make ends meet and pay the bills. He can’t ask her to be a part of all that – can he?
Maddox was one of the good guys, he took on everyone’s woes and did what was expected of him whether it was what he really wanted to do or not. Responsibility could have been Maddox’s middle name.
Haley is no longer the shy retiring wall flower she has blossomed into a confident, strong woman. She inserts herself not only into Olivia’s life but also into that of her family. She encourages the little girl to be the best that she can be and in turn some of her optimism rubs off on not only Maddox but Justin also. She is the balm they need to draw them back into the land of the living and not just existing.
The relationship between Haley and Maddox is not straight forward but it is strong and despite the abrupt way they part, as a reader you always know that they would find their way back to each other.
The characters are sweet, the situation plausible and the emotion strong.
All in all a well written, consuming read.
Rating 3.5 out of 5