Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words
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Joanne Hill is an author of contemporary novels with strong romantic elements. She lives in New Zealand. For more, visit Hill's website.
“Jilly O’Connor is one determined woman. Determined to keep her only child Joel safe from the man she knows killed her husband, the man who is after her son - the only witness.
Jilly has found a new life in the small rural town of Blue Creek, Wyoming and when she starts a job on Clay Matheson’s ranch, it finally begins to feel as if things are coming together. She just hadn’t counted on finding the family-she-never-had at the ranch, and neither did she count on her growing attraction to Blue Creek’s most eligible bachelor.
Clay Matheson - rancher, vet, confirmed bachelor - loathes secrets and his new assistant is loaded with them. He's prepared to overlook that fact as she sets about fitting into ranch life and his staff begin to take her and her young son into their hearts.
But when he starts to have feelings for Jilly, suddenly, it all looks different.
How can he trust a woman who is keeping her past to herself?
And how can Jilly give away her heart to Clay knowing each day her decisions have led her to where she is today - living on the run.”
Jilly O’Conner has been on the run for a year now. Trying to protect her young son, Joel, from the man she believes caused the car accident that killed her husband a year ago. Joel was in the car with his father when it was forced off the road but has no memory of the accident. He now sleep walks and suffers night terrors, which the doctors believe are his memories trying to resurface. Jilly moved from the east coast to the small rural town of Blue Creek, Wyoming hoping she had covered her tracks well enough. When an office manager’s job with Clay Matheson, a local veterinarian/rancher, becomes available she applies for the job. Employment includes a small cabin on the ranch not far from the main house.
The characters are well developed, realistic, and likable. Flo, the housekeeper, was entertaining and a bit eccentric. You couldn’t help but like her, she was a no nonsense type of character and very outspoken. The hired ranch hands John and Mitch live in the bunkhouse, so they are always close by. John Floyd was friendly and good natured. Mitch Callaghan was always cranky and not pleased that the boss had hired a city slicker and with a kid to boot.
The plot moved at a good pace as we learned more about Clay’s past and why he shielded his heart. He knows Jilly is hiding something about her past and feels betrayed and lied to when she won’t confide in him. The sexual tension is palatable and I wanted more. I like my romances a little spicy. Tension rises when Joel goes missing and the whole town gets in on the search to locate him. The situation is realistic and I felt invested in the outcome.
This is a quick easy read you are sure to enjoy.
Ms. Hill, being from New Zealand, uses UK/NZ/Australian spelling conventions.
I found a small number of proofing issues. One of which was a wrong character name. Poor Stacey was called Tracey.
Rating: **** Four stars