Ex-rancher Rance McKettrick is determined to make a fresh start with his two young daughters -- and leaves his heartbreaking loss and family's successful corporation far behind. He certainly doesn't need Indian Rock's free-spirited new bookstore owner, Echo Wells, confusing his choices. And when their irresistible attraction puts their hearts on ...
Ex-rancher Rance McKettrick is determined to make a fresh start with his two young daughters -- and leaves his heartbreaking loss and family's successful corporation far behind. He certainly doesn't need Indian Rock's free-spirited new bookstore owner, Echo Wells, confusing his choices. And when their irresistible attraction puts their hearts on the line, Rance and Echo must come to grips with who they really are to find a once-in-a-lifetime happiness.
I have not read the other McKettrick series books. I probably will now. I am not a real reader of only romance books (I prefer suspense/thrillers) - but liked another series I read by Miller that was suspense driven. Thus, it was easy to pick up this book for a look see. While this IS a romance book and second in a series, it DOES have some side twists to keep the story flowing. I am just always struck by the falacies of love at first sight. Chemistry I believe in at first sight - but love seems a stretch. But, I DO believe that once people are ready to accept and open themselves to the possibility of loving again, that it does seem to come to them. Thus, this is not a real stretch that they felt something upon first meeting.
A gal who feels lost on the fringes of life - never having substance in her life ever. She feels second class or less than substantial to all around her due to her upbringing and her loss of her parents at an early age only to live with an Uncle who did not have the ability to provide her with anything other than the material (minimal: food, shelter,clothing) needs growing up. Then another man shows her how little she really means to him - leaving her at the alter. She decides a fresh start in a new place will help her become more of herself - rather than a shadow (or ECHO) of others. A man who is hurt by his past, but really more in his failing in his past that by the death of the woman he was married to. True, he loved her but it was mostly over before she passed, his guilt stemming from his inability to do more while she was alive. Since he has been unable to give in the past, he feels he will fail again. After all, she died while he was off handling business - business she wanted slowed down for her. He did not and thus part of their failing. This newcomer to town shows him some things he did not clearly see before - perhaps it was just time for him to see - or it blatantly slapped him in the face to see his girls latch onto a stranger so firmly. His mother-in-law buys a love spell - not knowing it is from her next door neighbor (right after Echo gets into town) for him. She is hoping time will move forward for she knows all about the history of her daughter and the truth of the marriage prior to her daughters death. If she can accept it is time to move on after 5 years - cannot he? Obviously not, so she gets the spell hoping for him to live again and the girls and he to move on and have what they have never had. There are a few twists - the dog napper, the fighting nature, emotions, the kiddos and a near death experience always brings people closer. It is easy to see what can be lost so quickly that one may grab and hold what is there. I think (while it is not stated in the book) this is what happens here. Both Echo and Rance stop running once they come in a near death situation and find that life is too short/precious to run from forever. I am more interested to read Jesse's and Keegan's stories. They sound a bit more substantial.
Dec 9, 2007
Lost Souls, a Pink Volkswagen bug, and love potion
Since the death of his wife, Rance McKettrick has thrown himself into his work with a passion. At least these transglobal flights and business deals hold down the overwhelming grief even if his two daughters suffer from his absence. Julie's mother Cora is there to pick up the pieces... and stir things up as well with the love potion she bought before Echo's move to Indian Rock.
When her fiance Justin leaves her at the altar, Echo Wells packs up and moves her bookstore and online business to Indian Rock, Arizona. From the very beginning, the residents are drawn to her including the mangy, wet, muddy lost dog that she names Avalon and shelters in her newly detailed VW Bug and names Avalon. When she runs smack into a handsome businessman who has parked his gas-guzzling SUV just a little too close to her Pepto-Bismal pink Volkswagen bug, the sparks fly. Can electricity turn into real love between a spooked skittish woman and a handsome man with a heart just as wounded as hers?
The first half or three-quarters of this book is one of the most moving romances I have read. The reader feels the pain of the characters as well as the electric energy between them. Even the hurt of Rance's two little daughters and their innocent exuberance for Echo Wells and pink Volkswagen bug grab the reader's heart throughout the story. Other than the animal abusers, every single character enchants the reader and creates a longing for a world like Miller's where lost souls no longer ring out like an echo in their emptiness but instead find their heart and family.
The ending of this romance disappoints and suffers from being the middle book in a terrific series. Miller tries to tie too many threads in too short a space and without enough preparation for the minor characters. Despite the slight stylistic imperfections, this second book grabbed deeply and put Linda Lael Miller on my favorite author list. A must read book!
Publishers Weekly, 2007-01-22 Miller enthralls, once again, in the second entry of her new McKettrick Men series (following McKettrick's Luck), an engrossing, contemporary western romance starring Rance McKettrick, a handsome, successful businessman and cousin to the last volume's hero, Jesse. Having buried himself in work since his wife's death five years earlier, Rance gets a wake-up call in the form of a blonde newcomer to the small ranching town of Indian Rock, Ariz. Riding up in a hot pink VW Bug, eccentric Chicagoan Echo Wells sparks the whole town's interest when she opens up Indian Rock's first bookstore. Echo sets up shop next to the Curl and Twirl, a beauty parlor and baton-twirling school owned by Rance's kindly, nosy mother-in-law, Cora Tellington. Echo quickly befriends Cora and Rance's two daughters, whom he leaves with Cora during his frequent business trips. Once Rance meets Echo, their mutual attraction stirs feelings of love the stolid, scarred man thought he'd put away forever. Miller's masterful ability to create living, breathing characters never flags, even in the case of Echo's dog, Avalon; combined with a taut story line and vivid prose, Miller's romance won't disappoint. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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