Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Less Lonely Cowboy - Kathleen Eagle (HSE #2245 - Mar 2013)


Jack McKenzie is an old-school cowboy. A loner making a good living at a Montana ranch, he just wants to collect his pay, keep to himself and-most important-forget the past. But the return of his boss's daughter changes everything...and makes him long for more than his solitary life....


The last place Lily Reardon had ever imagined going was home, but there she is-the prodigal daughter with a child of her own. Estranged from her father, she struggles to reconnect. Slowly, with the help of strong, silent ranch hand Jack McKenzie, she begins to see her past-and even her future-in a new light. But can Jack trust in love enough to take his place in Lily's renewed family?

Good book.   Lily and her daughter have returned to her father’s ranch after she lost her job as a teacher.  Thirteen years earlier her father had kicked her out when she got pregnant.  In the past few years they have been trying to repair their relationship.   Now that she has come home they have a better chance to do so.

I really liked both Lily and Jack.  Lily had made a good life for herself and her daughter.  I liked the fact that she and her dad had started speaking again and she felt confident enough to come home. She hopes to find some work as a teacher while she is there. She does start out worried that her father hasn't changed enough and is still drinking, but soon sees that he really has changed and is making an honest effort to be the father he hadn't been before. Lily noticed Jack right away and something about his quiet confidence really appealed to her.  It didn't take long before she was back in the swing of things on the ranch.  She was able to help with the calving and taking care of the animals.  She was also spending more time with Jack as he was doing more of the ranch work than her father was.  There was also an attraction between them that neither one was able to resist.  I liked the way that they had an easy way of talking to each other and that Lily was comfortable talking to Jack about problems she was having.  She also wasn't the least bit snobbish about the fact that he was a hired hand and her dad owned the ranch.  While she started out only planning to stay at the ranch for a short time, I loved the way that she started getting more involved with the ranch and thinking that she might stay.  I also enjoyed her meeting with Jack's family.

Jack was very happy working as a traveling cowboy.  He started working for Mike when he was down on his luck and Mike was willing to give him a chance.  Then he started picking up work with other ranchers nearby, but always gave priority to Mike.  He had been listening to Mike talk about Lily and Iris for years, and had the impression that they were closer than they were.  He knew that there were things Lily needed to know, but felt it wasn't his place to tell her.  I really liked the way that he encouraged her to talk to Mike.  He also appreciated the way that Mike had helped him and was trying to do the same for Mike.  I also liked the way that seeing Lily with Iris gave him a desire to be a better father to his own children than he had been since his divorce from their mother.  He did have some issues with feeling not quite right about being involved with his boss's daughter, but Lily was able to overcome those issues pretty easily. 

There were no huge conflicts in this book, just all the characters having to find their places in their new realities.  I did like the way that the situations and people felt real.  I also liked the way that Mike had brought the idea of free range/grass fed beef to the area and how strongly he felt about it.

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