Thursday, July 25, 2013

Haley's Mountain Man - Tracy Madison (HSE #2279 - Aug 2013)

Series: Colorado Fosters (Book 2)

Gavin Daugherty has made every attempt to ignore Haley Foster. But the feisty hometown sweetheart of Steamboat Springs is simply not having it.

Why won't she accept that he just wants to open his business and be left alone? Isn't it enough that she's already forced her way into his work; must she also force her way into his heart? Plus, he could also do without the rest of the Colorado Fosters! Who needs three overprotective brothers breathing down your neck?

Of course, none of this seems to deter Haley Foster. No. She learned long ago that you have to follow your heart to get along in this world. And that's a lesson she's about to teach Gavin, too!

Very good book.  Gavin has come to Steamboat Springs with plans to eventually open up a camp for foster boys.  In the meantime he's working at the hardware store and starting his own guide business.  He meets Haley when she horns in on his attempt to advertise his business.  Haley senses that he's struggling and just wants to help.  There's also a personal aspect in that she is really attracted to him.  She doesn't listen when he tries to keep her away.  He's fascinated with her too but is desperate to protect his heart.  

I liked both Haley and Gavin but I admit there were times I wanted to shake them.  Haley is the youngest of the Fosters.  She doesn't date much, having two problems.  First, she's known most of the men all her life and just can't get excited about any of them.   Second, her three older brothers have a habit of butting in and wrecking her relationships.  When she spots Gavin in a local coffeehouse she senses some awkwardness in what he's doing and sees that his flyers could use a little work.  Being impulsive she tries to help but only succeeds in running him off.  Feeling bad about it she follows him home and manages to get  herself invited to stay.  Over the next few weeks she is able to talk him in to including her in several activities but she still senses a distance in him.  At one point he tells her she's too much of a distraction and stops seeing her altogether.  After she tricks him into seeing her once again they start to make progress until her brother interferes and he's gone again.  This time she has to decide if she's willing to continue her pursuit or if she's going to finally give up.  There were times that it bugged me that she tended to ignore Gavin's wishes and do things the way she wanted to.  I know it was because he was hiding out but it still bothered me a little.  I liked the closeness of the relationship she had with her family.  I also loved it when she told Reid off for his actions, she really let him have it.  There were things that came out then that were very emotional to read.

Gavin had spent most of his life in foster care because his alcoholic mother didn't take care of him.  She would come in and out of his life as she tried to straighten out.  He got used to moving around a lot from home to home and learned to protect his heart.  This caused him to keep everyone at a distance.  He was stunned by Haley's actions at the coffeehouse and had no idea how to react.  When she followed him home he tried to get her to leave but somehow managed to invite her to stay for lunch.  There were several times she simply appeared and he ended up letting her stay.  He enjoyed the visits but still tried to protect himself.  The problem was that he could feel her breaking down his barriers.  He found himself thinking about her a lot and distracting him from his plans which  made him very nervous.  He also could see the suffering in his future were things not to work out so he tried to stop it before that could happen.   I could see how confused he was and what he was trying to do but I wanted to tell him to take a chance for goodness sake.  There was a related side story with him and his mother that had to be resolved before he could open himself up to Haley.  The issues between Gavin and his mom were heartbreaking but very realistic in my eyes.  I also enjoyed his interactions with Haley's brothers and how even that changed his perceptions about people.  I loved the way he reconnected with Haley at the end.

I really enjoyed seeing Gavin and Haley as they got to know each other.  Gavin especially had parts of his past that were very difficult for him to share with Haley.  Both of them had to learn to respect the other's boundaries and wishes.  I really loved the epilogue.

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