Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Long, Hot Texas Summer - Cathy Gillen Thacker (HAR #1461 - Aug 2013)

Series: McCabe Homecoming (Book 2)

Heating Up In Texas!

When Justin McCabe hires a master carpenter to help build his ranch for troubled teens, tall, gorgeous blonde Amanda Johnson isn't quite what he'd imagined. But not only can she do the job, she has a thing or two to teach him about judging by appearances. And, more important, she has a knack for reaching the kind of kid Justin wants to help.

Amanda hadn't counted on her new boss -- all strapping six foot five of him -- being so utterly irresistible. Working side by side under the scorching Texas sun, the two of them make a great team -- in every way possible. The heat of summer is no match for the sizzle they generate whenever they're together. But when a crisis forces Amanda to face her past, she'll need to make a heart-wrenching decision about her future…whether Justin is in it or not.

Good book.  Justin is building a ranch for troubled teens.  He's doing very well except for the carpentry which is kicking his butt.  He hires a master carpenter to help and is surprised when that turns out to be a tall beautiful woman.  He's immediately attracted but the ranch is the most important thing.  When they are also asked to supervise a teen's community service hours he also discovers she has a great ability to relate to troubled teens.  The two of them make a great team both on and off the job.

Justin gave up a successful career to start this ranch.  He had had a chance to help another teen and it hadn't turned out well which motivated him to do this.  He is on a tight schedule to get everything done and knows he needs carpentry help.  Amanda's arrival is a surprise to him but they quickly arrive at an agreement on her duties.  Justin is attracted to her but accepts that the job comes first.  Lamar's arrival gives him the chance to get a head start on his work with the teens but he soon finds himself having trouble with him.  Justin is somewhat dismayed to find that Amanda has no trouble with Lamar but realizes that having Amanda there is a benefit.  I really like Justin's determination to make a success of the ranch.  He has put a lot of his own money into it plus his heart and soul.  Amanda's arrival is just what he needs for the final push.  I liked the way that once he recovered from his surprise he had no problem with her being a woman doing the job.  He appreciated her abilities, though was a little jealous of her ability to relate to Lamar.  I did not like the way that Justin's parents were less than supportive of his efforts.  Every time we saw them they were telling him that he wasn't qualified to do what he wanted to do.  Though they were big into charitable giving it seemed that they were far more interested in making money and were down on him for giving up a lucrative job to run the ranch. Justin's feelings for Amanda grew pretty rapidly.  I liked the way that he understood her reservations and didn't push too hard to get her to reciprocate.  There were a couple interesting twist in the decisions about who would be director of the ranch.  I liked Justin's attitude about it and the way things worked out at the end. 

Amanda was happy in her work as a carpenter working for the family business.  She had had a troubled childhood with divorced parents who were more interested in their own happiness than in taking care of her.  She took out her feelings in rebellious activities until custody was given to her grandparents.  They gave her the love and discipline she needed to turn her life around.  Those troubles caused problems with the wealthy family of a man she was engaged to so she broke it off with him.  This has caused her to have some issues with getting involved with men with close and/or wealthy families.  She feels the attraction to Justin but doesn't want to risk the same thing happening with him so she tries to push him away.  She is surprised when her past doesn't bother him and starts to think that some kind of relationship might be possible.  But she still doesn't think it can be anything long lasting and still tries to protect her heart.  I loved the way that she could be a buffer between Lamar and Justin and tried hard to make each see the other's viewpoint.  I loved her support of the ranch and Justin.  She gave him the kind of support he should have been getting from his family.  I loved the way that she helped Justin with the board and how she tried to do the job they asked her to do.  I felt so bad for her and the way she felt about her part in the crisis.  The way it was resolved was great and I loved the epilogue.

Lamar was a great secondary character.  His attitude and actions were just what was needed to showcase what the ranch was about.  He also showed the strengths and weaknesses of both Justin and Amanda.  I was rather frustrated with both of them for their total cluelessness about what was causing Lamar's problems with school and some of the things that Justin and Amanda asked him to do.  It was so obvious and they never figured it out on their own.

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