Linda Warren ~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews
Harlequin American #1526
Lacey Carroll has recently taken custody of her six‑year‑old half‑sister Emma after their father died. Lacey is doing her best to help her get through her grief, but she’s acting out in school, hitting and kicking other students. Now a neighbor boy has told her that Santa does not exist, and Emma is crushed. Lacey is trying as hard as she can but feels unable to help her grieving sister.
Gabe Garrison is mired in his own grief. His son Zack died in a four‑wheeling accident, and ever since he’s been stuck in his own hell. Emma keeps invading his yard to visit his sick dog, and Lacey ruins his peace with her smoke alarm, which constantly goes off because of her questionable cooking skills. She tries to keep Emma from coming over, but then she starts meddling in his life, convincing him to put his suffering dog to sleep and making sure he eats. Slowly, she brings him back to life.
Linda Warren's latest has some dark, sad moments, but Lacey’s spirit and faith shine like a light in the darkness. Realistic and complicated relationships ground this book, and the Texas setting is subtly highlighted. This is part of a series, but is a perfect standalone.
Heather Nordahl Files
One Night in Texas
Harlequin American #1497
Angie Wiznowski loves her daughter Erin more than anyone in the world. So when her daughter runs into the street and is hit by a truck, it feels like her world has been rocked on its axis. Then she discovers the identity of the truck's driver, and her horror is unimaginable. Hardy Hollister is Erin's biological father, and Angie never told him of his daughter's existence.
Hardy feels terrible about the accident, all the more because it's Angie's daughter, and his feelings for her have always been complex. His guilt leads him to go with her to the hospital. She clearly does not want him there, but he does not realize guilt drives her until she confesses her secret. At first he is angry and overwhelmed, but he soon settles into a realization that a connection with his daughter is the most important thing he can have. His anger fades as he realizes he's angry at himself as much as he is with Angie.
Linda Warren's latest is an excellent, tangled family tale. While the romance moves very slowly, the emotions are always satisfying, and the characters are marvelously convincing. The various family relationships inspire character motivation and make both hero and heroine more sympathetic.
Heather Nordahl Files
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