|A Love as Big as Texas . . . |
Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.
James "JB" Denny doesn't stay where he isn't welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can't work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance.
JB and Char were married for years before tragedy struck and their young son died. Their marriage fell apart after that, both of them not dealing with their grief well and as a result, their relationship suffered. Char turned to medication to dull her feelings and JB left Char after his repeated attempts to get through to her failed. He started dating a much younger woman and caused a stir in their small town. They’re currently divorced but as part of their settlement, the judge ruled that their ranch and business must be split up in such a way that they each have a portion of the business to help make it remain profitable. But the bills are piling up and Char doesn’t want JB coming to the ranch anymore to work. They have one final fight and it leaves Char in charge of it all. Now she’s dealing with the ranch, the animals, and her ailing father and she doesn’t have a clue how she’s going to make it all work, especially when she’s still turning to pills to get through the day.
Even knowing the basics of the set up before I started this book, I had such a hard time liking JB for the reason that he slept with a younger woman between his divorce with Char and them eventually finding their way back together. I hated that even though technically he didn’t cheat on his (then) ex-wife, it still felt like it. I really didn’t know how or when I would come to want this couple to be together and it took quite a bit of page time for that to happen. Plus, it took realizing that each person was dealing with the pain of losing their son differently and just because JB found some comfort in the arms of another woman, Char was getting the same thing, only from a bottle of pills.
The story is very heavy and deals with each person’s pain and grief that they let fester for years until finally they’re both in a place where they get it all out and allow themselves to finally start healing. It’s not a light hearted romance of two people finding their way back together. It’s an emotional look at how trying to rebuild their lives happens and how slow the process for them both was.
I felt like Char did the most changing and growing. She went from a housewife to a woman who had to get outside and get the ranch work done. She had to learn about the business, make important decisions and keep things going since moneykept getting tighter and tighter. I liked seeing her grow and find a reason to live in the present and not drown everything out with a pill. For JB, I just felt sorry for the guy. At first, like I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t stand him for dating a much young woman and it ended up making him look a bit pathetic. Here’s this middle aged man, hanging with twenty-somethings in a bar, he doesn’t have a home as he’s crashing at his friend’s house and all his belongings can be held in a few random boxes. I did start to feel for him, and like Char, he makes some changes within himself and wants more out of his life. He wants his family and home back and this was the time I came around and wanted him to get those things back too. Even though Char doesn’t want him around initially, he still finds ways to help out and make himself present and help to ease the load for Char.
Both JB and Char miss each other and desperately want their old lives back. For Char, she’s hurt badly, not only by losing her son, but by constantly thinking about JB with a younger woman. It didn’t help matters that he initially lied to her about seeing someone else so when that truth came out it stung a little extra. A turning point, especially for me in wanting to see this couple find their way back to each other, was when Char thought about the good life they had before their son. How solid their relationship had been and how she let herself forget that they were happy before their son was born and that as hard as it was to lose him, they could still have a chance at happiness if they could work past their issues, open up and remember what it was that brought them together in the first place. From that moment in the story, I was behind this couple and wanted them to get that happiness back. Because damn, for much of the story they’re both just so sad!
As far as the romance between JB and Char, it’s very light. The main journey for them is dealing with their past, finding forgiveness for the other person and moving forward. Not until the very end are they together and the romantic scenes are really just glimpses. I’d have liked a little more to be on page, but that’s just me, liking to read all the sweet stuff.
This certainly isn’t a feel good, light read, the beginning is tough. There’s a lot of angst, a lot of fighting and tears and grief that the hero and heroine need to work through. It’s an emotional journey for them and for me and left me feeling good for this couple who found a way to get a second chance.
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Laura Drake: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review*