There's a new sheriff in Fallbrook... Meet Dylan McBride. Jessie Thompson had one hell of a week. Dylan McBride, the boy she loved, skipped town without a word. Then her drunk of a father tried to kill her, and she fled Fallbrook, vowing never to return. Eight years later, her father is dead, and Jessie reluctantly goes home - only to come face-to-face with the man who shattered her heart. A man who, for nearly a decade, believed she was dead. Dylan accepted the position as sheriff of Fallbrook looking for a fresh start and a chance to uncover the truth about Jessie's disappearance. He knew he'd have to face a few ghosts... he just never thought one would be Jessie, all grown up, stunning... and alive. The pull between them is instant, but Dylan's heart has already mourned Jessie, and she has secrets she can never share. Can they escape the darkness of their past for a chance at a bright future together?
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This is a soap opera style romance. It’s a total escape from reality and contains every possible romance book cliché.
Firstly, we have the h. Physically abused by drunken dad since she was 5, after mother’s suicide. By 15 she was an “experienced construction worker” on her dad’s construction sites. No workers on site objected to working alongside a girl of 13/14, nor did her teachers, who accepted her dad’s explanation that all those bruises were caused by accidents on site! She was a social outcast, had no friends, and had an obvious crush on local heartthrob H.
H, meanwhile, was the town golden boy. Although he later refers to h as “his best friend” it seems he pretty much ignored her until he invited her to his graduation prom, after which he took her virginity in the back seat of his car (she was 15!), but was apparently so scared by the “strength of his feelings for her” that he ignored her after that, didn’t call, and left town permanently three days later. He also failed to question why her body was covered with so many bruises that at one point in his seduction she flinches from his touch. What a guy!
She gets pregnant, is badly beaten up by her dad, runs away, and is taken in by a convenient “father figure” who happily seems to take care of all her school and medical bills. She works in his construction office until the baby is born. After her baby dies she works on his construction sites while at the same time finishing her schooling. (Apparently this man too, is unconcerned about having a teenager on his construction sites!) By 17 she is also producing fabulous hand-crafted furniture – in her spare time between schooling and construction work - and she secretly arranges to sell it in a shop in her home town. By 23 she has not only gained a college degree, but she now owns her own construction company, is currently building a development of 50 homes, and is also the silent partner of the very successful furniture shop for which she still supplies handcrafted furniture. Oh, she owns her own house, and a Porsche. Whew. Of course this means she has no time for a love life, and has never had sex apart from that one time on Prom night. She is still, of course, obsessing over her daddy, who has just died, her brother, who did nothing when daddy was beating her, and the guy who took her virginity and then dumped her.
Meanwhile, H has spent 8 years obsessing over the girl he dumped. He thinks she is dead because she disappeared a week after he skipped out of town, after a beating by daddy who then went on a bender and cannot remember what happened. In 8 years H has done army tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, then became a city cop, and then the home town sheriff. All the while obsessing over what happened to the girl he pretty much treated like crap. He did, naturally, find time to have lots of sex with other women however. Oh, and adopt a cute boy and become a single dad. Because he is just such a great guy. He is now apparently obsessed with finding the body of the h and giving her a “decent burial”. It never occurs to him that with a crappy home life, and having just been deflowered and then dumped by him, she might just choose to disappear and leave behind all those that never cared about her. Add to this the fact that shortly after he ran out on her he lost his phone and never managed to port his old number onto his new phone, and his evil, super controlling mum changed his e-mail address. (What normal 18 year old willingly gives up both his phone number and e-mail address!)
The h, meanwhile, continues to earn superwoman status by managing, in two weeks, with only three construction workers, to strip out her dad’s old house, rewire, replumb, install new kitchen and bathrooms, add a 1000sqft extension, fully decorate, landscape the garden, and in her spare time handcraft a “simple” table and chair set, a highchair, a cradle, a changing table and a rocking chair. Oh, and just for good measure she fixed the front stairs by hand. While holding down a full-time job supervising her 50 house construction contract. Wow!
The above was covered in the first two hours of the audio. There is, naturally, constant reference to a big secret, as we have an H who never “clues in” that a one night stand with a 15 year old virgin and no condom might have consequences. And then we have the ridiculous scenario where the h doesn’t want to tell him about the baby in case he gets upset and blames her! Say what?
I think a lot of people will like this book. As you may have gathered, I am not one of them. It’s not a bad book, just a bit too full of romantic clichés that remind me of an over-the-top TV soap opera – I almost expected the dad to re-appear and announced he faked his own death, or the evil mother to arrange for the kidnapping of the h to save her son from marriage to someone she deems unsuitable. Maybe the baby didn’t really die but her dad and his mum arranged for it to be stolen after birth to keep them apart ….. maybe that’s the child he adopted…… Ok, so I’m getting carried away here. But this just stretched credibility too much. Probably for readers who didn’t ask too many questions when they found out Christian Gray is a billionaire before 30 and yet no one leaked to the media anything about his unusual sexual practices. Seriously getting off the subject here. Didn’t finish the book. Not for me. But somebody out there will love it.