Wow! I mean, WOW!!! I was aware of the struggles this author went through after the fact, and before reading this book, and was in awe at her strength. Going into this story, I was unaware that her experiences were the backdrop for this particular book, though I knew one was in the making. Throughout this reading and especially at its completion, I was left speechless. Yes, this is a work of fiction, wonderful romance, and I'm sure a bit of added drama. That doesn't negate the journey Ms. Bybee and by extension, the heroine of this story, endured to reach a happy ending.
After the death of Parker's parents, her life is put on hold as she takes on the responsibility of raising her siblings. When their home is at risk of destruction by fire, it's all she can do to hold on. The destruction left behind the fire along with years of drought, and the threat of a wet winter which would bring floods and mudslides, almost bring her to her knees as she regroups, determined to save their home.
Man, Parker was one fierce heroine! She had strength I could only gape at. When kicked to the ground, she got back up...fighting stronger than before. It's that tough girl, take no prisoner, characteristic that first attracts Colin to her. Watching her slowly give way to a place where she yielded to his help was especially sweet and emotional.
"I have an AK, an AR, a shotgun, a nine-eleven, and a forty Glock, and I'm a really good shot. I'm responsible for my teenage brother and college-aged sister. The only time that gate opens at two in the morning is if someone is sneaking in or sneaking out. You will call me if you're coming in."
Colin was the best kind of hero. He was strong and protective, but so sweet and caring. His ability to make Parker laugh had me falling in love with him. Despite wanting to take over and protect her, he gave her the freedom she was accustomed to, even if it went against his very nature.
'The image of him picking her up and tossing her over his shoulder was the perfect amount of Neanderthal for him. Something told him she might not be into the over-the-shoulder toss.
This is filled with lots of drama brought on by that brutal secondary character, Mother Nature. But at the heart of the story is the relationship developing between Parker and Colin. They were perfect together. Their banter was fun and witty, making me laugh along with them. And when things took a darker turn, my heart hurt with them as well.
This has a wonderful pace to it, plenty of humor to lighten the more intense moments, interesting additional characters I hope to see more of (Can't wait for Erin's story!), and chemistry between this hero and heroine that was absolutely searing. This was an exceptional read that will stay in my heart for a long time to come.
Here is a link to the author's personal video highlighting her own struggle:
Safe (view spoiler)[no ow/om drama; h not a virgin; H not a manwhore (hide spoiler)]
Triggers (view spoiler)[no apparent triggers (hide spoiler)]