Young widow Leigh Bransom is having her baby on the side of a deserted Texas highway! She thought she could make it to help, but in West Texas, things are too far apart for that. A dirty, rugged young cowboy named Chad Dillon happens by, and skillfully delivers her baby in the bed of his rusty old pickup truck. He then takes her to the nearest hospital, and vanishes without a trace, leaving behind some flowers, and a sweet kiss on her cheek.
…and then he shows back up, months later. He’s got it, bad. Funny thing, though–she does, too, even though it just doesn’t make any sense. She tells him of her husband’s death on the job, and how she’ll never get involved with someone in dangerous work like that again. And she tells herself over and over that she’s not gonna get involved with Chad, in any event!
But they do–of course–and she’s very angry–also of course–when she finds out that he’s an oil-well firefighter, gone for a month or two at a time doing the dangerous work of stopping wild wells. She also gets upset when she finds out from his parents that he is, himself a widower. And even moreso when she finds out that his late wife committed suicide while pregnant with their child.
With all this between them, it’d be easy to believe that Leigh decides that Chad is just way too complicated for her, and dumps him like a hot rock. But there’s just something about the way he looks at her, and the way he deals with her baby daughter, and his sweet family…that just convinces her. Maybe, just maybe, they can work this out. He asks her to marry him, and she agrees! But things turn ugly when, during their wedding reception, he is called to a fire.
This is the first book I’ve read in this series; the Second Chance at Love series is about people who are trying again after losing their first love. It’s an interesting premise, and one that’s worth exploring, certainly, as it’s one that many readers should be able to identify with. Chad and Leigh are thoroughly wonderful, complex people–he has a unique job, and is well off, though not obtrusively so. She comes from comfortable money, though not opulence, and has a job that lets her work around the busy-ness of being a single mother.
Our setting is Midland, Texas, with reference to Tarzan, a tiny town out in the middle of nowhere, and the details that are given are believable enough to make me think that Sandra Brown has been there at some point (I have, and used to live in West Texas. I’ve been to Tarzan, too!). One reference that may trip up younger readers of this series is a reference to Sakowitz as an anchor store in the mall where Leigh is working. I’m old enough to remember it as an upscale department store, and likely there would have been one in Midland–there was in Amarillo, about the time of this story, at least.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! The intimate moments were vividly steamy, without being crass, and made sense where they happened in the story. Leigh rediscovers her sexuality post-baby, and Chad is sweet and tender with her, in a way that really melds them together as a couple. The supporting cast is quite good as well. His parents are warm and accepting of Leigh and her daughter, and her parents, while at-first not accepting of their relationship, come around very plausibly and in the end, grow to understand what’s going on between them.
I’m very much looking forward to reading more stories from this series, and strongly recommend this one!