Not His First Rodeo
Sheriff Brennan Connelly knows he should avoid anything that could hint at scandal while he's running for reelection, such as falling for a gorgeous young widow. But despite the age difference and the political risks, Bren and Lauren Danners share a remarkable connection. And as he coaches her young son in the rodeo, the former Green Beret is drawn ever closer to her.
Lauren Danners may be young, but she's long past the age of swooning over devastatingly handsome men. And Bren Connelly may be handsome, but Lauren has had her fill of men in dangerous jobs. To protect her son -- and her heart -- she tries to keep Bren at arm's length. But whenever she's around him, all she wants is to be in his arms!
Very good book. Lauren has moved to Via Del Caballo with her ten year old son, to live with her brother. She has been struggling to make a life for the two of them since her husband's death, along with getting her nursing degree. She is independent and stubborn and slightly resentful that she needs her brother's help at all. She is very protective of Kyle, frequently overly so. When Jax encourages Kyle to get involved in steer riding at rodeos, she's alternately furious and terrified. She meets Bren at Kyle's first rodeo, when he tries to calm her down as she watches Kyle compete.
I loved seeing Bren try to help Lauren deal with what is happening. He's a cool and calm voice of reason in the face of her fears. He also makes an instant connection with Kyle, who is over the moon at meeting one of his heroes (Bren being a former bull rider himself). It isn't just her fear that Bren notices either. He's drawn to her like he's never been drawn to another woman, but he's determined to resist.
I loved seeing the development of their relationship. The sparks between them just leap off the page, making me root for them to get together. But neither one is looking for a relationship. Lauren's marriage hadn't been a very good one, and she has no interest in getting involved with another former military man with a dangerous job. Bren has never been a big believer in love, plus she's so much younger than he is. With his campaign for reelection going on, the last thing he needs is to be seen as a cradle robber. But whatever is happening is too strong to resist.
It took a little bit for Bren to get past the age difference and get up the courage to ask Lauren out. There was also a pretty significant push from her brother. Lauren had her own fears and insecurities that had her questioning her decision. I loved how both of them showed a little bit of vulnerability as they enjoyed their evening. Bren was quite the romantic and things were going well until they ran into that councilman. I ached for Bren as his fears about their age difference were renewed, thanks to the man's comments. I loved Lauren's reaction and comebacks. Later in the evening it was her turn for her insecurities to rise up, and I loved Bren's patience and obvious appreciation for her.
I loved seeing them get closer, and also get a little more comfortable with what was happening between them. I loved the parade scene, as Bren made their relationship more obvious. But there was also trouble brewing thanks to that same councilman. I ached for the effect it had on Kyle, and the guilt that Lauren felt because of it. She had also come to care enough for Bren that she didn't want to hurt his campaign, so she tried to pull back. I really enjoyed seeing Kyle, who was pretty mature for a ten year old, lecture Lauren about being a coward. I loved the final rodeo scene and the changes in all of them. I loved seeing Bren and Lauren accept what they feel for each other and move forward together. The epilogue was great, with a nice lead in to Jax's story.