Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thankful for You - Joanna Sims (HSE #2513 - Nov 2016)

Series: Brands of Montana (Book 8)

Is he a big-sky kind of guy?

All Nick Brand wants to see of Montana is a for-sale sign on his family's in-dispute land. That's before the fast-track Chicago lawyer meets the ranch hand who's been hired to help clean up the property. Dallas Dalton can rope a steer, ace a barrel-racing competition…and lasso her way into one smitten bachelor's heart.

Raised on the rodeo circuit, Dallas lives to compete -- while guarding against future heartbreak. Now she just wants to muss up Nick's hair and show him how this Western woman is won! The refined attorney is a world away from the rough-and-tumble cowboys Dallas knows. Yet deep down, she and Nick desire the same thing. Is he ready to trade his Eastern view for the big sky with a cowgirl who's through singing the blues?

Good story of opposites attracting. Nick is a Chicago lawyer, from the non-Montana branch of the family. When his aunt dies, Nick is the one sent to get the land ready to sell. It had been occupied by Davy Dallas until his death, and Nick enlists his daughter Dallas to help go through his things. Dallas is a barrel racer who spends most of her time on the rodeo circuit. She was raised on the road by her father and is fiercely independent.

I enjoyed the development of their relationship. It starts out slow and easy as they become friends while going through all the stuff that Davy left behind. There is also attraction. Nick is somewhat baffled by his fascination with Dallas. When he first arrived, all he wanted was to get rid of the property and get back to his city life in Chicago. But the more time he spends with Dallas, the harder it is to think of leaving. But he needs to get back to work soon. Dallas is just an intrigued by Nick, but her life is on the road. There's no way that their lives could mesh.

Nick missed Dallas when he went back to Chicago and couldn't stop thinking about her. I loved the way that he showed up at some of her competitions just to see her. He knew he was starting to care for her and was determined to expose her to the good things in his life. But he also had worries about how she would fit in with his Chicago life. Dallas missed him too. She was surprised and pleased when he would show up. His attentions made her feel special in a way she never had before. I loved how they talked and texted over the next few weeks, sharing bits of their lives. When Nick invited her to spend a week in Chicago, she was happy to go.

I had mixed feelings about Nick in Chicago. I loved how he wanted to show Dallas a good time while she was there, even though he also had to work. His enjoyment of introducing her to things like the symphony and some of Chicago's attractions was real. He was also thinking into the future and found a place where she could continue her training. But there were also a few traces of his parents' attitude in him, and there were several times when he let something she said or did bother him. The dinner with his parents was especially irritating to me when he said something that was really hurtful.

I liked Dallas a lot. She's independent and content with her life. She's had issues in her past that have had their effects on her present, causing her to be cautious about giving her heart. She has her own goals for her future. Though she has a pretty tough exterior, she also has a soft center. Going through her father's things was difficult, and having Nick's support helped. I liked the thoughtful way she decided to go to Chicago, wanting to see Nick's world. She was excited and nervous. I loved the visit with Jordan and her husband. Having Jordan nearby gave Dallas an extra layer of support. Dallas really enjoyed the different things she got to see and do. She started to understand that Nick really was looking at a future with her. But there are times when she wonders if she can fit in his world. A couple of incidents reinforce that feeling.

When Dallas goes home to Montana, Nick realizes how badly he hurt her and has to take a hard look at himself. I loved his self-assessment and the realization of just how much he loves her. At the same time, Dallas has her own hurt to deal with. I liked her conversation with Nick's aunt and everything it gave her to think about. Nick's big moment at the end was sweet and romantic and emotional. I loved the engagement "ring" that he gave her.

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