Series: Cowboys of Copper Creek (Book 3)
When Love Walks Through the Door . . .
Like all MacKenzie men, Whit respects three things: hard work, his family, and the wild beauty of the Montana land he calls home. The solitude of the high country is a welcome respite to a loner like Whit. So when a powerful spring snowstorm hits as he's tending the herd, Whit heads to one of the family's isolated cabins. The cold winds don't trouble him. The gorgeous mystery woman waiting inside does.
All Cara Walton wanted was a chance to clear her head. And the forgotten cabin on the outskirts of the MacKenzie ranch seemed like the perfect place to do just that-until Whit arrives. The rugged cowboy quickly melts Cara's defenses and she's powerless to resist his strong arms or his tender touch. She desperately wants to trust him, but there's so much Whit doesn't know, so much she hasn't told him. She lost everything once-can she find the courage to risk her heart again?
Good book. It opens with Whit needing to get away from his big, boisterous family and be alone for a while. He is still trying to deal with the pain of his father's murder. With a blizzard bearing down, he finished feeding the cattle and heads to one of the family's range cabins. The last thing he expects is to find a beautiful blond already there. Cara has had a rough life, and the latest disasters are just icing on the cake. A good job and promising relationship implode when the man turns out to be overly controlling, and breaking up with him also leads to the loss of her job. To top it all off, she stumbles upon a well-dressed man with "evil eyes" threatening an old man. The evil-eyed man chases her, and she barely escapes, but gets lost and runs out of gas. Stumbling onto the deserted but well-stocked cabin is a life saver.
I loved the meeting between Whit and Cara. He bursts into the cabin, accompanied by snow and wind, and scares Cara half to death. She threatens him (with a broom handle in the back) as he makes his own threats about the intruder on his family's property. But with the blizzard trapping them together, they have to make the best of the situation. I loved the banter between "Goldilocks" and "Cowboy". Whit is intrigued by Cara and finds his protective side coming out the more he is around her. When the storm is over, he invites her back to the ranch.
I really enjoyed the development of their relationship. Whit has been the brother determined to stay single. In the previous books, he is the one who teases his brothers about their lovesick demeanors. It isn't long before he is just as crazy about Cara. He sees the way her ex-boyfriend has destroyed her confidence in herself and can't stop himself from showing her what a strong and capable woman she is. Cara is wary of getting involved with Whit. Thanks to the previous relationship and her trouble with "evil eyes" she has a hard time trusting her judgment. All the while there is an intense attraction simmering between the two of them. It comes to a full boil the day that Cara's innate empathy reaches out to comfort Whit over his father's death. Their relationship continues to build as Cara becomes an integral part of the ranch. But she continues to be wary of becoming too comfortable, always looking over her shoulder for the trouble that she feels is still pursuing her. When that trouble succeeds in finding her, both she and Whit realize that life can be short and trying to protect themselves from hurt also keeps them from fully experiencing life. But there are still some vulnerabilities to overcome, as Cara receives a surprise offer and Whit puts his own feelings on hold not wanting to stand in her way. I loved their big moment at the end as Cara, especially, puts her heart on the line. Truly a romantic and heartwarming scene.
The suspense of the story was really good also. Continuing from the first book is the question of who murdered Bear MacKenzie and why. Cara still doesn't know who "evil eyes" is, and becomes more afraid when she hears of the old rancher's murder. She also has to deal with the continuing threats from her ex-boyfriend. Lastly, there is also the creepy feeling that Lance, the family lawyer, is up to something. The final confrontation is intense and scary. I really wasn't sure how some of the events were going to turn out. I loved how Cara kept a cool head through it all. I also loved how the family came together to deal with the threat, and also believed in her.
One of the best parts of this series in the MacKenzie family itself. They are close, loving and supportive. Ash and Griff were featured in books one and two, with their own demons dealt with, and HEAs achieved. I loved the grandfather, Maddock or "Mad" as he's called. He has quite a sense of humor and a great way of delivering advice to the younger members of the family. The mother of the family, Willow, is still grieving the loss of her husband but has the strength necessary to carry on with the ranch. She is warm and loving and has a heart big enough to encompass everyone she comes in contact with. I especially loved the way that she pulled Cara into the heart of the family. There was also a nice little romance developing between her and Brady, the ranch foreman. Ash and Brenna, and Griff and Juliet and her two boys, all had their parts in supporting Whit and bringing Cara into the family.