Title: Wish (Novella)
Author: Kelly Hunter
Publisher: Kelly Hunter
May Contain Spoilers
All single mother Billie Temple wants for Christmas is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home.
All widowed cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to go away.
I loved Kelly Hunter’s The Man She Loves to Hate, so I was exciting to learn that she self-published a novella. I didn’t even sample it before I plunked down my hard earned $1.50, either, which I never do when I am buying books for my Kindle. I love the ability to preview a story before I commit myself to buying it, but because I loved the author’s Harlequin so much, I skipped the exploratory stage. I was going into this story with both guns locked and loaded! I was happy with the results.
Billie Temple has tried to make a happy life for her son Cal, and when she is given the opportunity to move away from Sydney to the country, she jumps at the chance. She doesn’t like having Cal live above the bar she manages in the city, so when she is offered a chance to manage a bar in safer surroundings, it’s like the answer to her prayers. Until she meets Adam Kincaid, the gruff rancher who owns the small house she’s renting. Adam thought that Billie was a man, and he’s not happy to learn that she’s a woman, and that she’s got a young boy in tow. It’s not safe in country. There are snakes, storms, and frequent power outages. Too bad for Adam that Billie is every bit as stubborn as he is, and she refuses to be chased away from her new home.
I liked this short, compelling romance about two people finding a second chance at love. Both Adam and Billie have had to deal with the death of their partners, and neither one of them is looking for another relationship. Billie has Cal to deal with, and Adam is still fighting the ghosts of his late wife and child. Second chances at finding happiness is one of my favorite romance tropes, and I thought this one was done well enough that my not so favorite romance trope – friends with benefits- didn’t bother me all that much. I didn’t totally buy into Billie going along with that, either, because she has been so cautious with her child-rearing. She has done everything in her power to keep Cal shielded from the more unpleasant and more unsavory aspects of life, so it didn’t ring entirely true that she would risk so much by having no-strings attached sex with Adam. Even if he is as sexy as sin.
One thing that I did find occasionally distracting was the use of Australian slang. I mentioned on GoodReads that I had no idea what a chook was until I read Wish, and I don’t commonly hear trucks being referred to as utes. There were several sentences that drew me up short, because the language sounded so strange to my American ears. Since I don’t read many books that haven’t already had a once over by US editors, I found this interesting, though sometimes it slowed my reading because I had to re-read a passage here and there to understand the odd to my ears language.
Wish is a short, sexy read, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Kelly Hunter’s books. She’s an auto-buy now, whether the book is self-pubbed or not. This was a fun experiment for me, because it proved again that novellas, which I have previously dismissed, can offer a compelling, well-developed reading experience.
Review copy purchased from Amazon