Title: Big Sky Summer
Author: Linda Lael Miller
May Contain Spoilers
I haven’t read a book by Linda Lael Miller in a long while, so when I saw this on Netgalley, I grabbed it. The premise sounded interesting, and I was curious as to how everything would pan out for rancher protagonist Walker. He has two teens that don’t know he’s their father. Now that superstar Casey Elder has settled down in town, Walker is going to see a lot more of those kids of his, but he can’t tell them that he’s their dad! I had a hard time sympathizing with Casey, because she expected him to stay silent about his kids, and because she was denying them all a chance to be a family.
I loved Walker, even though he’s a go with the flow kind of guy. He appreciates the simple things in life; a good horse, his land, the beauty surrounding him. He is lonely and doesn’t easily make connections with others. His on again off again mess of a relationship with Casey is like a train wreck. They met on the rodeo circuit just as Casey’s music career was about to take off, and after she discovers she’s pregnant, she lies and tells him that the baby isn’t his. She’s worked long and hard to make it to the big time, and she’ not about to become some rancher’s wife.
After Walker gets her pregnant again (!) she has to fess up. She insists that Walker’s participation in her strange little family remain a secret, and shame on him, he agrees. This is the one less than noble decision that he makes, and he spends the rest of the book regretting it with every breath he breathes. He realizes how much he is hurting both his kids and himself by obeying Casey’s demands, and as he is torn up over it. He has missed out on watching his kids grow up, and he’s become resentful of Casey for locking him out of so much of their childhoods. When she settles down in Parable, he begins to see just how much of their lives he has missed out on, and it doesn’t make him happy.
This is the fourth book in the Swoon-Worthy Cowboys series, and other than the first confusing chapter, where we are reintroduced to previous couples in the series, I didn’t have any trouble diving in to this installment. I did go back and grab the rest of the books because I enjoyed this one so much. The writing is engaging, and I enjoyed all of the characters, though it took a while to warm up to Casey. If I have to pick one aspect of the story that didn’t work for me, it’s that Walker is a baby-making machine, and every single time he and Casey hook up, she ended up pregnant. Even though they used protection. Somebody needs to sue the condom company for so many quality control failures!
If you are looking for a quick and surprisingly emotional read, Big Sky Summer is a perfect title to pack up in your beach bag. It even gets some extra brownie points for featuring some many dogs so prominently.
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Review copy provided by publisher