Author: Linda Lael Miller
Publication: HQN Books (February 22, 2011)
Description: When single attorney Steven Creed becomes guardian of an orphaned five-year-old boy, he trades his big-city law firm for a ranch near his McKettrick kin in the close-knit community of Stone Creek, Arizona. Taking care of little Matt and fixing up his run-down ranch house with its old barn loosens something tightly wound inside him. But when Steven takes on the pro bono defense of a local teen, he meets his match in the opposing counsel—beautiful, by-the-book county prosecutor Melissa O'Ballivan. It'll take one grieving little boy, a sweet adopted dog and a woman who never expected to win any man's heart to make this Creed in Stone Creek know he's truly found home.
My Thoughts: This was a nice traditional romance. Both Melissa and Steven are lawyers. Melissa is the prosecutor and Steven is the defense attorney. Steven is new in town. He has come to look for a place to build a life for himself and his adopted 5 year old son. Melissa has always been a part of Stone Creek. They are immediately attracted to each other but wary too. Melissa had a relationship with a widower but couldn't commit to marry him. Steven had a relationship with another lawyer who wanted him to choose between her and his son.
I liked the romance in this story. I liked that Melissa and Steven's core values and priorities were the same even though they seemed different outwardly. I liked the family relationships each had with their own families. There were lots of hints of other stories to be told. I'm going to have to see if I can track down the other Creed and Stone Creek books to learn the stories of the many other characters who made appearances in this book.
There wasn't really much external conflict in the romance. They did argue over the case of one young man that she was prosecuting and he was defending but it was resolved quickly. The main conflict was internal. Melissa had deep-seated abandonment issues that made her afraid to love and trust.
I recommend this story to lovers of romance and family stories. It was a light, quick read.
When their glances connected, his-meets-hers, there was an actual impact, it seemed to Steven. He half expected things to explode all over the place, walls to tumble, ceilings to collapse, founts of fire to shoot up out of the floor, as in some apocalyptic action movie.