In the second book in the Love Under the Big Sky series from this New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the With Me in Seattle series, life in Montana gets spicy when a woman and her divorce lawyer sign off the papers—and sign on to love.
Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?
“Being in love with someone is an unconditional commitment. To love someone isn’t just a feeling, it’s a decision that you make every day, no matter what happens. It’s a judgment. A promise.”
I’ve been a fan of Kristen Proby’s brand of smuttilicious romance ever since I stumbled upon her debut novel many moons ago, and her tales have kept feeding the starry-eyed dreamer in me unfailingly. Just like the With Me in Seattle stories, this series warms your heart and sets your pulse racing all at the same time, but there is a significant shift in pace this time around—the love story flows easily, almost linearly and completely bump-free, the focus laying solely on the growing emotional bond between the characters and the heroine’s personal journey. The sex is more intense, the character development is more layered, and the story centres entirely on finding love when you’re no longer sure you believe in it anymore.
“I’m not a cynic, I’m a realist. We don’t live inside a romance novel. I learned that lesson the hard way.”
Lauren Cunningham is a soon-to-be-divorcée from small town Montana, raised by loving parents but left disillusioned by a husband who used and abused her, and then admitted to marrying her only for her money. She lives a solitary life, with very few friends she can truly trust or confide in, her secret career as a romance novelist filling her days and nights, but with no one in her life to share her success or happiness with. When her estranged husband’s latest demands leave her terrified for her own safety, she seeks the help of her attorney to expedite her divorce, but runs into Ty Sullivan, who takes one look at her and swears to himself to protect her with all he’s got.
My body yearns for her, I need to feel her, kiss her. Protect her.
Ty is a man used to protecting the women in his life ever since he was a young boy. His abusive father showed him exactly the kind of man he never wanted to become. Ty has admired Lauren from afar for a very long time, stepping back while she was married, but waiting for the right moment to approach her ever since her separation. So when Lauren walks into his office, distressed and scared, he cannot help but want to shield her from harm, but also finally claim her as his. The more time they spend in each other’s company, the more his body yearns for her, but instead of pushing her outside her comfort zone and into something she might not be ready for, he offers her something no man has ever given her—kindness and support.
I’ve never had anyone in my life that was here without wanting something from me.
Through the simplest gestures of affection and wanting nothing in return, he shows her what it is like to have a man in her life who only wants to love her and make her happy, and very soon all they can think about is the other. But their romance is not an all-consuming wave of passion driven by the undeniable attraction between them—it is more like a gentle wind that sweeps away all their fears and reservations, allows them to grow comfortable around each other, and gives them a fresh start in life, in each other’s loving arms. They become best friends while they are becoming lovers, completely entrusting their hearts to one another while they surrender their bodies the same way, something that neither of them has ever done before. Under Ty’s adoring touch, Lauren blossoms as a person for the very first time in her life. She grows more self-assured, she starts opening up to the world around her, and she no longer feels the need to rely solely on herself to be happy. Because of Ty, Lauren comes out of her shell—she learns to smile more openly, laugh more freely, and love wholeheartedly. So, even when her past tries to destroy her present happiness, Ty’s unwavering love is all she needs to survive it all.
I have to admit that as much as I truly enjoyed the uncomplicated beauty of the romance between Lauren and Ty, I hoped on more than one occasion for a tinge of angst here and there. Ty is the embodiment of the quintessential ‘prince in shining armour’ who wants nothing more than to save his damsel in distress and ride with her into the sunset, but while their love story is heart-warming and awe-inspiring beginning to end, I personally would have enjoyed the occasional bump in the road to make the happy moments between them even more precious. But that is only because I enjoy flaws more than perfection, and because I always seek stories of delayed gratification.
In so many ways, this story is an example of what relationships should be like between two people who unquestionably belong to one another. I loved that Ms Proby gave us another fearless, independent heroine to inspire us, and a hero who might look like a bad boy, but whose capacity to love and his need to protect those he loves make him the ultimate ‘nice guy’. I was left smiling, as always, the romantic in me full to the brim.
“I’m not used to receiving kindness with no strings attached.”
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Love Under the Big Sky – Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
Loving Cara: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Seducing Lauren: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Falling for Jillian: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (27 Jan 2015)
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Kristen is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular With Me In Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.
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