Title: The Long, Hot Texas Summer by Cathy Gillen Thacker
McCabe Homecoming Series Book Two
Imprint: American Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 219 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Heating Up in Texas!
When Justin McCabe hires a master carpenter to help build his ranch for troubled teens, tall, gorgeous blonde Amanda Johnson isn’t quite what he’d imagined. But not only can she do the job, she has a thing or two to teach him about judging by appearances. And, more important, she has a knack for reaching the kind of kid Justin wants to help.
Amanda hadn’t counted on her new boss—all strapping six foot five of him—being so utterly irresistible. Working side by side under the scorching Texas sun, the two of them make a great team—in every way possible. The heat of summer is no match for the sizzle they generate whenever they’re together. But when a crisis forces Amanda to face her past, she’ll need to make a heart-wrenching decision about her future…whether Justin is in it or not.
If you are looking for a quick read that will warm your heart and heat up your summer, then you should pick up Cathy Gillen Thacker’s latest release The Long, Hot Texas Summer. This second installment of the McCabe Homecoming series is an engaging romance that is sweet yet deliciously steamy.
Justin McCabe and Amanda Johnson are complete opposites but they perfectly complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. While Justin is from a privileged and loving background, Amanda’s childhood was pretty dysfunctional until she moved in with her grandparents. Amanda has overcome her past, but a disastrous relationship leaves her leery of getting involved with Justin and his wealthy family. Justin has a failed romance in his past, but it is his previous involvement with a troubled youth that haunts him. It is the driving force behind his decision to leave his successful and lucrative career and devote himself to helping at risk teens.
The character that completely stole my heart is teenager Lamar Atkins. Lamar has a great foster family, but he has been skipping summer school and as part of his punishment, he has quite a few community service hours to work off. Justin’s ranch is the perfect place to keep him out of trouble and there is plenty of work to be done before the doors can open. When Justin and Lamar get off to a rocky start, Lamar finds a kindred soul in Amanda.
The overall storyline of The Long, Hot Texas Summer is incredibly heartwarming but it is predictable. I picked up right away on what was going on with Lamar and I wanted to shake both Justin and Amanda for their cluelessness. Obviously they were wrapped up with getting the ranch up and running but I was pretty amazed they did not catch on sooner than they did.
There were also no surprises as to how the story arcs with the boys’ ranch or Justin and Amanda’s romance were eventually going to play out. This did not lessen my enjoyment of the story and Ms. Thacker does manage to throw in a few unexpected twists and turns. I liked that Justin respected Amanda’s decisions and did not apply undue pressure to change her mind. I also appreciated how their conflict is eventually resolved.
The characters are what make The Long, Hot Texas Summer a joy to read. They are incredibly well-developed and just flat out lovable. They are imperfect, but their flaws are realistic and easy to relate to.
The Long, Hot Texas Summer is a light, angst-free romance and it is a pleasant diversion from every day life that contemporary romance fans are sure to enjoy. I am very much looking forward to Cathy Gillen Thacker’s next novel in the McCabe Homecoming series.