NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Ned Matheson is sharing a house with the woman he loves, but he can’t kiss her, or even touch her. In fact, she can barely look him in the face. He knows he needs to be patient; Fila Sahar has been to hell and back as a captive of the Taliban for over a decade. Now she’s safely back on American soil, but her fears hem her in so tightly, she might as well be a prisoner again. If he wants to marry her—or even date her—he’ll have to help her regain her courage. He thinks he’s found the perfect way for her to become a strong, independent woman—he’ll give her a restaurant of her very own to run.
Fila can’t believe she’s finally home, or that a handsome cowboy like Ned cares for her, but before she can give her heart to any man, she has to find the courage to stand on her own two feet. When Ned surprises her with his perfect solution—the restaurant he’s leased and renovated in her name—she’s overwhelmed—with fear, not gratitude. She can barely leave the house, let alone run a business. So when Ned’s father sends them out of town to check on the family’s remote hunting cabin, she’s grateful for the delay.
Ned knows his father hopes this trip will split them up, but he’s determined it will bring them together instead. When disaster strikes, all bets are off. Ned will learn what it’s like to be helpless. Fila will have to recover the courage she lost years ago.
Can they survive the weekend? Or will this trip be their last?
We first met Fila in ‘The Sheriff Catches a Bride’ she’s the woman who traveled across the country to thank the children of Aria Cruz for the donation that allowed to escape the hands of the Taliban. Unfortunately they followed her and the aftermath of that encounter has had a dramatic effect on her. In spite of her efforts when she tries to sing or look a man in the eye, she finds herself having a panic attack. When she moved from the bunkhouse of the Cruz ranch she originally moved in with Luke and Mia with Ned. Luke had no idea of how to help her adjust and he likes Mia anyway, so they switched.
Ned has fallen for Fila and is determined to help her find her way. His father, on the other hand, thinks Fila is too broken to ever be a good wife for Ned. He forms an idea that could help her and incorporates something she loves doing, cooking Afghan food. He leases a restaurant and with the help of his brothers and the Cruzes cleans and decorates the space into something practical and calming. This leaves Fila feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, yet grateful.
There’s a new character in this book, Camilla. She’s rented the space next door to Fila’s restaurant to open a Mexican restaurant. Camilla is everything Fila isn’t. Boisterous, flirty, funny and outgoing. When Holt meets her he thinks she would be a perfect wife for Ned.
Ned isn’t giving up on Fila encouraging her to explore her new space and research the requirements to open. As if Ned isn’t doing enough, Luke is also pulling his strings as he hands him documents to order supplies, knowing full well Ned can’t read them. This triggers Ned to do something about that.
This is a favorite scene.
Ned couldn’t remember the last time he’d sidled into his mother’s kitchen with so much trepidation. Probably not since the time he’d been busted at sixteen for stealing the high school principal’s car and doing donuts in the Wright’s hayfield with it. He’d settled down a lot since those days, and he figured this errand would please his mother, but he hated the thought of the fuss she’d make just as much as he’d dreaded her reaction back then.
“Ned. What are you doing here this time of day? Everything all right?” His mother was bent over one of the cookbooks his grandmother had passed down to her. She pushed it aside and gestured to another chair at the kitchen table.
“Everything’s fine. Just had a question.”
“Want some tea? I was just about to pour myself some.” She got to her feet and bustled about the kitchen in her usual fashion.
“Juice is good.” Ned didn’t bother to try to get it himself. She’d just wave him back into his seat. His mother had always liked to take care of her family and he got the feeling sometimes she still saw him and his brothers as the little boys they once were. She’d be in heaven once she had some grandkids.
“What’s the question?”
He waited until she was sitting down again.
“If I wanted to—” Now that it was time to ask, he didn’t know what words to use. His mother waited patiently. “If I wanted to try it again. Reading. What would I do?”
“Ah.” Lisa sat back and nodded, her hands cupped around her steaming mug of tea. She didn’t seem surprised by his sudden question. Had she anticipated it now that he’d taken over managing the herd? “Given you’re past school age, I think you’d need to find a literacy tutor.”
“Where would I get one of those?”
Lisa thought a moment. “I think I might know. Mind if I make a phone call?”
“Have at it.” Now that it was out in the open, he just wanted things sorted as fast as possible. Lisa stepped away and made a call after looking up a number. He heard her describing what she wanted—someone to meet with him one on one to work on his reading skills—and after a few moments jotted something down on a piece of paper. Five minutes later she was back in her seat pushing the paper across the table at him. “Go to 5454 Third Street. Second floor. Room eight. Monday at two o’clock.”
“What is it?”
“A volunteer bureau. They’ll assign a literacy tutor to you. The program is free, so you won’t see a specialist, exactly—just someone trained to work with people with dyslexia. I imagine you’ll go once a week and they’ll give you homework in between.” She must have seen his expression. “Ned, you and your father like to act like you’re the only ones with this problem, but you’re not. It’s so common you can’t throw a stone in a crowded room without hitting someone with dyslexia. I know they can help. I’m glad you’re going to give it a try.”
“Don’t tell Dad.” He stood up and shoved the scrap of paper into his pocket.
“I won’t tell him. But if he does find out somehow, you don’t listen to what he says. You can do this. It kills me I let him talk me out of getting you help years ago.” She shook her head. “Sometimes I think I must be the worst mother in the world.”
Ned snorted. “You’re the best and you know it. You’re just fishing for compliments.”
She gave him a wry smile. “Not in this case. In this case I think I did you a disservice. I hope you can forgive me.”
He nodded. “Of course. I know why you didn’t push.”
“That doesn’t make what I did right.”
He dropped a kiss on her head. “You get to be human, too, Mom. What’s done is done.”
“Get yourself to that appointment and undo it, you hear?”
Seton, Cora. The Cowboy Rescues a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 7) (pp. 68-70). One Acre Press. Kindle Edition.
Another confrontation with Holt has Ned bringing Fila with him to their hunting cabin to clear snow from the roof. This becomes a very integral part of the story as the events that unfold bring both terror and confidence to Fila. Her internal journey also reveals she is very much in love with Ned.
A page-turning read with family drama, some terrifying events, romance and some sizzling heat.
Starting the next book now. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Luke and Mia.
5 Contented Purrs for Cora!
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USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.