HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA – Karen Rose Smith
Montana Mavericks: Here Come the Texans, Book 3
Harlequin Special Edition # 2137
Series Contemporary Romance
Thunder Canyon, Montana; the Present
A tragic accident occurred after popular country music star Zane Gunther’s last concert when a teen-age girl was accidentally killed in the crowd of his fans. Though Zane wasn’t at fault, guilt weighs heavily on his heart and soul . . . so heavily he is unable to play his guitar, never mind sing or write songs. For the last few months, he’s lived in seclusion on a mountain near Thunder Canyon while the media twist the facts in their rush to capitalize on the “scandal.” The girl’s heartbroken parents are bringing suit against Zane, and his lawyers have advised he talk to no one. His good friend Dr. Dillon Traub and his wife Erika live in town and know where he is.
Single mom Jeanette Williams works two jobs, one is waitressing at a barbeque rib joint, and the other is for a housekeeping service. One of her cleaning jobs includes stocking the mountain house with food. She never sees the anonymous person she cleans for, but one day she is late finishing up.
Jeanette doesn’t recognize who Zane is but they both recognize an unusual attraction to the other. It isn’t a good time for either to get into a relationship, but nature will have its way, although, first they must get over the hurdle when Jeanette loses her cleaning job and blames Zane for getting her fired. Jeanette needs the extra work so she can put her son Jonah, four and a half, into pre-school. Her fiancé died before Jonah was born, and though his parents took her in then and help care for Jonah, she recently moved into her own place.
As the attraction builds into a friendship, Jeanette is reluctant to let go of the past for a casual affair. Zane is mired down with the loss of the music that was his life and a looming trial with all its notoriety as well. It’s no time to get involved, yet there is something about Jeanette and young Jonah that fills a void.
Jeanette is a good mom and very likable. She’s fiercely proud and independent, and Jonah is her number one concern. Zane is also a good person. He’s been hurt in the past and is all too ready to blame himself for everything. Even without the paparazzi making trouble, how could he ask Jeanette and Jonah to share his celebrity lifestyle?
Minor characters include Jonah’s grandparents, the boorish owner and patrons of LipSmackin’ Ribs, along with Dillon and Erika from last September’s FROM DOCTOR...TO DADDY in the Montana Mavericks: Thunder Canyon Cowboys series. I can’t resist Ms. Smith’s stories of family building, especially when strong males show their tender sides.
HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA is an engaging tale of a man whose damaged heart heals when he meets a certain woman and an endearing child. I certainly hope we meet Jeanette, Jonah, and Zane again in future Montana Mavericks novels.