Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Father for Her Child by Laurel Greer (spotlight and review)

(Sutter Creek, Montana Book 2705)
Laurel Greer


She was always his best friend’s girl…

But then their whole lives changed

Widow Cadence Grigg is slowly putting her life back together—and raising her infant son. By her side is her late husband’s best friend, Zach Cardenas, who can’t help his burgeoning feelings for Cadie and her baby boy. Though determined not to fall in love again, Cadie might find that Cupid has other plans for her happily-ever-after…


Cadie jabbed her sister with an elbow. “I need to say goodnight to my baby before he falls asleep. Is he with Zach? Where are they?”
They. It fit, the unity. The only person more bonded to Ben than Zach was Cadie herself.           

The second floor of the house was quiet, so she tiptoed down the hall in case Ben was already sleeping.

She peeked into his room. The lamp on the changing table cast gentle light across the pair dozing in the padded rocking chair. 
Her heart melted.     
Zach’s hands cradled Ben’s back. The baby must have been fussing at some point, because Zach’s hair looked like he’d just run through a windstorm. 
Lines of exhaustion marked his eyes but his mouth was relaxed. And Ben lay on Zach’s mouthwatering chest like he hadn’t a care in the world.

Smart baby, picking that particular spot to nap.         
And stupid me, for wishing I could take Ben’s place.           
Shaking her head at herself, she snuck into the room and arranged Ben’s sleep sack in the crib. Her baby was going to complain when she moved him. He was completely at peace in the arms of the man who’d never once hesitated to step up. Had never stated he didn’t think he could be a parent.

Zach is not Ben’s father.

How many times was she going to need to remind herself of that? Probably until she stopped wishing it was the truth and stopped comparing Zach and Sam.

Because Sam came up short, every time.

Guilt pressed her insides. For thinking such terrible thoughts about her husband, and for letting Zach save her ass, over and over.

He made too many sacrifices for her. Tonight, even. He should be at home resting after a hard day of therapy, not pitching in with Ben. Pragmatically, she knew that as a single parent she was only hurting herself if she didn’t lean on the people who loved her. But she’d leaned so much in the year and a half since Sam died that she’d developed a permanent tilt.

Zach let out a sleepy snort, and she glanced at him. He had the thickest eyelashes, and—crap, it was totally crossing a line to sneak peeks of him while he slept.

She ripped her gaze away from his beautiful face, knelt on the rug and started cleaning up blocks and cars and stuffies as quietly as possible. But her gaze kept drifting back to the rocking chair. Last summer she’d made a study of watching him. Sitting at his desk with his hands tunneled into his hair. Taking kids tandem across the Wild Life Adventures zip line course. And more recently, dripping with sweat as he worked his tail off in rehab. The slow shift from objective appreciation to actually wanting to jump his bones risked toppling the scaffold she’d erected around her life.

It’s just physical. I can control that.

Her stomach growled, as if mocking her confidence as well as reminding her she’d skipped lunch and had only managed to finish half her toast this morning because Ben had refused to eat anything except the food off her plate.

“Yikes, I’d better make double the schnitzel.” The low rumble of Zach’s voice hooked deep in her core and she bit her lip.

He smiled drowsily, another hook anchoring into her soul. Yeah, she was never getting those out.



My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

A Father for Her Child by Laurel Greer is part of the ‘Sutter Creek, Montana’ series and features widowed Cadence (Cadie) Grigg, her young son Ben, and her late husband’s best friend, Zach Cardenas. The adults are tied together by friendship, their love of Ben, and their mutual unacknowledged attraction. Mired in the past, they have to get past their emotional burdens and deal with Zach’s injuries before they can figure out their future together.

This contemporary romance connects with the book From Exes to Expecting and it was lovely to revisit the folks who were spotlighted in that book and get a glimpse of how their lives are going. The main couple in this story are tied together by tragedy and by their feelings of guilt but they are also connected by their years of friendship and their devotion to the young toddler, Ben. I love the emotionalism that is beautifully portrayed even as the reasons each is consumed by guilt are gradually revealed. The devotion Zach has for Cadence and Ben is heartwarming and the angst caused by the ethical concerns that arise when the relationship starts evolving is understandable although frustrating.

A surprise revelation that occurs while they’re viewing outtakes was a bit awkward for me as I didn’t understand why that would have been recorded, let alone aired for the grieving widow, but I understand that it was needed for the story to progress.

I think this is a touching story about second chances and the importance of forgiveness, both of oneself and of others. There is a great combination of family time and growing passion and I thought the relationship evolution was believable. I enjoyed seeing the tenderness and affection that is displayed between the central characters as well as the extended family and I finished with a warm fuzzy feeling and a sense of satisfaction. What else could a romantic ask for?

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