Author: Diana Palmer
Series Connection: Long Tall Texans
Genre: Western Romance
Purchase Link: Amazon
Michelle's father has died of cancer leaving her with a stepmother, Roberta, who seems to have never cared for her Michelle's father at all. With a nasty habit and a need for money, Roberta makes life miserable for Michelle. One day in desperation Michelle meets her next door neighbor, Gabriel, and unloads the whole story on him.
In that short meeting Michelle and Gabriel establish a strong bond. Shortly later Roberta dies, leaving Michelle, an 18 year old high school student alone and Gabriel offering to take her in and with the help of his sister Sara the three form a family of their own. With the help of the brother and sister, Michelle is able to live her dream of going to college and becoming a journalist.
For Gabriel, Michelle is like no one he has ever met. Many would call him cold as ice, but when he is with Michelle he is happier than he's ever been. He falls in love with her, but he can't do anything about it because she is so young and innocent. He knows she feels the same about them and holds them both off until she is old enough to understand her feelings more and grows up.
Michelle doesn't realize it, but Gabriel has been keeping secrets from her and while the two continue to fall and love and wait to do anything about their love, their time might be running out as not knowing Gabriel's secrets might cause Michelle to do something that would ruin their relationship forever.
This long run series generally has a formula that is followed with many of the couples featured in the books. Other members of the community come back and visit or play secondary roles, which is all part of the charm to these books.
I was pleasantly surprised that this booked stepped away a bit from the author's norm. Gabriel stayed true to Michelle while he waited for her to grow older. There was no sleazy girlfriend coming out of the woodwork to keep the heroine at bay until she grew older.
Also, while some might question how at 24 years old Gabriel was able to amass so much money, ever at his chosen profession, (this is a fictional story after all) at least in this case the featured couple were only six years apart. Sometimes the 15 to 20 year difference, especially when the girl is 18 years old is a bit too much, even for fiction.
Their love was born in Texas…
Gabriel Brandon had been her hero ever since she was a girl and he'd rescued her, an orphan, from sure ruin. And Michelle Godrey had loved him forever, the mysterious rancher with the dark eyes, her protector and guardian angel. Now she'd blossomed into a woman. But could Michelle ever cast aside the shadows that lingered between them? Could she show Gabriel that their Lone Star love was true?