Cover Image: The Heart of a Cowboy

The Heart of a Cowboy

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The Heart of a Cowboy touched all the right places in my heart. Hedlund has a way with words that makes my heart blossom, my toes curl, and my mind dwell on story lines long after I finish. In this second book of the Colorado Cowboy series, we meet Linnea and Flynn. The opening scene grabbed my attention and left me endeared to Linnea’s affinity for trouble. I love her brilliant mind and her determination to have her work seen, valued, and recognized, even if she is a woman. Flynn is equally drawn to her, but his heart is so guarded and protected that he determines to be immune to her charm. Until he realizes he’s not. Everyone loves Linnea, and for good reasons. I love how she helps draw him out from the walls he’s built around his heart. They bring good balance to each other. As their friendship deepens into something genuine and true, I began turning pages with bated breath. I was torn between wanting to hurry up and get to the end for resolution and never ending so their story would go on. This story is so well crafted you will not be disappointed. 
I received a complimentary copy from the author and publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own, freely given.
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The Heart of a Cowboy is the second book in Jody Hedlund’s Colorado Grooms series. This book follows the next eldest brother, Flynn McQuaid, as he drives his older brother’s herd to Colorado along the Santa Fe Trail. He meets up with a botanical exposition after he saves the party’s lone female from a dangerous river.

The sparks fly at once, but both have their own reasons for not wanting to encourage the connection. I’ll admit, the author’s heat level is on the edge of what I generally prefer, however, one reason why I not only keep reading her books, but love them, is because she doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics surrounding the desire she shows within her stories. The Heart of a Cowboy addresses that discussion head on and I love how it makes me think.

The Heart of a Cowboy can stand alone, but it part of a series that will help add depth to the story if you read A Cowboy for Keeps first. With the way this story ends, I’m excited about book three and the next McQuaid it features!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
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Another wonderful western story delivered by Ms. Hedlund! At first, I wasn’t sure if her Westerns were going to be as good as her Historicals, but they’re just as good! Every one of her books always surpasses my expectations, and I think I like this one even more than the first (of which I raved)!
Linnea Newberry, a botanical scientist, is having her dream of adventure, as she accompanies her grandfather’s expedition along the Santa Fe Trail to Colorado Territory. She wants to be recognized as the asset she is, and not as a burden, just because of her gender. But after her life seriously threatened, Dr. Howell, her grandfather, fears for her safety and wonders if he should send her home. Until she meets Flynn McQuaid, the man who just rescued her from drowning… He sees in him an honest, decent man, so he asks him to act as Linnea’s “bodyguard” during the journey, without her knowing it; just staying near and checking her out. He’ll pay a good sum for his services. Flynn wants to reject the offer, but he needs the money if he wants for him and his siblings to arrive -along with the cattle- safe and sound to his older brother’s ranch in Colorado. But he promises himself he will not soften his for this woman he already is starting to admire. He wants to prove Wyatt that he’s capable and trustworthy. But after watching his mother suffer and die of childbirth, he swears he’ll never marry or care for a woman ever; he needs to focus on providing for his siblings. What he doesn’t know is that befriending and getting to know Linnea may just change his mind, and he finds himself wondering what is riskier, the dangers of the trail, of the danger of falling for a woman he is helplessly trying to resist?
Oh, I loved this story! I just fell in love with Linnea and Flynn. Both so different, yet so perfect for each other! Flynn had a heart of gold, he was selfless, he sacrificed everything to raise his younger siblings after his ma’ died. He is still aching over not being able to stop one of his younger brothers from enlisting for war. His heart is hurting and he’s vulnerable, but he can’t help himself in being attracted to Linnea’s cheery and bright personality that seems to lighten his load whenever he’s around her. Also, she seems to know how to deal with his siblings and tame their rebellious nature. Linnea is a strong and courageous woman, trying to prove her mettle in a world dominated by men. She’s recently widowed, after marrying an older man, a colleague and part of her grandfather’s team who promised to take her on the adventure of the trail, but died too soon after they started. Yet Linnea didn’t get a chance to really know what true love is. Until she meets Flynn. Her heart seems to want to brighten his life. His siblings are so endearing, she can’t help falling in love with the small McQuaid family. I also loved Linnea’s propensity to mishaps personality; she was just a genius, capable of observing nature with amazing detail, yet oblivious of what happens around her when she focuses on something. Flynn and Linnea’s growing relationship was a sight to behold. I loved how Flynn resists so much until he just can’t. And his protectiveness of Linnea suddenly has nothing to do with being hired to protect her. The spark between them was undeniable. Their romance was clean, sweet yet swooning, and my heart melted. They had enough danger-rescue opportunities to grow close and their chemistry to turn into something more. And I also fell in love, as Linnea, with Flynn’s family. Ivy was the best, so funny, outspoken and witty.
The plot is very engaging, with unexpected twists and turns that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. The dangers they face made it all a real adventure. I really couldn’t put the book down. The description of the Santa Fe trail and the landscape was so vivid that I felt I was there, like a western movie. And the lovable, relatable characters made me feel part of their struggles and root for their seemingly difficult happily ever after. There is also a faith inspired message that flowed naturally. About letting go of the pain, letting God heal you and trusting Him with your life and letting Him guide you.
This is definitely a book you don’t want to miss! Highly recommended to western and historical fans! Just hold on to your saddle and join this heartwarming adventure!
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the Publisher, but wasn’t required to post a positive review. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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What a wonderful historical romance! I loved being on the trail with Flynn, his siblings, Linnea, and the group of scientists traveling west. This is book two in the Colorado Cowboy series, yet can be read and enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book, A Cowboy for Keeps. However, having read book one in the series, I was happy to get to see what was going on with former characters toward the end of The Heart of a Cowboy.

Flynn was a great character. He had such a heart for his siblings and wanted to protect them and raise them right. He felt that he had failed to protect his mother, who died in childbirth, as well as a brother who had run off to join the war. He carried guilt as well as trauma from his mother’s death, yet he still had a heart for others. His kindness toward Linnea and her grandfather spoke to the sort of man he was.

I loved the way the relationship began developing between Linnea and Flynn. They both kept trying to keep their interactions based in friendship, but there was a deep attraction that kept developing, even as both of them pushed against it. There were some big obstacles between them and only by putting their trust in God did they have a hope of a future together. I loved this book from start to finish and look forward to the next in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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The Heart of a Cowboy continues Jody Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series.  Shortly after Flynn McQuaid begins his journey to deliver cattle for his older brother, he flys into action to save Linnea Newbury from drowning.  Linnea is traveling west with her grandfather on a scientific expedition.  Before Flynn knows it, Linnea’s grandfather hires him to protect Linnea from the dangers along the trail!

These dangers not only involve poisonous snakes and former Civil War soldiers looking for a gun battle, but also the warm feelings that seem to be growing between Flynn and Linnea, due to their close interaction!

Hold fast to discover if Linnea will set aside her dreams of scientific achievement to discover what God has in store for her.  You may surprised to see where Linnea and Flynn land by the final page of this tale!
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With The Heart of a Cowboy, Jody Hedlund has crafted a sweet love story between a brilliant female scientist and a cowboy with a heart of gold.

From the end of A Cowboy for Keeps, I was intrigued and excited about Flynn’s story. So when I had to opportunity to read The Heart of a Cowboy, I was stoked. And I was not disappointed.

Hedlund grabs you from the first line and pulls you into the story of the Santa Fe Trail. For those who love stories about wagon trains, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. Hedlund puts a nice twist on it, though, because Flynn and his crew aren’t traveling to Oregon but are driving cattle to his brother’s ranch in Colorado. And Linnea, a female botanist ahead of her time, is with an expedition studying plant life in the west. These two disparate agendas come together when Linnea’s grandfather asks Flynn to protect her. This creates one of the most unique plots I’ve ever read.

There is a lot of discussion about physical attraction, which may be off-putting to some readers. But Hedlund uses this to make an important point about boundaries Christians should not cross. I liked that the physical attraction isn’t the only thing that draws Linnea and Flynn to each other. They also enjoy talking to one another and appreciate aspects of each other’s personalities. For example, Linnea admires Flynn’s selflessness, and Flynn admires Linnea’s kindness and zest for life. This really rounds out their relationship.

A Cowboy for Keeps is still my favorite of the series, but then again, I’m a sucker for a good marriage of convenience story.

Overall, The Heart of a Cowboy is a sweet, original, and action-packed romance historical fans will love.

(Note: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to review. I was not required to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.)
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Jody Hedlund once again knocks it out of the park!  I have greatly enjoyed this series so far and this second book is a wonderful addition to the series.  I really liked Linnea for her spunk, her tenacity, and her passion.  The chemistry she has with Flynn is perfect and the right amount of romance for this western tale.  The author did a great job of balancing the independence of Linnea against the knight-in-shining-armor heroism of Flynn.  There is some exciting action packed among the romance and the Civil War era is interesting to read.  I also liked the theme of trusting in God despite our own human fears.  I really loved this novel and look forward to the next one.  Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Do you like historical western romance? Then you will love this book. You don’t like historical western romance? Give this one a try! What’s not to love. A young lady, that has a strong drive to becomes a great botanist. Her Grandfather that believes in her and is willing to take her on an expedition. A rugged attractive cowboy, that swoops in to save her from a raging river. Danger at every turn, bad guys, beautiful scenery, and horses. Not to mention, they can’t take their eyes off each other!  This is a swoony clean romance. I say swoony, for some suggestive interlude's that could give it a  PG13 rating. But nothing  crude or revealing.  It has some Christian references, but not preachy. Wonderful writing, strong characters and great story. It is the 2nd book of the series, but can be read as a stand alone. Although the glimpse of the next book, will have you waiting with anticipation. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Heart of a Cowboy, a historical, western romance is the second book in Jody Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series. This book can be read as a stand alone although I personally think it’s better if you read the first book, A Cowboy for Keeps. 

Western is typically a genre that I’m not drawn to but I will read anything by Jody Hedlund and especially after reading the first one I couldn’t wait for this one. It did not disappoint. Jody Hedlund excels at every book she writes no matter what the subject matter is. The characters and scenes are so well developed that you feel like you personally know the everyone and actually are traveling the Santa Fe Trail with Linnea, Flynn and their family. If you are looking for a 5 star book to read look no further. 

My gratitude to the author and publisher for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and the opinions expressed are my own.
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The Heart of a Cowboy is a fantastic story of daring rescues and sweeping romance that should not be missed by anyone who loves a good western! In this second installment of the Colorado Cowboys series, intelligent and independent Linnea meets strong and protective Flynn McQuaid when he saves her life on the trail out West. Linnea, a botanist, keeps running into trouble on her scientific expedition, so Flynn is secretly hired by Linnea’s grandfather to protect her as they travel together towards Colorado. Through the weeks of the trip, we see plenty of dashing rescues and romantic moments that made me want to swoon! However, I really appreciated the deeper spiritual element that Jody Hedlund brought to this story. Flynn battles some deep-seated fears of starting a family because of his mother’s death in childbirth, and he uses that fear to place barriers between him and Linnea. It is not very common to see a hero work through such crippling fear as a vital part of a plot, and I thought Jody Hedlund did a wonderful job of depicting Flynn’s battle to trust God and pursue a happy ending despite his own fear. I also loved how Jody Hedlund balanced chivalry and feminism in this story. She paired the intelligent and independent heroine with a strong hero who respects her intelligence but also strives to protect her. They work together to support each other, and it is a wonderful depiction of a relationship built on mutual respect and love. The character development in this book was excellent, and when you mix in some adventure and romance, it is the perfect recipe for another wonderful read by Jody Hedlund.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and author for review purposes, but my thoughts are my own. I really did love it!
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I was excited to read this book because I enjoyed book one and the McQuaid siblings. I thought I wouldn’t like Flynn more than I did Wyatt, but I was wrong.

Flynn has so much on his plate and though he doesn’t always handle things perfectly, he’s trying. That is so appealing! I loved that he was trying to do right by his brother and sister and help his older brother.

I also liked the way he interacted with Linnea, being more amused than annoyed. He was able to see her in a way no one else (not even her grandfather) did.

There were a couple of times that I was bothered by Linnea’s actions, but in the grand scheme of things, considering the times, I could understand why she did what she did.

All in all, another good book and one that has me looking forward to the next McQuaid sibling.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. My review was not required nor influenced.
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Travel West in a covered wagon with botanists and cowherders during the 1860s, in The Heart of a Cowboy, the second book in the newest historical fiction series by Jody Hedlund.  This story chronicles Linnea’s journey as she navigates the journey as a new widow with an interest in plants and Flynn McQuaid.     
The Heart of a Cowboy is a great addition to Hedlund’s new Western series but can also be read as a standalone.  I recommend The Heart of a Cowboy to readers who enjoy sweeping family sagas with a Christian message.  Thank you to Net Galley, the author, and the publisher for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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Jody Hedlund does not disappoint with this new read, set on the Santa Fe Trail, we are headed west bound, with a different group of people than the usual Western travelers!

The author has paired up scientists with cowboys bringing a herd of long horns to Colorado, along with a group of scientists studying the plants that grow in this country. We are along for the journey, and what a journey we experience!

We are given a young woman whom is trying to prove herself in a man's world, and a young man fulfilling a promise to his mother. There is danger with renegade confederates, this is Civil War Time, sabotage, and throw in a bit of sweet romance.

This quickly became a page turner for me, I needed answers, and in the end I wanted more!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
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The Heart of a Cowboy is the second book in Colorado Cowboys series.  The first book gives us a glimpse of Flynn's character and sets up the journey west with his brother and sister.  I don't think you need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one, but you learn his older brother's story and why Wyatt is the way he is.  And it was a good book, so why not read it first?  I'm not a huge fan of western's in general, but I am a huge fan of Jody Hedlund so if a western theme isn't your thing, I would recommend giving it a shot because this is a story worth reading!  Full of clean romance, a well-muscled yet tender-hearted hero, a damsel who is always in some sort of predicament, and a dangerous journey to Colorado. I was completely glued to the pages.  Jody Hedlund is such a good story teller, I always feel immersed in the story, like a bystander, seeing and hearing it unfold in my minds eye.  Such a satisfying read, and the teaser for the next book has me already counting the days until I can "visit" the McQuaid family again.  

Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free DRC of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.
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#BookReview: THE HEART OF A COWBOY by Jody Hedlund

You are in for an adventure with this second book in the Colorado Cowboys series. It’s nice if you have read the first book, but I think it can still be read as a stand alone. This is much better though in my opinion. 

Historical romance lovers will surely appreciate Flynn and Linnea’s story. Set in 1863, Flynn was on his way to Colorado to bring cattle to his brother, Wyatt. Flynn was a responsible and caring brother. He would also offer help to anyone who needs it. Linnea was a botanist on an expedition with her grandfather and some other scientists. She gets distracted easily and often finds herself in unfortunate situations. Well, Flynn and Linnea met in one of her misadventures. He was her hero. 

They came from different backgrounds but this trek to the west made them appreciate each other’s finer qualities. The way they made each other smile and laugh brought joy to their challenging circumstances. Their chemistry and conversations were a delight to read.

The banters among the McQuaid siblings were fun. Ivy was a typical younger sibling and liked to tease Flynn. I anticipate what the future holds for her. 

Flynn had to learn to let go of his fear and to forgive. They also had to learn that despite all the difficulties, God has always been there for them and their loved ones. I am glad how Linnea’s career path turned out. 

This was a romantic and enjoyable read with some suspenseful incidents. Ms. Hedlund is a great storyteller. Flora was so cute and I can’t wait to read Brody’s story next. 4.5 stars

Thank you Bethany House and #netgalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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This is a *Must Read* book! This book was an absolute wonderful read. The author brings the story to life with her words and makes you feel like you are there. I can't say enough good things about this book without letting a spoiler slip out, it's a heartwarming read that you don't want to miss.
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House and Jody Hedlund via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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What an interesting unique story! Flynn is heading West with his brother and sister to meet his estranged brother, driving cattle. They meet up with a group of scientists heading the same way. The beginning starts with quite the action! Linnea is a scientist and not very observant to her surroundings when she’s observing fauna and floral. As you can imagine this can cause some issues traveling the Santa Fe Trail. There are some twists and turns and things each character overcomes. An enjoyable read and also a reminder of what those who settled the West went through, Danger, weather, Supply shortages. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All views stated are my own.
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I've read a couple of books about wagon trails to west America in the last year or so. They're often full of pain and suffering. And sure, maybe every good story needs some pain and suffering. But I don't always like to go into a story expecting it. I like to be as surprised by it as the characters are. Anyway, I said that to say that I wasn't stoked to see The Heart of the Cowboy focus so much on the journey to Colorado. But it makes sense. Wyatt needs more cows added to his herd. Flynn, Dylan, and Ivy need a reason and way to travel to Colorado. And so it just makes sense.

Flynn was easy to love with his struggles. He has seen so much. His dad died, and his mom remarried an abusive man who stole their family farm out from under them. Then his mom has struggled from one stillbirth to another. Flynn decides that he won't ever put a woman through childbirth. He also couldn't prevent his younger brother, Brody, from heading off to enlist in the war. And he and Wyatt have always had tension and disagreements. So he's looking forward to starting a new life in Colorado, but also, he needs to distance himself from his past. I could also relate to his struggles to parent Dylan and Ivy. They both need a parent...or better yet, two parents, but the harder he tries the more they rebel or resent him for it.

Linnea. Bless her. She's a magnet for life threatening situations. She's an educated botanist. But she's rarely taken seriously because she's a woman. She convinced her grandfather to let her join on his expedition to catalog the plants on their journey to Colorado and back for a manual he was compiling with a group of other scientists. No matter how hard she worked, her contributions weren't appreciated by the group. And despite everything stacked against her, Linnea was just a sweet character. She was also easy to love.

Desire was rampant between these two. And I don't often find that Christian authors touch on this too frequently. So it was nice to see these two have to struggle with this. The tension between them was glorious. And it felt like the relationship was the driving force of the story. I always prefer books where this is the case.

I was happy to get to know Wyatt and Flynn's siblings a little bit through this story. Dylan is quite the ladies man, so I can see his struggles coming from a mile away. Ivy is a firecracker. And I can't wait for her story. Brody's book will come next. And we didn't get much about him except a chapter at the end of The Heart of a Cowboy to set up his book.

Also one quick note, I liked how the Native Americans weren't the bad guys during this wagon train tale as they so often are.

Favorite quotes:
-“I could never be like you.”“And you don’t have to be. You just have to be the truest form of you.”

-Did a man need to cast aside all chivalry in order to respect a woman’s worth? Or was it possible for men to regard women with high esteem while also valuing their intelligence?

-The God who took care of the grass and the flowers and the trees had taken care of her just as He’d promised.

The Heart of a Cowboy was the first book this month to really hold my attention from the beginning. Of course, it helps that the opening sequence is Linnea basically drowning and being rescued. Linnea and Flynn were both easy to love. And I can't wait to read more from the McQuaid siblings. The Heart of a Cowboy gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Heart of a Cowboy? What did you think? Let me know!
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I read the first book in this series at the start of a holiday break and once again I found myself at the end of a big and exhausting term and I picked up the second book in the series. Perfect timing indeed, because once again, slipping into a Jody Hedlund historical romance was exactly the way I needed to start my school holidays. 

The second book in the Colorado Cowboys series can be read as a standalone novel, so if you haven’t read the first book don’t hesitate to read this one. 

I love when historical romances give me the taste of the past with all the comfort of today’s views and opinions. The Heart of a Cowboy does just that. Linnea is a botanist and an excellent scientist. She is travelling with her grandfather and a group of scientists on a botanical expedition to Colorado. Despite her excellent scientific discoveries and abilities, she had to twist her grandfather’s arm to allow her to accompany the expedition and he worries greatly about her safety - and not just because she’s a woman. Linnea can become so distracted by her work she wanders off and finds herself in all sorts of danger. Like when she falls off the wagon during a river crossing and needs to be rescued by Flynn McQuaid. Flynn has no need for extra people to rescue and look out for. He is already managing the care of his younger brother and sister, while driving a herd of cattle to Colorado for his older brother and mourning how he couldn’t stop his other younger brother from joining the war. When Linnea’s grandfather asks Flynn and his family to join the expedition and employs Flynn to keep an eye on Linnea, Flynn thinks it will be easy - just another body to look out for. But caring for Linnea, as Flynn soon finds himself doing in more ways than just physical safety, puts everything he has decided for himself and his future at risk.

If this isn’t a swoony romance, I don’t now what is. Flynn and Linnea have incredible chemistry and the many mishaps she finds herself in and the many times Flynn has to rescue her give them plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal. Of course, while Linnea is prone to mishaps, she is no wilting flower. She is strong, intelligent and kind. Her kindness towards Flynn and his family, bring the McQuaids out of their grief. She also demonstrates how being a woman is not going to stop her or her dreams for her future.

Readers of the first book in the series will likely find Flynn’s last name familiar. We followed his older brother in the first book and things look set to join the next brother in the third book.

If you enjoy a good adventurous and very romantic historical novel, then you are sure to enjoy The Heart of a Cowboy - I know I did. And now I think I’ll just wait and see if book three aligns with a future holiday break, hopefully in the near future, because I can’t wait to slip into this time zone and delightful family again. 

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
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Oooh, ooh, ohh, I love Hedlund's cowboys and their heroines!

I've been looking forward to continuing the Colorado Cowboys series since I first read "A Cowboy for Keeps" and let me say that I loved it just as much as I expected! Flynn was even better than I expected and Linnea was just the sweetest!

I won't spoil anything but I highly recommend "The Heart of a Cowboy" for western romance lovers!

And, that snippet of the next book... Ahh, it hurt not to have the book in hand yet!

16/18+ for romance.

Content warning: a good bit of attraction, kissing, suggestions that a character went too far with an old girlfriend before marriage, romantic content, a scene with the guy removing his shirt in front of the heroine, suggestion of immoral conduct.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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