Signs - sometimes we just refuse to recognize them but when we take a step back there's no denying their existence. Natalie Lewis saw all the signs but refused to acknowledge them so that way maybe they weren't really there. But there was no way to deny a very important fact - she was pregnant and her lover Craig dumped her. Wyatt Buckhorn and his family have been important to Natalie all these years. Wyatt an untouchable friend with a bevy of gorgeous girls at his beck and call but now that was going to change and it only took one kiss. For Wyatt it was a ploy to get a clingy woman off his scent and for Natalie - well suffice it to say toes practically curled. Hiding a pregnancy was difficult in a small town and facing raising a child as a single woman began to make Natalie a little shaky. But to be perfectly honest with herself she had to admit Craig was just the last in a long line of men who failed to measure up.
Funny thing is Natalie wasn't the only one affected by that kiss - Wyatt was starting to see her in an entirely different light. But as he was leaving town pretty soon he certainly wasn't planning on acting on any attraction. And being around all these babies and pregnant women were just too hard on him. Wyatt was diagnosed as infertile after a bad case of mumps and although his family desperately wanted him home Wyatt needed space to get over his disappointment over not having the family he had envisioned. Ironically the one person who understood and supported his leaving was Natalie who found merit in his decision. But the more time they spent together thrown together by a family emergency the more he realized how much he was going to miss her. How strange after all these years as just a friend now Natalie was daily in his thoughts. Natalie had difficult issues to deal with as well - the first was her parent's disappointment in her unplanned pregnancy without even the likelihood of a marriage. She was so tired of not measuring up - it was just easier to settle for what she had - dreaming for a perfect family just wasn't constructive.
Both Natalie and Wyatt were dissatisfied with their lot in life but if they would just open their eyes and hearts they would be surprised to find the answer to their dreams right in front of them.
I love a book where the characters are larger than life and their dialog makes me laugh. Altom gifted her characters with a sharp wit, sassy tongue and compassion that made them so real that by the end of the book you really know and care about them. When Natalie and Wyatt engage in their bantering you almost feel guilty eavesdropping.
Wyatt Buckhorn is only a pal. If sharing scorching kisses that leave a woman feeble-brained means they're pals! But that's all the oilman-slash-rancher can be to Natalie Lewis. Five months pregnant and recently jilted, Natalie refuses to trust any man, least of all a man who is the definition of playboy.
Throw in that every run-in turns into a fiery encounter, and "just friends" gets complicated. Which is a shame, because Natalie's life is messy enough.
Besides, she knows Wyatt's secret-he's sterile, and so enforces a strict kid-free rule. But when circumstances have them caring for a whole clan of Buckhorn youngsters over the holidays, Natalie sees a side of Wyatt that's definitely kid-friendly. Weakening defenses, and even weaker knees, have Natalie determined to destroy Wyatt's anti-family policy.before he leaves town for good.