Heart of Stone

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Heart of Stone

Amber Wilson is 20 years old, pregnant, on her own and getting ready to start a new job on the Brandon ranch.  She looks huge as she’s is expecting twins but as she really needs this job, she’s not telling anyone that and that they could come early.  She’s meet at the door by one very angry cowboy, Stonewall Brandon, who knows nothing about a temporary bookkeeper being hired and has no idea why one would be hired especially one that looks like she’s going to give birth at any second!

The Brandon ranch is run by the Brandon family and a few hands.  Cady is the oldest and she took over the raising of her 3 brothers when their parents were killed in a small plane accident.  Tyler is married and has a young daughter.  Jeff is only 17 and is looking at dating twin sisters.  Stonewall, Stone is in his 20s.  He was suppose to get married a couple of years ago but a month before the wedding he called it off after finding out his fiancé had an abortion without even telling him that she had gotten pregnant.  Each sibling has a section of the ranch to call his or her own but they work it as one unit.  They also have a trust fund that they will receive at 30 or when they get married.

Stone is attracted to Amber.  After Amber’s car dies and Stone sees where Amber is staying, he suggests that she move to the ranch and stay in their old housekeepers quarters.  Shortly after, Stone talks Amber into marrying him, a marriage of convince to give her some financial stability and for him to get his trust so he expand some of the ranch operations without his sister’s interference.  The more they’re around each other though, the more they want.  They’re falling in love but neither is going to admit it and every time Stone tries to get close to Amber she gets scared.  Something happened to her in the past but it’s affecting the present.  Stone needs to find out what happened so they can face it together.

It doesn’t help when Stone’s ex-finance, Liz comes back to town and decides she wants Stone back.  Amber isn’t at all sure about her relationship with Stone and truly thinks that he would want the woman he almost married back.  After all, they were in love at one time and he only married her out of pity.  Liz is doing everything she can to get Stone back, but can she tempt him away from Amber?

These characters are likeable even though a few are a bit naïve.  Amber remembers nothing of the night she conceived the twins except pain yet she never thinks that someone might have drugged her or done something to her so she wouldn’t remember.  Amber also has little to no self-confidence in herself as a woman.  She expects to be treated badly.  Stone agrees to no sex and sleeps on the sofa in a house full of people and no one notices.  While I agree what goes on behind closed doors stays there, most men get a bit grumpy when sleeping on a sofa that is too short for them to lay on!  You would think someone would notice.  Even Cady tries to ignore Chance, another cowboy, who is interested in her because he’s younger than she is yet she doesn’t seem to have any other love interest.  Still, the characters are fun to read about and are believable.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth in this book though.  While the story is good and moves along in a logical matter, some things are just skimmed over or not gone into.  Cady and Stone argue over the management of the ranch but you don’t know why or how or really any details at all.  Amber’s father threw her out when he found out she was pregnant but you don’t really understand the family relationship.  Though her father is suppose to be a pastor at a church, from many of the descriptions of his interactions with the women in his family, I would almost think he was abusive yet Amber feels that they had a very loving relationship prior to this.  Without the depth needed to figure out his motives, you just have to go with what you read.  Many of the things have to be taken at face value without too much read into them as there is no real depth.

There are a lot of loving relationships though.  You can tell that even though Cady and Stone do argue, they care about each other deeply.  Cady doesn’t necessarily like that Stone and Amber got married but her first reaction after disbelief is giving them a wedding reception.  Amber looks on with longing at Tyler and his wife as they interact with each other.  Amber and Stone do get close but don’t expect any torrid sex scenes in this book because they aren’t there.  Instead, you have a loving relationship with patience and understanding.  Amber’s been hurt sexually before and Stone has to have those qualities if he’s getting any where with her.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It seems like it may be part of a series but this book definitely stands alone.  I liked learning about the Brandon’s and wouldn’t mind reading about Cady’s story and wonder about Tyler’s.  Though I occasionally got frustrated with a few of the characters, they always redeemed themselves quickly.  I can see most of what happened in this book in real life which makes it even more interesting to read. 

Book Blurb for Heart of Stone

A marriage in name only. A secret past. Can love be found amid the tangle of distrust and betrayal? Alone and pregnant with twins, Amber Wilson has only a fuzzy memory of how she got that way. One thing she knows for sure—no man will ever get near enough to hurt her again. But when she meets Stone Brandon, the attraction is too great to ignore. Stone’s ex-fiancée’s betrayal has hardened his heart. Though he is drawn to Amber, he knows he can never fall in love again. Still, with her help, the dreams he has for the expansion of his family’s ranch can become a reality. A platonic marriage seems like the logical answer for both of them—until he realizes that a marriage in name only with Amber is a hell of his own making.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2008 4.00