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Posted June 19, 2013
In The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake, Charla Denny is barely making
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In The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake, Charla Denny is barely making it through each day after the loss of her beloved son Benje and a subsequent divorce from her husband JB. She's been in a medicated fog cooped up inside her house with her elderly father while JB has been taking care of the business end of the ranch. When they fell in love in high school, she never would have believed that they would be torn apart over their grief of losing their son and that JB would take up with a girl half his age when they separated. Charla fights back the day he brings another young girl to the ranch by telling him to leave the property and to never come back. She'll deal with the business and chores. Being a rancher's wife meant she has taken care of the house and all it entails for years, but she had left everything else to JB. She is terrified of making a mistake that will cost them money and maybe even lose the bucking bull business they've built over the years. Char also has to wean herself off the valium that has been her lifeline since her son died and try to help her father deal with his advancing Alzheimer's. She makes an unlikely friend in the newest member of town, New York transplant Bella, who lends a helping hand and a sympathetic ear to Charla. It's this connection to Bella that helps her finally start to take ownership of her life again.
~Suddenly Jimmy looked up, his eyes locking on hers so quick that she knew he'd been aware of her the whole time. He continued singing as her heart slammed against her ribs; his unrelenting gaze left no doubt that his song choice was no accident. His low-set voice slowed, coming gentle from the speakers overhead, to settle on her.
" 'So when you look up with your eyes all blue and ask me, do I still love you? I do.' ~
JB keeps reappearing in Charla's day-to-day life, much to her chagrin. She can't let go of the heartache he caused her by cheating, and her mind of course always strays to their son when he's around. He makes a few feeble attempts to get back in her good graces but Char isn't sure there is any of the young cowboy she fell in love with left inside him. As they both struggle to move forward, she learns to like her new role running the ranch and the independent woman she's become. JB apparently feels the same way, telling her how much she's grown, and lets her continue to handle things on her own for the most part. She feels herself getting pulled back into her old feelings for him from before everything went horribly wrong. Char worries that her heart will be broken again if she trusts JB once more but has to decide if love is worth risking a second chance.
~Being alone with Little Bit last night brought it all back. How much he missed being her husband, the man by her side looking out for her, taking care of her. How much he missed the love and trust in her eyes. Touching her made him miss her, like a piece of him was gone.~
Jimmy 'JB' Denny feels like he's at just about the lowest point of his life. He's lost his son and his wife all within about a year's time. He was dumped by the young woman he got together with while he and Char were separated. And now money is so tight he's not sure how he'll pay for two households. He is shocked as he arrives at the ranch to pick up the bulls for the rodeo when Char comes out to the truck apparently outraged with him for bringing a young woman with him. She doesn't give him a chance to fully explain that he's just giving the girl a ride to the PBR event. She immediately assumes he's seeing her and flaunting it in her face. JB doesn't know how Char will handle the ranch by herself when she demands he leave the property but he intends to do what he can to help her out without her knowledge. He tries to keep tabs on her and eventually she allows him back to tend the training of the new bulls. JB realizes how much he misses Charla and the life they once had together. He will do anything to get back in her good graces and sets out to prove to her that he's still the same man beneath it all.
This is a sweet romance by Laura Drake that is filled with heart-wrenching emotions and second chances. My heart broke for Charla and JB in their grief over the loss of their son. They both dealt with it in such different ways that it drove a wedge between them. I couldn't help as I read this but to hope their love would be strong enough to help them heal and to bring them back together in the end. The secondary characters in the story all played a strong part in Charla and JB's lives and are quite memorable themselves, along with adding some funny, upbeat moments in an otherwise intense story. I would recommend this one if you enjoy a story about hope, personal growth and lasting love.