Deconstructing Lila

Deconstructing Lila

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by Shannon Leigh
     
 

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Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn't want to be wrangled?

Jake lives by one creed: Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town

Overview

Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn't want to be wrangled?

Jake lives by one creed: Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town complicates his life and makes him think about things he'd rather forget.

When Lila's restoration project is threatened before it even begins, she turns to Jake for help. Working together stirs up old feelings, but while Lila and Jake always sizzle between the sheets—or wherever the moment takes them—it will involve some sweet-talking and finesse to bring these two together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781622663897
Publisher:
Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
09/23/2014
Series:
Entangled Select Series
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Deconstructing Lila


By Shannon Leigh, Candace Havens

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Shannon Leigh
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-390-3


CHAPTER 1

Lila Jean Gentry was about to initiate the most serious manhunt of her life. And her target, the man she thought about one hundred times a day, from the worn tips of his cowboy boots to the crown of his perfect head, didn't even know she was coming his way.

It was undercover love ...

Lila fidgeted in the driver's seat. Deep-cover romance? She tried out the description, but it didn't fall from her tongue easily. Secret seduction? She groaned at the absurdity and gripped the wheel tighter as she steered into town. Since stealth, and apparently flowery prose, was not in her playbook, she was forced to rely on other assets such as her new cheekini panties from Victoria's Secret. And her intimate knowledge of her target's desires.

Just thinking about it all made Lila shift in the leather seat again. considering the current adventure with such longing produced tingly sensations she hoped would soon be satisfied.

But foremost she had to endure the gauntlet that was Hannington, Texas. First stop: the Grab & Get.

Lila cruised her Lexus under the red tin canopy of the Grab & Get. Her ex-hometown of Hannington, Texas, famous for its grand old bawdy days as a stop along the Chisholm Trail, had matured in the one hundred and fifty years since saloon owner John C. Henry sold whiskey out of a barrel beneath the old pecan tree on the corner. Matured so much that nowadays, instead of booze quenching the mouths of thirsty citizens, the ladies' auxiliary offered homemade lemonade and sugar cookies at the same spot, both as a reminder of days gone by and a deterrent against hellish excess.

Presently, the people of Hannington were pretty sin-free, though the summer temperatures might lead outsiders to assume differently — they didn't call Texas "hell's back forty" for nothin'.

Pulling her cream-colored Lexus alongside a high-octane pump, Lila pushed it into park and gazed through the grasshopper guts on her windshield to the people rushing in and out of the convenience store. Simple, hardworking middle-class folk, with three life priorities: family, politics, and high school football. And not necessarily in that order. Though Lila could guess from the last year's posters papering the Grab & Get's window, the Crusaders' contest for district champ ranked close to number one in the hearts and minds of locals.

The image brought back bittersweet memories of sweltering Friday nights in September beneath bright lights, cheering a certain quarterback as he danced across the end zone for a touchdown.

Lila smiled tightly at her passenger, a worn leather journal, dog-eared and scarred with age, cocooned safely in an acid-free box — her impetus for returning to Hannington after a ten-year hiatus. "Back to the land of football, Frito pie, and country music," she sang to herself. Three things she hadn't experienced since leaving. Three things, if the truth be told, she'd actually missed. More than a little bit.

Giddy and nervous now that she'd arrived, Lila hummed as she jerked the keys from the ignition and opened the driver's door to a blast of smothering, midday July air. The heat raced down her throat as she stood, sucking the breath from her lungs. She took a moment to let the scorched tissue in her lungs recover and fumbled with the gas pump.

Setting the pump lever to automatic, she marched across the steaming pavement, her heels sticking in the hot blacktop with each step.

She wanted to buy a diet soda and get off the main drag before someone recognized her; prolonging the inevitable showdown with folks in town suited her just fine, at least until she made contact with him. Although a decade stood between her and her past in Hannington, the people in the hardscrabble Central Texas town had long memories — some of them could remember the Civil War, though they weren't alive back then — and folks around these parts sure as heck never forgot a scandal. Especially when the gossip involved crazy Sarah Gentry's kid and the satisfaction of saying, "Like mother, like daughter."

Bypassing the staggering arrangement of Miller Lite (in the shape of the Alamo?), which if toppled could kill several small children and a few adults, Lila skirted the illegal eight-liners and their barrage of spinning sevens to pluck a soda from the cooler.

Cradling the icy bottle in the crook of her arm, she got in line behind a pair of young cowboys in snug jeans, cinched belts, and scuffed boots. She ignored their appraising stares in bobbing heads and resisted the desire to stick her tongue out at them; she resisted it with every fiber of her being. She wasn't back in Hannington to cause a scene, or tuck tail and run like a disgraced cow dog. Either of which would earn a round of good gossip at the Dairy Queen. Hell no. She was here to fulfill a vow and change her life. After a few years of therapy, she wholeheartedly embraced her vulnerability (after too many years of denial) and intended to "dare greatly" as her therapist advised. To act upon all the bravery within herself to reclaim the love and adoration of her high school sweetheart. The flawed, courageous, sacrificing, kind, empathetic man she still loved, all these years later.

And she intended the vow to be for good this time. Forever.

The electronic display on the register flashed short affirmations in between lottery advertisements. One in particular caught Lila's attention: Don't allow the absence of guarantees to prevent you from loving with your entire heart.

She resolved to embrace that philosophy no matter what the future held. Embrace it like her life depended on it.

Finally, escaping out of the double doors, she focused on the familiar sight of her car and refused the impulse to look at people in the parking lot. Making eye contact was an invitation for conversation. A reason to pause and chitchat about the debilitating heat, the fund-raising drive of the Bell County Museum, or what brought her back to Hannington after ten years of I'll-be-back-when-hell-freezes-over.

"Lila Jean." The low, masculine drawl stopped her dead in her tracks like a gunshot in the quiet of night. Two more steps and she could touch the gold-plated door handle. Two more steps and she could escape in air-conditioning and pretend she hadn't heard the voice from her past. But that was something the woman she used to be would have done. Escape. Run. Hide. The woman she was today turned to confront the man on the opposite side of the gas pump.

Jake Winter.

Her heart squeezed painfully in her chest. Her breath locked and held in her throat. Her ears rang. Her vision blurred. Static buzzed in her brain.

She shook it all loose and focused on his sinfully beautiful green eyes. Always kind, always mischievous, and twinkling with thoughts of highly inappropriate behavior. His gaze pinned her between the pump and the window squeegee bucket.

"Wow. Gossip travels even faster than I remembered. Did they select you as my welcome party?"

Jake leaned against the bed of a beat-up red-and-white farm truck, dusty with grit and mud, his hands at rest in his pockets while gas chugged rhythmically through the fuel line.

"Lila, baby, you're already on Instagram. Consider yourself welcomed."

Lila felt slightly horrified, and somewhat honored, a reaction she would never admit to, even if pressed. "Who put me on Instagram?"

He laughed and Lila soaked the familiar sound in, resisting the urge to close her eyes and cherish the moment.

"Maybe Amy. She's the social media nut for Hannington." Jake jutted his chin toward the store and Lila followed his lead just in time to see a young redhead dropping into the passenger seat of a Ford Focus, phone in hand.

"I'm only getting gas. This here is a happy accident, but I can administer a proper welcome if you insist. And I can use tongue."

Lila rolled her eyes and took a deep breath, letting the first blush of sexual awareness warm her like the early morning sun. "Jeez. No. I'm good. This is excitement enough, thank you very much."

They smiled at each other and Lila thought the meeting wasn't as dramatic as she had imagined, about a million times in the last couple of months.

"So, are you here for a birth or a death?" Jake asked.

"Pardon?"

"I figure someone had to have either died or been born for you to come back to Hannington. Or are you just passing through?"

Lila thought about her response, one she'd practiced also a million times, and let her gaze wander over Jake. She took her time following the cut of hard muscle underneath his faded black T-shirt, down the not-so-subtle package behind his zipper, to his rock-hard denim-clad legs.

Traveling back up, she noted fine laugh lines framed his eyes, fanning upward to sweep his strong brows. Dusky stubble covered the perfection of his upper lip and strong chin.

He still took her breath away, even after all these years. Lila mentally filed away the confirmation that yes, she was still highly attracted to Jacob Winter. Time and two hundred miles of parched Texas landscape had not changed that.

"As a matter of fact" — her voice broke and she cleared her throat, buoying her confidence with the familiar chant: dare greatly — "I did come back to take care of some family business. Not exactly a death or a birth."

Jake's smile slipped and concern furrowed his brow. "Did Barbara give money to those sweepstakes people again?"

"What?"

"Nothing. Never mind."

"Jake —"

"It's nothing. You were saying, family business?"

He offered her a lazy smile and Lila fell into it, fully committed to the distraction. Memories of make-out sessions in the front seat of his 1970 Oldsmobile 442 sent shivers down her spine.

She dropped her soda and cursed him. "Stop that." The bottle hit the pavement with a dull thud, rolling to his feet.

Jake bent and picked it up. "Stop what, baby?" As his strong hand wrapped around the plastic neck, Lila remembered in a searing flash the feel of those hands pulling her in, circling the column of her neck, gliding lower.

"Trying to fluster me." She reached for the soft drink as he crossed the distance separating them, but Jake held it close, placing his second hand above the other, slowly rubbing the drops of condensation from the plastic with his thumb.

"Now you're flattering me. I don't know when I last flustered a woman."

"Please. I doubt ten years have changed your ability to win over a woman, even from a dead sleep. You always had game and from the looks of you, nothing has changed."

He offered the soda. "Better not open this for a while. It'll explode." His voice was low and suggestive. He'd forever been the king of the double entendre. Damn him.

It was crazy he'd been nothing more than a memory these last ten years. Because now, Jake was solid. Alive. And every fantasy in one pair of snug jeans. She resisted the urge to shiver and curl her toes all at the same time.

Her high school love was all grown up.

"You don't look dressed for the pig wrestling at two o'clock, so I'm gonna guess this family business has you just passing through. Maybe pullin' a one-nighter."

She laughed and the release felt good. Right. "We both know twenty-four hours is all you really need to see everything around here."

"You just need the right tour guide. A lot has changed." She dragged her eyes away and scanned the parking lot. People chatted with their neighbors, talking about the start of school next month and yelling at kids to grab ice from the outside cooler for their weekend lake outing. Life went on. Nobody at the mini-mart seemed to notice hers had stopped, road blocked courtesy of this one man.

Meeting his level gaze, Lila smiled despite the tangle of bittersweet emotions strangling her heart. The cost of open vulnerability. "Has it changed?"

Jake nodded at the candy in her hand, an impulsive buy inside the Grab & Get. It squished between her fingers as the chocolate warmed in the heat.

"Yep. Looks like your diet has, too. Glad to see you're not so rigid about food anymore. You were always too skinny."

Another comment meant to distract her, but it brought to mind a conversation from years ago. Jake's hands had spanned her waist as he'd lifted her to retrieve a Frisbee lodged in the tree of her backyard. "God, you're tiny. Don't you ever eat?"

She'd dispelled his notion of starvation when they'd gone to the Dairy Queen later the same day. Back then she'd eaten like every meal was her last. Especially when someone else footed the bill. With Granny working full time at the bank as a teller, and making do with minimum wage and two mouths to feed, things had been pretty tight in the Gentry household growing up. Every penny counted. And they typically weren't spent on fast food.

Lila patted her butt and thought about her racy panties. "No longer an issue. I assure you."

She felt her face flush as Jake appraised said tush. She took a calming breath. She was getting distracted. And sidetracked. No surprise there. He'd always led their conversations and she'd followed, basking in his intelligence and keen wit.

She'd follow him anywhere. Literally.

She changed the subject. "How've you been, Jake?"

"Not bad, all things considered with the economy." She searched his tanned, healthy face, noting the scar dissecting his left eyebrow. When had that happened? She looked closer, searching for clues to his life since she'd been gone.

While still inherently a sweet talker at heart, his gaze was harder, callused with experience. Gone were the exuberance and daydreams of the future, their midnight musings about having three kids, a dog named Max, and a place with a creek and a rambling old farmhouse. She'd wanted to wear a floral apron and bake fresh biscuits in a kitchen that smelled of coffee while the screen door banged behind three of Jake's children.

Of course, it had all been totally naive and unrealistic, considering her background. But for a while, she'd dreamed.

She said the only thing she could trust herself to say. "You look good. Really good."

Jake stared, his expression closing down. "You mean cancer free."

And there it was.

Used to, she'd check her watch to see how long it'd taken them to reach this ugly point in the conversation, but she was all about doing things differently now. Embracing the feelings of inadequacy to set them free. To diffuse the inner voice that told her repeatedly: you're not good enough.

So Lila switched gears. She wasn't going to let Jake build another wall around himself, so high she couldn't scale it with the highest ladder. No, ma'am. She'd learned how to get what she wanted back in Dallas, and Jake was about to find out she had all new strategies.

"It's been nice catching up, Jake. Tell your folks I said hello. If you want to get together tomorrow for pig wrestling or whatever, I'll be at Granny's." And then she turned her back on Jake Winter and walked to her waiting car.

Throwing her purchase into the passenger seat, Lila wondered what he would do next. Her body tingled in anticipation.

Suddenly, he was there, trapping her in the open vee of her car door, his chest pressing deliciously close. Her body hummed in response. She curled her fingers into fists to keep from reaching for him.

"How long are you staying?" He propped a tanned forearm on the roof and leaned in farther. A muscle in his jaw clenched.

"However long it takes," she admitted.

"For what?" He crowded her. The therapist she'd spent dozens of hours with had warned her defensiveness could be the result of her sudden appearance. Of her extended stay.

Which meant Jake felt vulnerable.

Which meant he still cared.

Stage one of the manhunt: complete. Jake still cared about her.

She smiled and resisted the urge to stroke his cheek and kiss his lips. "That's for me to know and you to find out, baby."

Jake backed up, sweetly confused and properly flustered. "Are we playing a game, Lila?"

The fact that he asked the question meant she had a fighting chance. This wasn't a football game he could predict and plan play-by-play.

He simply had to live it. Which was the source of all their problems.

Shrugging her shoulders, she winked and slid into the driver's seat.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Deconstructing Lila by Shannon Leigh, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2014 Shannon Leigh. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Growing up in Hell's Back Forty, Shannon Leigh developed a fierce loyalty to all things Texas and pledged to share the romance of small town dance halls and the flavor of brisket BBQ with readers. Currently, she lives in Fort Worth with an extensive cowboy boot collection, a red and white '67 Chevy pickup and a mission to find the best taco stands in the city.

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Deconstructing Lila 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
ToryMichaels More than 1 year ago
This book was another great example of Entangled's contemporary romance strength. Lila - great character. I loved that she was into preserving buildings and that she wasn't going to let someone bully her into not buying/restoring the whorehouse in town. I also really enjoyed the mystery behind just who sent her her ancestor madam's journal to draw her BACK to her home town after she'd left it so long ago. She also wasn't going to just pretend her ex didn't exist. After all, that's half the reason she comes back to town (not a spoiler because it's admitted early on). Jake - Jake, for me was probably a BIT of a weak spot. I think he was something of a jerk for his reason for pushing Lila away. She was still a teenager and he didn't give her credit, or even a fair chance, to really adjust to the reality that he had to accept while they were together (deliberately being a bit obscure). Still, he'd clearly never gotten over her and it was lovely to see these two finally find their way back into the depths of love. The secondary story about the brothel madam filled this book out nicely and I liked the mix of modern and journal entries for the past. The villain...well, let's just say I liked the villain because their motivations were pretty cut and dried, and they were pretty out in the open about the fact that they were trying to interfere in the restoration of the saloon/brothel. So, anyway, total win for me. Hope to read more set in/around this town soon! Book came directly from Entangled and I'm sooooo glad to have read it. Five big ol' gargoyles from me!
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
DECONSTRUCTING LILA by Shannon Leigh is an interesting Contemporary Romance. It's the tale of Lila Gentry and Jake, her estranged husband. Lila has gone back to Texas to restore the old whorehouse,Chisholm Trail, her great-great-grandmother was the madam of in the 1880's and win back her estranged husband. Filled with sizzling passionate scenes, second chances, history, fear, complications and romance. There is also a subplot of Miss Pru, the madam and Luke Pierce, a rancher told through Miss Pru's journal. There is the added drama of restoring the old whorehouse as well as Jake's illness. Well written, with a bit of history and lots of passion. You can't help but enjoy this wickedly delicious tale mixed with contemporary and historical romance. I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, and I think the journey was an added bonus. Well done! *Received for an honest review from the publisher* Rating: 4 Heat rating: Hot Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
AlwaysYAatHeart1 More than 1 year ago
Deconstructing Lila is a wonderfully entertaining contemporary romance that will have rooting for the heroine, "Lila Gentry," time and time again.  After being away for 10 years, Lila decides it is time to come home, back to where she grew up, back to the man she loved, and try her best to win him back while restoring her great grandmother's whorehouse from the 1880's.  Jake's as attracted to Lila as he was when she left 10 years ago, but he believes his situation justifies pushing her away, for her own good, but is it, and when he finally comes to his senses will it be to late? Deconstructing Lila is the story of these two people who discover that love will always find a way, or at least it will try.  The story is entertaining and kind of feels like a good Lifetime Movie, something I really enjoy.  Lila is charismatic, determined, and you can't help but love her.  Jake is hot, dreamy, broody, and despite his being hard-headed, I really liked him.  The secondary characters also play an important role in making the story story stand out and grab your attention.  If you enjoy contemporary romance, then Deconstructing Lila is a story that is fun, focusing on some serious issues, while at the same time being lighthearted and fun, making this a great weekend read.  
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
On the one hand this is a western contemporary romance but simultaneously there it tells a story of the heroines great-great-grandmother, a madam in the house that Lila is determined to save while at the same time saving her marriage.   I loved Lila a woman who has worked to get her life together and is determined to get what she wants and needs from it.  I adored her Granny and the Bombshells. But I wasn’t so thrilled with Jake the hero of this story.  Jake assumes he knows what is best and thinks he was being heroic by pushing Lila from his life under the assumption better to hurt her now than later.  Even so, this second chance romance has a lot to recommend it.   I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Lynn53 More than 1 year ago
Where Past and Present Collide  Rating: 4 1/2 stars I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way. This is an interesting read that didn’t take long to hook me in. The toughest part was trying to find the best stopping point – and boy I have to tell you it was very hard to find that perfect spot. I found this book might be a great incentive for some readers to go back and see if they have any really interesting ancestors. Can you imagine how fascinating it would be to find a book that a past relative wrote down their thoughts and then having the chance to actually read it and maybe learn something interesting that you might not have known before? This is a story where one of the characters has a health issue and how that issue can affect personal relationships. What makes this story so relatable is that the family dynamics are those that are very real just like the emotions these characters emote. I loved the title but as I sat there reading, I thought a good subtitle might be “Deconstructing Life”. Not everyone goes through life without something happening to him or her. For me the story of family, both past and present, is what was important here. Lila and Jacob’s story just became the icing on the cake. The ending, for me was HFN, because we just don’t know what life has in store for us. As my father says “only one man knows and he’s not talking”. I can’t wait to see what this author has in store for her readers next.
MaggieMac More than 1 year ago
From the minute I started this book I was hooked. Not only is it a story about a second chance at love, but it is also a mystery and keeps you guessing until the very end! You end up falling in love with the characters and you are continually rooting for Lila and her plan to win back Jake. This book was extremely relatable in the sense that there seems to always be that special someone that you can never fully forget about, which I think anyone can relate to!  The only thing I would add to the story is more encounters and explanations of why Sarah Gentry left and what her life was like in those 25 years she was gone.  But overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone!
Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
Lila Gentry moved away ten years ago. No, she was pushed away by her husband, Jake Winters. Jake had cancer and decided pushing her away would be better for her than living with a sick and dying husband. He wanted her to have a better life. Ten years later she's back in town and trying to win back the heart of her husband. Will her push her away again because of his annual cancer screening coming up? There was so much more happening in this absolutely fantastic story. It flowed smoothly from beginning to end. All the characters were vibrant and each contributed to the story line in some important way. I loved Pru's journal and how the lessons mysteriously seemed to fit with whatever Lila was going through with Jake. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this second chance romance. It was fun and sexy and packed with a wide range of emotions. I look forward to reading more from this very talented author. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kmol2630 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic small town Texas romance. It's a fast paced, sexy, engaging story about love reunited. 
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Lila Gentry is back in her home town of Hannington. She's determined to reconcile with her estranged husband, Jake Winters. They've been apart for ten years, but she has never stopped thinking of him. She doesn't plan to take no for an answer. Also, she wants to restore a former brothel run by Miss Prudence MacIntosh. According to her grandmother, Miss Pru was part of their family history. Will Lila be able to accomplish her desires? I enjoyed how the author handled the interwoven storylines of Miss Pru and Lila. She was able to skillfully mix the past and the present in a way that they complimented each other. The characters were compelling and intriguing. Fear was the underlying theme that ran throughout Deconstructing Lila. Jake and Lila need to stop running from their love and face their fears. This book touched me with it realism and deeply emotional storyline. I cared for the characters and I wanted them to find love and happiness. Shannon Leigh wrote a very powerful story!
FizzaYounis More than 1 year ago
I was expecting an amazing entangled contemporary romance but I got a mystery as well. This book was full of surprises, a lot more fun than I hoped for. I loved Lila's character and how she coped with hardships in life and get over her disappointment- with her therapist's help of course. She was willing to get her life back and strong enough for fight for the things she believed in. Jake is her ex-husband, although they weren't really divorced but it had been a long time since Lila was back in town. Now she was and Jake was confused. The attraction between them was still there but was it wise to give it another try? Prudence's character and diary put an interesting spin to the whole plot and the mystery behind its sender was a nice touch too. I enjoyed reading.
D_Marsh5 More than 1 year ago
The characters really stuck with me. Fear is the main factor in this story. Lila is afraid that Jake won't want her enough. Jake is afraid his cancer will return. Lila's mother is afraid her daughter won't forgive her for running off 25 years ago. Miss Pru is afraid that her true love will be punished for his association with her. Who are all these people? They are the characters in this book that make it worth reading. Lila and Jake's story is intertwined with one from Lila's ancestor, Miss Pru. The author skillfully uses an old journal from Miss Pru to give Lila the impetus to win Jake back. Lila is a woman who must fight against feelings of unworthiness left by being abandoned by her mother when she was five. Jake became her best friend and her love as she went through her teen years. They married and were happy until Jake found out he had cancer. He let his fear take over and he drove Lila away with the mistaken thought that she would hurt less that way than if she stayed with him and watched him die. After ten years, Lila decides that Jake is worth the possibility of another rejection and returns to win him back. He is still an idiot because he has let fear rule his life for ten years and has no plans to change. Finally, he realizes that life is to be lived. We don't have any guarantees. Paralleling this story is the one in the journal of Miss Pru and Luke Pierce. He is an important rancher and she is a Madam at a town whorehouse. He falls in love with her and wants her to stay with him. She is afraid that associating with her will alienate him from the town and hurt him. Once again someone (Miss Pru) is trying to protect someone else and ends up hurting them in the process. The new sheriff shuts Miss Pru down while Luke is out-of-town on a cattle drive. When he returns he rides up and carries her off, telling her she will marry him. Pru finds out the same thing Jake did. Life is too short. Take chances. I became just as wrapped up in the story the journal was telling as I did in the modern-day story of Jake and Lila. This book was a delight to read, and one that I'm sure I will want to reread in the future. I will be watching for more books from this author. I was given this book and asked for an honest review. I am always pleased when I can give a good one like this.
ScoopyPooh More than 1 year ago
GAWD!, this was a good read. Here's the gist .... many years ago, Jake got cancer. He was married to Lilah. Somehow, he got it in his head that Lila would be better off without him and made it so she just could not stay anymore. So she leaves. Ten years later we have ourselves a second chance romance. The story itself had a few moments that seemed to drag on to the point of skimming. But overall, this was a really well written story. The ending was really great and the Epilogue leaves you with a smile on your face! there were also scenes of suspense that added some tension into the mix. Overall it was an entertaining, heartwarming and steamy romance. ARC provided via NetGalley by Entangled Publishing, LLC in exchange for an honest review
mysticrosetiger More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read. Lila and Jake story is love is hard no matter what happens, even when the years go by it's only grows stronger. 
ljtljtljt More than 1 year ago
Deconstructing Lila by Shannon Leigh is a good novel. Originally from the small town of Hannington, Texas, Lila Gentry was raised by her Granny, because her father died in Desert Storm and her mother deserted her shortly thereafter. Lila married her high school sweetheart, Jake Winter, immediately after graduation. Lila and Jake were madly in love and planned to spend every moment together. Then Jake was diagnosed with cancer, and their plans for a bright future slowly deteriorated. Jake began the process of shutting Lila out from his life, because he did not want her to suffer along with him and he did not want her saddled with an uncertain future. It took about a year, but Jake finally got Lila disgusted enough to leave him. Now it is ten years later, and Lila returns to Hannington with one goal, to get Jake back. She is finally successful, after she and Jake share many conversations, have a few confrontations, work together on a restoration project, and have some mind-blowing sex. An interesting secondary plot to the storyline is that Lila ends up buying a building in town that her great, great grandmother once owned and ran a brothel from. Lila is a successful real estate preservationist, and restoring the building means a lot to her and her family. Jake just happens to be the contractor that is approved by the town to renovate the historical site. I liked this story, despite that fact that I found it to be a little slow at times and lacking emotional depth. Jake's epiphany, and the exciting ending more than made up for it though, and the epilogue left me smiling from ear to ear. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
This reunited lovers romance is the story of Lila and Jake. Married young, when Jake found out he had cancer he did everything he could to push Lila away, in his mind to set her free to have a future without him. For 10 years Lila did stay away, but she's made up her mind to come back to her hometown and convince Jake that there is still time for a future together. With the excuse of saving her great-great grandmother's bawdy house from demolition and restoring it into a new business, she's back and it's up to Jake to decide whether he's pushed her away long enough. I really enjoyed this romance between two people who were so in love as teenagers but were unable to let the "till death do us part" section of their vows stay true. Lila is now a strong, confident woman, no longer the scared and heartbroken young adult who couldn't put up with the emotional blocks her new and sick husband threw in her way. I admired her determination and willingness to show Jake that she wasn't going to be pushed away any more. Jake is also an engaging character, strong and handsome, but with an inner vulnerability due to his illness. He's never lost his love for Lila and couldn't stand the thought of dying on her so he pushed her away instead - but seeing her again brings up all the reasons they belonged together in the first place. Despite their years long separation, the sexual chemistry between them still sizzles and the love scenes between them are steamy and emotional. Another aspect of the story that I really liked was the diary of Lila's great great grandmother Prudence. Interspersing those entries and Pru's love affair with a local cattle baron while Lila was working on the restoration of the bawdy house was an interesting way to connect the past and the present. Several secondary characters play key roles in the story as well, including Lila and Jake's families, Jake's friend Casler (who I confess I would like to see have his own story) and Lila's business partner Mark. They added some emotional moments and humorous ones as well. The plot was relatively fast paced and there were scenes of suspense that added some tension into the mix. Overall it was an entertaining, heartwarming and steamy romance with a wonderful couple who deserve their happy ever after. 4 stars!
SummerSnowFalls More than 1 year ago
Lila Gentry has had a tough life. Her father died when she was very young and her mother left her soon after. Raised by her Granny, Lila managed to do well in school and married her high school sweetheart, Jake Winters, right after graduation. But then Jake was diagnosed with cancer and he spent the better part of a year trying to get her to leave him. His efforts finally wore Lila down and she left Hannington, Texas for Dallas and hasn’t been back in ten years. But now business has brought her home to an injured Granny, a still-lustful yet distant husband, and a mystery diary linked to the condemned building Lila buys shortly after arriving. Lila is determined to get her husband back and, lucky for her, Jake is the contractor assigned to the condemned building. Lust flares between Lila and Jake, and although he’s been cancer-free for a year, will it be enough to bring the two lovers back together? All right, I’m going to come straight out and say that I did not like this book. It was boring, slow, and failed to ever engage my interest. The characters are flat, quirks are thrown in for quirky-ness sake, and neither the hero nor the heroine could form any kind of consistent personality to save their lives. The “obstacles” in the hero and heroine’s lives were superficial and did not appear to play any significant role in the story since the “obstacle” was only an obstacle when it suited the plot’s purpose. The plot was promising, but failed to engage my interest I think due largely in part to the writing. There are a myriad of unnecessary details bogging down the plot’s progress, so much that is is at times borderline purple prose. The “diary entries” from Miss Pru’s diary do not read like diary entries at all and are instead just another story within the story. This would be fine except that there are times when the point of view of the “diary entries” change from traditional third person (like the novel itself) into first person (diary entry style) and then back again. Already thrown by the third person-styled diary entries, I found this jumping back and forth even more jarring. Combine this style with the lack of transition or connection with the main plot and I was more than a little frustrated by this book. I almost quit reading this book so many times. If the publisher had not provided a copy in exchange for an honest review, I would not have bothered to finish it at all. I dreaded each time I had to pick it up and was not interested by the characters or plot at all. Skip this one. I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.