Historical romance author Beattie (A Marshal’s Promise) makes her first foray into contemporaries with this heartfelt and pleasant tale set in the fictional town of Last Stand, Tex. Hardworking single mom Ashley Anderson is determined to provide everything for her 16-year-old daughter, Brittany, but it’s a struggle. She’s thrilled to be eligible for a new house through a Habitat for Humanity–like organization. Construction company owner Dallas Granger has spent his entire life being responsible for others, and he’s tired of it. While trying to return a nail gun that a former employee stole, he’s pulled over by cops and charged with possession of stolen property. Required to do community service building houses, Dallas is scornful of Ashley and others benefiting from the charity, believing them to be lazy freeloaders. Ashley enjoys Dallas as prime eye candy, but she’s distracted when Brittany seems to be heading down the path to becoming a teenage single mother. Dallas’s unfortunate tendency to leap to the worst conclusions about everyone may make readers wonder why Ashley keeps pardoning his behavior. Still, Beattie’s first contemporary is mostly satisfying, with a strong and well-constructed plot, and will appeal to fans of stories about devoted, loving single parents. (Aug.)
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