Thirteen years later, Mac is a widower with a twelve-year-old daughter, Amanda, and Rachel is a social worker. Amanda had run away and been connected to vandalism, and it’s up to Rachel to decide whether her coworker was right in thinking Amanda should be removed from Mac’s home. Rachel knows she shouldn’t take the case, but the Mac she remembers would never hurt his daughter, and she wants to help the two.
Mac never got over Rachel leaving him. He loved her with all of his heart, and didn’t understand her need to leave New Springs. He thought that Rachel’s love would keep her with him, but it wasn’t enough. Rejected, he turned to someone else. He soon married the girl, Margaret, who was pregnant with his daughter. Now Margaret’s dead, and Amanda is in trouble at school and accused of vandalism. DCFS threatens to take Amanda, and when the new case worker arrives, she’s the last person Mac expected to see.
Unnerved by the memories and emotions they feel at seeing each other again, Rachel and Mac form an uneasy alliance to help Amanda. Rachel has always kept herself from getting too involved with her cases, but she can’t help herself from falling for Mac again, and soon finds herself caught between her job and her love. Thirteen years ago she ran and broke Mac’s heart, what will she do this time?
I loved FAMILY AT STAKE, it’s a wonderfully emotional tale about a second chance at first love. The mystery of Amanda’s behavior kept me turning pages, and the scenes between Rachel and Mac alternated between hot and tearjerkers. This is definitely a ‘keeper shelf’ book.