Dana Wright is trying her best to make ends meet. With three children and a floundering business, this is not easy. To make matters worse, the house she is renting needs repairs and the landlord is none too eager to make them. She knows that Ben wants to help her, but she is determined to stand on her own two feet. Her husband Paul had always made her feel like she was weak and she is determined to prove him wrong. Their marriage had been floundering before he left to go overseas and they had agreed to get a divorce. But the close-knit town knows nothing of this. They see Paul as their hero and she is the hero’s wife. The fact that she is in love with Ben does not help matters, as the town would never accept her with anyone but Paul. Besides, she doesn’t believe that Ben looks at her that way. He is her friend, but, like the rest of the town, Ben did not see Paul as she had. The real Paul had stayed hidden behind the image and she had gone along with the lies. Now, for the sake of her children, there is nothing she can do about it.
Attending their friends, Tessa and Caleb’s, wedding, Ben sees his chance to spend a little time with Dana. At the end of the evening, Ben ends up giving her a ride home. She invites him in for coffee and things soon turn heated. But, after they make love, she discovers that he promised Paul he would take care of her. Suddenly, everything takes on a new meaning for her. He thinks of her as his responsibility. Had their evening together been part of that? She is not willing to be anyone’s burden and was determined to forget about their evening together. But this becomes a hard thing to do when he purchases her house after she calls her landlord about fixing the leak in the bathroom. Soon Ben is there every day, making repairs to the house and spending time with the children. Although they are friends, she still tries to hold him at a distance. She wants Ben badly, but she knows if they get close, she will reveal her secrets and that would hurt not only her, but her children, Ben and the town as well. She can’t take that chance, even if it costs her the one man she truly loves.
Around Flagman’s folly, Ben is known for helping people. Although he has always helped Dana, now he has a different reason to do so, hoping to break down the walls she has built up. Still he cannot help feeling guilty for lusting after his best friend’s wife. But when the town proposes to build a monument in Paul’s honor, he cannot help noticing that Dana is against the idea. Ben is part of the town council and will have the deciding vote, but this is not the only reason he wants to know why Dana objects. Could discovering her secrets give them a chance at a future together?
A touching story, HONORABLE RANCHER, the latest book by gifted author Barbara White Daille, is a heartwarming, emotion-packed contemporary romance that you will not want to put down until you reach the very end of the book. Ben is definitely a sexy guy; he can even make doing simple household repairs seem attractive and his interactions with her children will steal your heart. Dana has a lot on her shoulders and I can understand the reasons for her hesitancy in revealing her secrets. Still she showed quite a bit of strength in holding off Ben as long as she did. Infused with sexual tension, believable dialogue, family dynamics, small town life, secrets, humor, appealing characters, love and second chances, this story is a winner. Barbara White Daille’s stories are known for their heartwarming characters and hometown charm, and this one exudes both in spades. I am a fan of this author’s works and look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next. In the meantime, do not miss HONORABLE RANCHER!