If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: Chaps and Chance by Jessie Evans / @JessieDEvans

Title: Lonesome Point, TX, Book 5: Chaps and Chance
Author: Jessie Evans
Publisher: Self Taught Ninja
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Western, Romance
ARC Received From: Jessie Evans

A steamy, suspenseful, stand alone romance from New York Times Bestselling author Jessie Evans 

How far will they go for a second chance... 

Years ago, Layla Parker's romantic dreams came true. She married her high school sweetheart and settled into a house on his family's ranch to live happily ever after. But sometimes dreams turn into nightmares and when Layla's husband became abusive, she felt there was no way out. Her big brother was serving overseas, her friends were away at college, and her single father insisted she'd made her bed and now she had to lie in it. It isn't until her father's death over a decade later that Layla gains the courage to leave her marriage. She hopes to find peace living alone, but her dreams of happily ever after died a long time ago.

Cole Lawson has spent years secretly pining for his former best friend. Layla Parker captured his heart sophomore year of high school, but she was already taken. When she married her boyfriend two years later, she and Cole grew apart and have rarely seen each other since. Cole's been a lady killer since the day he realized that his dimpled smile made all the cowgirls swoon, but when he discovers Layla is newly single he's ready to put an end to his womanizing ways and make a serious play for the one who got away.

When tragedy strikes the Lawson family, Cole and Layla's rekindled friendship grows into something more, but soon a dark secret from Layla's past threatens to destroy their shot at forever. Now Cole will have to decide--listen to his heart or to the people warning him that Layla might not be as innocent as she seems.

Other books in this series 

(Reviewer's Note: This story deals with domestic abuse, and is addressed (somewhat) in this review. Please take this into consideration before reading further and/or purchasing this book.)

This story opens up to heartache, tragedy and sadness. I was blindsided by the depth of emotion in it and the power it had over me. I cried and I couldn't stop. It might've been minutes, maybe an hour. I don't know. But the pull was so strong and left me drained.

There is, I think, nothing worse than feeling helpless and hopeless in a place where neither of those should exist. Yes, marriage is work. Yes, couples encounter problems. You'll go through periods of liking and not liking each other, yet the love you have should always be there. It should be what pulls you through those tough moments. It should be a reminder of what you have now and what you want later together. It should not be part of an apology meant to cover the damage done by words or fists. Never. When love is spoken after an argument, it's a spoken reminder of that feeling you both share. It's a reinforcement of why you agreed to disagree, why you compromised. It's not meant to cover your ass when you lose your temper.

Like other women of abuse that I've come to know in books, Layla found the strength to leave it behind. The damage was done though. She wasn't the Layla of ten years ago. Smiles were hard to come by, laughter even more so. Rebuilding her self-esteem was essential and she did it slowly, carefully. She learned to be strong for herself, to see her self-worth. She also learned to open her heart again to the one man she maybe should have taken a chance on years ago.

Cole was a man worth taking a chance on. With him, she found a reason to really smile and laugh and love. And Cole... I wouldn't call him disillusioned. He knew she was different than before, could see it in her eyes and in her body language but he loved her anyway.

Because that is what love is. Its rock steady and unconditional. It doesn't sway because a meal is cooked wrong, something wasn't put where it was supposed to be, or a too-short dress was worn in public. It forgives. It forgets. It heals. It helps you move forward. Despite what comes, despite what others say, that kind of love is unwavering and true. I wouldn't have believed that any of these would be possible to see in this story if I hadn't seen how Layla grew from fearful of a man's touch to anticipating her man's touch.
In one way or another, they were always making love. When two people were as close as they were, lovemaking didn't stop when you left the bedroom. It was there in every touch, every conversation, every moment of shared happiness that made a relationship into a union that nothing could break. (Kindle, ARC, Loc 2734)
Ms. Evans, I swear you'll have me in tears with every book you write but I don't mind at all. Thank you for creating a world where I feel so much and come away with my heart full and content with the outcome you write for your characters. You make them real, make me want to like them, hate them, love them, sympathize with them, want better for them (or not, lol). So despite the emotional upheaval I experience reading your books, thank you. I wouldn't trade that kind of upheaval for anything.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary Southern romances she loves to read.

She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more. 

When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.

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