Horse whisperer Shane Stryker is done with passion. This time around, he’s determined to meet someone who will be content with the quiet life of a rancher’s wife. And the fiery, pint-size redhead who dazzles him at the local bar definitely does not fit the bill. Small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss has always seen herself as more of a sweetheart than a siren, so she can’t understand why Shane keeps pushing her away. Shane has formed the totally wrong impression of her but only he can help her with a special event for the next Fool’s Gold festival. And maybe while he’s at it, she can convince him to teach her a few things about kissing on hot summer nights, too-some lessons, a girl shouldn’t learn from reading a book!
When Shane Stryker’s mother wants to introduce him to a nice girl, he immediately thinks of the woman he saw dancing on the bar and dismisses her because his ex-wife was the type to dance on bars and he’s not going in that direction again. He just wants a nice, quiet girl, someone he can come to respect, if not love, and live a nice, quiet, passionless life.
Annabelle has always been that type of girl/woman. She’s a librarian. She does what she’s expected to. And now she’s tired of it. She wants to go after what she WANTS. What she wants right now is someone to make her swoon.
Shane’s been hurt by his ex-wife, and though he is VERY attracted to Annabelle, he sees her as being in the same category as the woman who cheated on him repeatedly. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the first impression she makes on him sticks. So when Annabelle goes to him for help for one of the Fool’s Gold festivals, he tries to fight his attraction to her, but ultimately (of course) fails.
Oh Shane, I expected to like you. I wanted to like you, but you made it hard. That wall you built up around yourself made you blind and stupid. You just put Annabelle in that box (the scarlet woman…if you’re attracted to her, she must be bad news) and would not deviate from your certainty of her faults. You accused her of things that were so completely wrong and opposite of what Annabelle was and you would not listen to reason.
Annabelle, I love you, don’t ever change.
After having stewed on this book for some time (I read it a couple weeks ago), I get more and more peeved by Shane’s behavior, but in the moment, I understood it. Now, I wanna go back in time and slap Shane. But that’s just me. Maybe you’ll have a different perception of him. I don’t think he deserves Annabelle and if she were a friend, I would silently criticize her choice. It would take a long time for me to trust him.