From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she
was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.
Then tragedy strikes Dusty's family, she comes back into town and Mike thinks she hasn't changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.
He finds out quickly he's wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.
But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he's cautious, he's careful to read the signs and he's not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.
Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.
March 23, 2013
So I've been semi-in love with Mike Haines since At Peace. Seeing him with Vi, watching him willing to take that chance even though he knew.. HE KNEW he didn't stand a chance against Cal for Vi. But he took that chance anyway because he knew the love of a good woman was worth the risk. But losing Vi added one more brick in his already high built wall. That wall being built by his ex-wife, who cared more about all her fancy clothes and nice things then the fact that her husband was busting his butt to pay for all of that.
When his friend and neighbor died, his family flew in for a funeral, including his ex-girlfriend from high school, Debbie, and her little sister, Dusty. Mike always loved Dusty. She was 5 years younger then him so she was just a bright happy kid to him back then but they formed a life long bond. Although that bond hadn't been tapped into in 25 years, when they see each other, everything seems to click.
Mike is quick to jump to conclusions, and in more then one occasion puts his foot in his mouth and risks losing the girl he's loved all his life. And Debbie, well she's not happy about her little sister with her ex and is out for war.
This book started off really hot, got a little slow in the middle and then had me crying my eyes out and jumping with joy. I hadn't realized it until the end how much I fell in love with Mike and Dusty's family. No and Rees, Mike's kids, Finn and Kirb, Dusty's nephews, were just such a great addition to the story.
I'm really enjoying the 'Burg series because it's more about families coming together, instead of just a love story. It's real life (well with some added drama for the readers enjoyment) and it's beautiful.