Lucy Ryan-Carter was the ruling rich mean girl in their high school who grew up to become a socialite trophy wife in NYC. Lucy left that marriage without a cent to her name, and when her parents turn her away she finds herself applying for a job as housekeeper to the man whose mother used to clean her floors. If being a horrible person as teenager isn’t enough to recommend her, the fact that she can barely cook and has no job experiences should be enough to disqualify her, but Mac Denton can sense that the Lucy interviewing for the job is very different from the girl who taunted him. Although parts of him enjoy the reversal of fortunes that lands her at his door begging for a job instead of feeling satisfaction and triumph he find himself feeling sympathetic and surprisingly attracted. Mac gives her the job and Lucy is determined to keep it and prove herself able to provide for herself.
As Mac spends time with Lucy, the more he has to fight what he now considers an inappropriate attraction to Lucy. An eye-opening conversation about needs later, he comes close to crossing the line and Lucy is left frustrated. After years perfunctory sex with a spouse that verbally and emotionally abused her, she just wants to sign up for some of that “Sweaty, hot, unattached sex” Mac has been having for years and Mac inconveniently wants to be a gentleman (Kindle Loc 529).
Despite of their good intentions, the close quarters and their ever growing attraction means Mac and Lucy don’t hold out for long. Lucy is determined not let things get awkward, confident she can hold her own by trying to keep clear boundaries in place. It is Mac who struggles the most of how they can keep their relationship limited to sex, when she is living in house, taking care of him in the ways that he imagines people in serious relationships care for each other. Still they eventually settle in upstairs/downstairs dynamic where they seem balance their sexual/domestic interactions in ways that seems to be working till it suddenly doesn’t. Lucy and Mac both have epiphanies but only Lucy is brave enough to own her feelings, and to express what it means to her and not settle for less.
Lucy finds a listening ear, and safe place to rebuild her confidence in Mac’s Ranch. The job Mac offers her and the humble little cottage it comes with gives her the space to start rebuilding her life. Mac however is not the only person to listen to her, and before long she making friendships and following up other opportunities. Despite getting emotionally and sexually involved with Mac, the life she dreams for herself is not about being with Mac, but instead living life on her own terms, of being confident in her own value independent of what others might think of her.
Mac has his own set of insecurities and fears about serious relationships stemming from the unhealthy relationships in his family of origin. Having effortlessly avoided serious relationships his whole adult life he is confused and troubled by how he feels about Lucy, unable to imagine a future where he doesn’t screw up their relationship. Mac’s crisis of confidence is only resolved when Lucy confronts him, with his actual track record, with the ways that he has been good for Lucy, and by refusing to let him think that he could be wholly responsible for the success or failure of their relationship.
So while books set on ranches with cowboys hats on the cover are far from my usual fare, I very much enjoyed this book. I thought the internal conflicts in the story were excellently crafted and I am very glad to have finally given Maisey Yates a try.
A copy of this book was provided by Penguin Inter-Mix via NetGalley for review purposes
The Rekindled Novella will be available starting on June 17, 2014