Today's special guest author is
Kristie Leigh Maguire
Kristie has lived such a fascinating life. Here's a little about Kristie and her books taken directly from her website:
Kristie Leigh Maguire and her husband have lived all over the United States and many foreign countries while following his career. While living in Japan in 1997, she found it very difficult to find books to read that were written in English. This situation was intolerable as she was an avid reader and had been known to resort to reading cereal boxes if nothing else was available. Have you ever tried to read a cereal box written in Japanese? It was not a pretty picture. Ms. Maguire began writing her own books just to have something to read. She discovered a new passion in writing.
The Affaire de Coeur Magazine named Kristie Leigh Maguire the Best Up and Coming Romance Author of the Year and her book Desert Heat as Romance of the Year in 2003. Her novels Cabin Fever and No Lady and Her Tramp placed in the Top Ten at the Preditor & Editors Poll. Her latest release Second Chances was Number 2 on the Best Seller List in Western Romances at Amazon.com.
Although Kristie Leigh Maguire is originally from the South and will always remain Southern at heart, she and her husband now live in Nevada. During her expatriate years she lived in St. Croix, Aruba, Thailand, Japan and three times in Saudi Arabia and visited many other countries.
Fast, enjoyable read, 4 stars
Second Chances: Love Lost, Love Found by Kristie Leigh Maguire is a contemporary western romance, but the writing has the feel of the classic old-time romance novels. I found myself smiling as I read this book, because it made me think of how much my mother would have enjoyed it. We would have each read it and discussed it for days.
I enjoyed the "Second Chance" story line between Jim and Liz very much, but when it came to Jane and Mike, I'm torn. After the unspeakable way Mike treated Jane, I'm not sure that he deserved a second chance, or maybe it was just the way the second chance was resolved in the book. Kristie Leigh Maguire was able to make the character of Jane came alive for me, and I became so invested in her and her emotions that I just wanted to beat the crap out of Mike.
I find that days after reading this book, I'm still thinking about it. You just can't go wrong with a book that you can't stop thinking about after reading it. I truly wish mom were still around to discuss it with.
Excerpt from Second Chances: Love Lost, Love Found
She pounded on the front door so hard the dogs lying in the yard jumped up and started barking.
“Mike!” she yelled. “Are you in there? You better get yourself out here right now! I have to talk to you. Now! Don’t make me come in there after you!”
Mike opened the screen door and stepped out onto the porch to face the girl, who up until a couple of weeks ago, he had thought would be his wife one day.
Jane put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“Mike, Dad told me you’re marrying some gal you met in Casper . Is that true?”
“It’s true, Jane. I am.”
Jane looked at Mike as though he had suddenly sprouted devil’s horns.
Jane slapped Mike so hard it rocked him backwards, leaving an angry red welt in the shape of a handprint across his handsome face. Mike threw up his hands to ward off Jane’s angry blows but he knew he had it coming. Jane had every right to punch his lights out.
“Why am I the last to know you’re going to marry somebody else? You could have at least had the decency and enough respect for me to tell me first before everybody on God’s green earth knew about it!”
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way, Jane. I didn’t know Mom was going to hightail it over and tell your dad before I could tell you myself. I was going to come over and tell you this morning but she beat me to it. I wish she’d mind her own business and keep her nose out of mine.”
“Mike, you’ve never even gone out with anybody but me. Who is it? Who are you marrying?”
“Her name is Samantha Jo Smith. I met her when I was at the Wild Horse Saloon a few weeks ago when I went to Casper to stock up on supplies.”
“You’re going to marry some floozy you met in a bar a few weeks ago when for years you’ve led me to believe we’d get married? Have you been lying to me all these years? Did you ever have any intentions of marrying me?”
“I haven’t been lying to you all these years. I did intend for us to get married one day but I never counted on meeting Sammy Jo. She came into my life like a devil’s twister and turned it upside down.”
Jane’s beautiful brown eyes filled with tears as she looked at the man she loved, had loved all her life, trying to understand what he was saying. It was as though he was suddenly spouting Greek. Nothing he was saying made any sense to her.
“I never wanted to hurt you, Jane. You’ve got to believe me.”
“You can’t marry her, Mike. You can’t possibly love somebody you just met! You love me! I know you do. We’ve been going steady since I was twelve and you were thirteen. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“I don’t really know how all this came about. Me and Sammy Jo getting married I mean. I don’t remember actually saying the words ‘Will you marry me?’ but she must have thought I did because the first thing I knew she threw her arms around me and said yes. Now the date is set. She’s already bought her wedding dress.”
Jane gasped, her face going pale. She sank down onto the steps and put her head in her hands. Even though she had never fainted in her life, she felt as though she were going to now.
Mike sat down on the steps beside her and gently stroked her back.
“Look at me, Jane. Please.”
Jane raised her head but she couldn’t look at Mike.
Mike turned her face towards him, his black eyes looking into her teary brown ones.
“I’m a man of my word, Jane. I asked Sammy Jo to marry me even though I don’t remember saying those exact words. I have to stick by it. Can’t you please try to understand?”
“No, I don’t understand it! I simply can’t.” Jane sniffed back the tears that threatened to clog her throat and spill down her face. “What about me? I know I don’t have your engagement ring on my finger but for years you’ve led me to believe we’d get married one day.”
“I know I did, Jane. I’m sorry. I never meant for something like this to happen.”
“Mike, I’m begging you not to do this to us. Don’t throw away our future like this. We’ve never dated anyone else but each other since we were old enough to know there was a difference between boys and girls. My whole life has been wrapped around you. What am I supposed to do if you marry someone else? I can’t even picture my life as anything but being Mrs. Mike Farley.”
“I don’t know but I am going to marry Sammy Jo. I have to, Jane. A man’s word is his bond.”
“But you don’t know anything about her, Mike. She’s a complete stranger.”
“It’s true we’ve known each other only for three weeks but Sammy Jo’s not a stranger to me. Being with her is the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The tears in Jane’s eyes disappeared, burned away by white-hot fury. She jumped up, tossing the single heavy brown braid that almost reached her butt over her shoulder and glared at Mike.
“Are you talking about having sex with her?” She hit him. “Damn you, Mike Farley! If you don’t think having sex with me was exciting enough for you, then whose fault is that I’d like to know! All I know about sex is what you and I learned together. I was a virgin when we first made love down on the banks of Badwater Creek. I was only fifteen! I’d never been with anyone else but you and didn’t know a thing about how to do what we were doing except what you showed me how to do. Now you have the nerve to tell me that our lovemaking wasn’t exciting enough for you. If you didn’t like what we were doing, then you could have shown me how to do something different. I’m not such a prude that I wouldn’t have experimented.”
She hit him again.
“You lousy son-of-a-bitch!”
Mike caught her hands and held them.
“Jane, I never meant for this to happen. It just happened.”
“Just happened? Things like that don’t just happen!” she shrieked. “You could have kept your damned pants zipped! Even if you didn’t have enough self-control to keep from poking it to her, you sure as hell didn’t have to ask her to marry you!”
Jane struggled to get loose from Mike’s iron grip to no avail.
“We were supposed to get married, Mike. We were going to live the rest of our lives together. You and me! Not you and some floozy you met in a bar, for crying out loud.”
“Jane, I know I’ve hurt you and for that I’m very sorry. Can we still be friends?”
Jane looked at Mike as though he had lost his mind.
“Friends? I don’t want to be just your friend, Mike! If I’m not going to be your wife, I don’t want to be anything to you. You can go to hell. I never want to see you again.”
“Jane, please don’t be this way.”
“Let go of me, damn it!”
Mike let go of her hands and Jane turned to leave.
“I’ll never set foot on Double F Ranch again not even to see Liz. If she wants to see me, she can come over to my house. And don’t you ever come over to the Double P Ranch again either. I don’t want anything more to do with you.”