Series: Home in Heartlandia (Book 3)
KEEP CALM AND…HAVE A BABY?
Leif Andersen wants to be alone. Everyone in Heartlandia knows about his tragic past and they allow him to keep to himself. With his blue eyes and blond hair, the rugged workaholic contractor might be an "excellent catch." But he has zero interest in being caught…until Marta Hoyas moves into his house while she is working for him.
Marta wants to be alone. Her baby's father dumped her. The last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement with a gorgeous guy who can offer no promises.
Leif and Marta want each other. All that stands between them is the past…and the future. And a little baby who could give them both what they need most!
Very good story of two people who learn to open themselves up to love after being hurt in the past. Leif has become a loner since the death of his wife. He never wants to feel that kind of pain again, so he immerses himself in work instead. Marta has come to Heartlandia to paint a mural of the town's history. She recently broke up with the man she'd been with for five years, after his less than enthusiastic response to her pregnancy. For the immediate future she plans to concentrate on her art and her baby, and avoid any entanglements with a guy.
I really liked Leif. He's still grieving and has withdrawn from a lot of life, but he's a good man at heart. He loves his hometown and has used his wealth for the benefit of the town. He is paying for the town mural and also plans to house the artist in his own home. He doesn't expect her to be stunningly beautiful and to be attracted to her. He fights the attraction because he can't picture loving someone else. It was a losing battle from the start, as his plans to avoid her crumble in the face of his craving to be near her. When he finds out about her pregnancy, his protective instincts come out.
Marta took the mural job because the idea fascinated her, and also because she needed a new start for her life. She had spent five years basically being supported by the man who was her benefactor as well as her lover. When she discovered she was pregnant, his response made her realize that they wanted different things from life. While she has not closed herself off to the idea of falling in love again, for now she wants to remain free. Her attraction to Leif is unwelcome because it reminds her too much of what she just ended. She was afraid of losing herself and her independence in a similar relationship.
I loved the growing relationship between Leif and Marta. She comes to accept the attraction more quickly and tells herself that she can enjoy being with him while keeping her heart free. I liked the way that she saw past the loner exterior of Leif to the loving man inside. Leif's resistance folds gradually, as first he realizes he likes Marta's company and presence in his home, then that he wants her in a way that he hasn't wanted anyone since his wife. I liked the way they started out more as friends as they got to know each other. I liked seeing them appreciate the other's talents, their similarities and their differences. Once the attraction flared up, things really started to move along. Marta's feelings for Leif turned quickly to love, but she felt that she couldn't fight Leif's unwillingness to let go of his grief. Leif was surprised to find that his grief was growing less every day and that the idea of asking Marta to stay had greater and greater appeal. But their agreement had been no strings and he was reluctant to put his heart on the line when he had no indication that she wanted to stay. I loved seeing each of them have their "a-ha!" moment and realize what they were going to give up. Leif was especially sweet with his big moment.
I also enjoyed the conclusion of the story about the pirate trunks and the effect they had on the town. I liked seeing how various people dealt with the news. The section dealing with the treasure and the Indian burial ground was really interesting and I loved how it was handled. I hope that there will be a story involving Elke and Ben, because it seemed like there was something going on there.
*Copy received in exchange for an honest review.