Goodreads: Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.
But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.
Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.
When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.
Ope’s Opinion: When I started this book, I just couldn’t get into it. It seemed slow moving. I almost gave up on it, BUT I am glad I didn’t. As I got to know the characters, I became attached to them.
I really liked that the abusive boyfriend wasn’t slamming her around in an obvious way. He kept making a joke out of it and apologizing. It felt like how I think it might really happen. It built slowly and subtly. I think it would make someone who was being abused open their eyes. I do wish that Bettina was more proactive about getting out of the relationship instead of accepting the abuse. Coming from the family Bettina comes from made her more vulnerable to an abusive relationship.
Even though Cowboy was significantly older then Bettina – it was good to see her recognize a more healthy relationship. He made her feel safe and important, neither of which she was getting at home or with Brady. I like how much Cowboy respected Bettina.
I really liked the twist toward the end of the book. I did not see it coming at all. It changed the rest of the book and the characters relationships. I am interested in reading another book by Leslie Connor.