St. Martin’s, Mar 2008, $7.99
In Welcome, Texas teenager Liberty Jones and her mom move into a trailer park because they cannot afford anything else. Liberty’s sole parent works beyond exhaustion to insure they have meals and can meet the rent. However, mom becomes pregnant adding to their worries, but Liberty tries to help at home and with an after school job.
While his father is behind bars, Hardy Cates lives with his mom and three younger siblings in the same trailer park. He works to bring in income his family badly needs. Hardy befriends Liberty helping her with school and playing basketball with her. However, although he knows she loves him. He refuses to reciprocate her feelings as he plans to be different than his wastrel father and leave town soonest without siring kids left behind. Soon afterward, Liberty’s mom dies in an accident leaving her to raise her infant sister Carrington.
Liberty becomes a hair stylist in Houston where she meets businessman Churchill Travis. The other stylists suggest she allow Churchill to be her SUGAR DADDY to ease the money woes for her and her sister. When Churchill offers her a job as his live-in assistant to include her sister moving in with them, a reluctant Liberty, knowing he has a son Gage her age, accepts for Carrington’s sake. As Churchill treats both Jones females with fatherly affection, Gage is fuming that a gold-digger will hurt his dad while Liberty is happy. However, Hardy returns claiming her as his long lost love though a decade has past since she last saw him while Gage has also fallen in love with her.
Much of this well written book focuses on Liberty raising Carrington with the romance especially the triangle coming late. Liberty is a great lead character as she wants to make a better life for her sister and herself. Although the ending seems somewhat forced because one of the triangular participants acts apprehensible, fans of contemporary tales will enjoy Lisa Kleypas’ solid character study.