Review: The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller

The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller
Series: The Brides of Bliss Country (# 1)
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Pages: 384
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

 

 

The women of Bliss County are ready to meet the men of their dreams! See how it all begins in this enthralling new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller… 

Ten years ago, Hadleigh Stevens was eighteen and this close to saying “I do,” when Tripp Galloway interrupted her walk down the aisle. Now that she’s recovered from her youthful mistake and Tripp’s interference, Hadleigh and her single friends form a marriage pact. She doesn’t expect Tripp to meddle with her new plan to find Mr. Right—or to discover that she’s more attracted to him than ever! 

Divorced and eager to reconnect with his cowboy roots, Tripp returns to Bliss County to save his ailing father’s ranch. He’s not looking for another wife—certainly not his best friend’s little sister. But he’s never been able to forget Hadleigh. And this time, if she ends up in his arms, he won’t be walking away!

 

Review: Despite the fact that Hadleigh had secretly hoped Tripp Galloway would haul her out of the church the day she was to marry, the shocking announcement that he was married blew her big plans out of the water. Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, having a social event of the year wedding come to such a dramatic end was fodder for gossips for years to come. So, Hadleigh has lived with her humiliation all these years and has blamed Tripp every single day for messing up her life.

Hadleigh is a successful businesswoman and has two very dear friends who have supported her through the years. The three women all admit they are ready to find some stability, ready to find Mr. Right, and start families. So, they make a marriage pact and vow to focus on finding the right guy and start living their happy every after. Sounds simple, and looks good on paper, but finding the right guy is not an easy task, especially if you are secretly harboring feelings for a man you have convinced yourself you no longer care for under any circumstance, not as a friend, and certainly not as a lover, and Tripp is the very last man on earth Hadleigh would ever consider marrying.

Tripp is divorced and tired of the fast lane. Returning home to help his step-father, who is recovering from cancer, run his ranch, Tripp thinks it’s high time things between him and Hadleigh got settled once and for all. After all, Tripp was Hadleigh’s brother’s best friend and Tripp had promised to look after her. That’s why he pulled her out of that wedding years ago and he still has no regrets for doing so.

Tripp finds out right quick that Hadleigh hasn’t forgiven him after all this time, despite the fact he saved her from making a HUGE mistake.

So, the two get off to a rather bumpy start when they come face to face again.

I love small town romance and second change at love stories. It’s too bad these two never spoke after that wedding fiasco. I don’t know that Tripp ever spent much time feeling regrets over what he did until he sees Hadleigh, all grown up and finds she is bitter towards him. He may have done the right thing for Hadleigh back then, but he handled things the wrong way and now Hadleigh doesn’t trust him with her heart. Hind sight is 20/20 as they say and now Tripp realizes how deeply he hurt Hadleigh.

As for Hadleigh, she knew in her heart Tripp wasn’t responsible for the way her life turned out and hating him all those years only hurt herself. Her fear of opening up to him again though is nearly paralyzing. But, she will have to forgive Tripp and find the courage to open herself up to him again.

Life is full of mistakes and regrets. It’s what we do about those mistakes and how we learn from them that matters. Hadleigh and Tripp both made their fair share of mistakes and have their regrets too. Living in fear of being hurt will rob you of the joy of living, loving, and reaping the rewards relationships give us. I think that is the main message the author would wish to convey. Life is a risk, a gamble, you win some, you lose some, but it if you don’t get in there and take a chance you are only robbing yourself .

This is a solid foundation for this new series by one of my favorite authors. The secondary characters rounded out the story with humor and gives the reader an introduction to characters we are sure to meet again in the future.

Favorite Quote: “It’s always a risk, caring deeply for another person, it’s a risk for everybody- that’s how the game is played, kiddo. Sorry, but you don’t get to be the exception, the one with a written contract from on high, happily ever after guaranteed. No one gets that… if you want a guarantee, sweetie, buy a major appliance” – Melody- ( Hadleigh’s friend)

 

Julie