Michael St. Claire, a widower and single father, fears his heart could never make room for another. Between raising his young daughter Annalise and rebuilding his dreams as a race car driver, love isn’t on his mind… Until feisty Franchesca shows up and changes everything.
With her mom’s health failing, Franchesca needs extra income. An offer from Mike St. Claire to be his daughter’s nanny is an offer she can’t refuse. She has always dreamed of making it on Broadway and living in New York, but her immediate attraction to Mike challenges all she thought she wanted.
Mike can’t deny his feelings for Franchesca, even with the risk of losing his heart again. But he doesn’t want to stand in the way of Franchesca’s dreams. Will his past and what she wants in the future tear them apart?
Title: Winning His Heart
Series: The St. Claires of Montana #2
Author: Lara Van Hulzen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Tule Publishing
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Winning His Heart is a loving story of two people finding a way to meld their lives together – and letting the fear of “what if’s” get in the way. Told with the solid framework of Marietta, Montana and it’s small town charm as a backdrop, this is a story that is so real parts of it will make your heart ache.
Mike St. Claire has lost the woman he’d loved to a car accident. His beautiful, precocious daughter, Annalise is his world right now. While race car driving is in his blood and his dream, taking care of his little one is most important in his life. With the thoughts of once again taking part in the racing world, although not as a driver, Mike comes across a car broken down on the side of the road. And with one stop to help his world will never be the same again.
Franchesca kicked the stupid tire of her equally broken down stupid car once again for good measure. Things just kept getting worse. She’d returned home to Marietta after her dad’s death to be closer to her mom. Now her mother was in the early stages of dementia and the times she slipped away from the present world into the past were increasing. At one time the lights of Broadway had called her, she never made it that far but the dream was still in her heart. Although her small drama school was barely making ends meet, it satisfied the need to be connected still. The worry about her mom, the expenses, now this break down were just about more than she could stand. She never expected the man who stopped to help would be the one who could turn her world around.
Franchesca and Mike’s romance is a slow burn, friends moving to something more. It’s charming and sexy at the same time. At the core is one little girl who has everyone in her orbit wrapped around her tiny fingers. Any of them would give the world for Annalise, and because of that love for a little girl decisions would be made that will bring a world of hurt. Loving someone isn’t always easy, there are so many risks. But for this couple, not loving each other, allowing them each to follow their dreams could tear them apart – if they allow that to happen. Some tough love and a dose of real life will open eyes and hearts once again in this small town full of down home people and the big Montana sky.
I enjoyed my time with this family and I believe you would too. I’d recommend Winning His Heart and this series to any Romance reader who enjoys that special love that faces reality, yet allows dreams to flow.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available for the Kindle