Blame it on Texas – Christie Craig

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This is an e-book I’ve had in my iBooks for a while. Last weekend, I was cleaning it out, deleting some of the books I’d already read and trying to get rid of some of the to-be-read books I will never get to anyway. My iBooks takes long to open, not only because I’ve got a first model iPad Mini, but also because there are just so many books in there!

Anyway, I’d read this romance novel before, but I couldn’t remember it. I liked the title and cover, so I decided to keep it and re-read. Now I don’t remember reading it the first time, but I’m really glad I picked it up again. Blame it on Texas is a fun, quirky romance about people with a past who meet and work together to overcome their fears. This gem by Christie Craig is actually part of a trilogy: Hotter in Texas.

So the book is about Zoe Adams, a small-town kindergarten teacher who takes a one-month sabbatical to go to Texas after seeing an unsolved murder case on TV. She thinks she might be the murdered girl the programme was about. Basically, she has very little photos and memories of herself as a little child and she has always felt very different from her parents. Seeing the programme and comparing her 6-year-old picture with the girl’s 4-year-old, leads her to believe that she might be the girl who was kidnapped and found murdered. The programme stressed that the girl was never really identified (as DNA techniques and the like didn’t exist back then) and her killer was never caught.

She works at a dinner but has trouble getting close to the (very rich and powerful) family she thinks she might belong to. So she decides to enlist the help of a P.I. agency that works for the family. It’s the sexy Tyler that decides to take on her case. He has trouble believing her story, but when he finds a photo of the mother of the kidnapped girl, he realises they look exactly alike and there might be some truth to her story. When Zoe starts getting threatening phone calls and even ends up getting shot at, he decides to do everything in his power to find out what’s going on.

Zoe being in danger, she decides to trust Tyler to help her find out and also to protect her. They grow close through this entire ordeal, but their relationship has an expiration date, since Zoe needs to get back home to her life and her job when the month is up. As it turns out, Zoe is indeed the girl who was kidnapped and thought to be dead. The family’s head of security kidnapped her with a few friends to ransom the rich and powerful family. But something went wrong, and they decided to kill her. That’s when the man who raised Zoe stepped in. He was friends with them, but not directly involved in the kidnapping. He couldn’t let them kill her, so he decided to take her away. He told his friends that she was dead and took a body from his father’s morgue to be identified as the girl. A little while later, he and his wife took Zoe and moved away, where they raised her as their own.

That same man was still the head of security for the family now, and he was the one behind the threatening phone calls and everything else. He gets found out, arrested and Zoe is reunited with her family. However, it’s not a happy reunion. Her birth parents are dead (they died in a plane crash shortly after she was taken), her grandfather is dying and the rest of the family is too self-involved to care. They fear that she has only come back to infiltrate their family and claim all the money. So she leaves and tells them she doesn’t want anything to do with them. Luckily, she does realise that what she and Tyler have is something special, and she decides to stay with him.

It’s a very emotional book for Zoe, she is going through a lot from suspecting her parents aren’t her actual parents, to finding out the entire truth. Tyler is there for her through it all. He accepts her story quite quickly and enlists the help of his friends and family to find out the truth for Zoe. He is very supportive of her, even in the beginning when he doesn’t really believe her yet. But he has his own fears holding him back: he used to be a cop who got framed for murder and spent some time in jail. Zoe doesn’t care about that, however, which allows him to come to terms with his past as well.

I liked the relationship between Zoe and Tyler. They start out not fully trusting each other and slowly, with everything they go through together, they learn to trust each other. They develop a friendship, which leads to feelings, sex, and a true partnership. Both have difficulties in their past, but they accept each other completely. That acceptance then allows them to accept their own past and gets them ready to step into the future, together.

I’d recommend it to anyone who likes stories about people overcoming their past and finding happiness. For people who like a little mystery and romance. For everyone who likes strong characters coming together. Two thumbs up!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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