There is a moment in every woman’s life where she comes to the realization that no matter how much she loves, how much she pours her soul into a relationship, no matter how hard she may try, she cannot fix what doesn’t want to be fixed. If someone does not want to change, if someone does not want help, there is nothing you can do to will it so. Sure, your love for that person might be a driving force behind them wanting to change, but just you being there and loving hard enough isn’t all it takes. The other party has to want it too, and if they don’t? Sometimes the only thing you can do is let go.
That’s what Amy Wilson realizes about Jack Shepherd in Donna Alward’s latest, Her Rancher Rescuer. Living in a small town, and being single, Amy’s dating pool has been the size of a wading pond. Naturally she’s dated most of the eligible bachelors in town, and naturally none of those relationships worked out. So now it’s “poor, desperate Amy who cannot find a man.” She’s sick of it, tired of it, and knows that if she wants any sort of life she needs to get out of the rut she’s in, which means going to work at Jack Shepherd’s Montana ranch, which doubles as a corporate retreat.
As tends to happen in romance novels, the couple has immediate chemistry and eventually succumbs to their mutual attraction. However Jack has emotional baggage that is holding him back from any sort of commitment. He likes Amy, is attracted to her, but once they fall into bed together the emotional connection they share sends him scurrying in the other direction. After years of being labelled “poor Amy,” she’s a woman who isn’t going to stand around and wait.
“So you’re really going.”
“You don’t love me Jack. It was a great night but it scared you for some reason. Scared you enough you backed off in a major hurry.”
“I just need some time….”
“Time won’t change anything for you. And I’m starting to realize that I have enough to fix about myself that I can’t start trying to fix you too.”
Because after watching her mother retreat into her shell after her father left them both, Amy is done settling for crumbs.
But if she’d learned anything from her parents’ failed marriage, it was that it didn’t work when one person gave more, loved more, wished more. And so she let him go. And shut the door.
We know Amy and Jack belong together. Even Amy knows it. But Jack doesn’t know it, not yet anyway. He needs to come to that realization on his own, hopefully before it’s too late. While it shatters the reader, and breaks Amy’s heart, she knows she cannot fix Jack. Jack has to want to fix himself. Lucky for all of us, romance demands that Jack figures out how.
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.