SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE - Jesse Hayworth
Mustang Ridge , Book 1
Mustang Ridge, Wyoming - Present Day
It's been two years since Shelby has heard her daughter Lizzie's voice, and she's willing to do whatever it takes to help Lizzie overcome her selective mutism. Since Lizzie loves horses, her therapist arranges for Shelby to fill in as assistant cook at the Mustang Ridge Dude Ranch for the summer, with private riding lessons for Lizzie an added bonus. Shelby is surprised by the friendliness and acceptance she receives at Mustang Ridge—something so different from what she's experienced with her own family and friends—but most surprising is the ranch's head wrangler. The first time Shelby and Lizzie meet Foster, she gets the impression that he's brusque and stand-offish, but as Shelby gets to know him, she realizes that he really is a good man. One she can't help but be attracted to.
Both Shelby and Foster have had relationships in the past that didn't work out, leaving each of them a little wary of getting involved. With Shelby only in Mustang Ridge for the summer, a fling wouldn't be completely out of the question. The way life has been going for Shelby the past few years, she's stopped focusing on herself, putting her daughter first, and everything and everyone else ahead of Lizzie. With encouragement from her bosses, Krista and Gran Skye, Shelby decides to take a little something for herself. But can she remember that it's only for the summer?
The first book in the Mustang Ridge series, SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE introduces readers to the Skye family and the people who work at the ranch. To help her daughter, Shelby has taken the summer off from her advertising career in Boston in order to cover for the pregnant assistant cook on a dude ranch in Wyoming. She struggles daily to provide a safe and comfortable environment for her daughter while trying not to pressure Lizzie and holding it together herself. Selective mutism is extreme shyness that makes it practically impossible for the person to speak, usually with strangers or in new situations. Two years earlier, right around the time Shelby and her husband were divorcing, Lizzie stopped talking completely, and Shelby is praying to find something that will help her daughter respond. She's shocked when she realizes that Foster has done some research on the condition and even has some suggestions for helping Lizzie with the horses.
A sweet, slow romance combines with a story of new friendships and new beginnings in this captivating novel. The likeable—and sometimes eccentric—characters as well as humor and emotion in SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE make it a novel that I highly recommend.