ALL I EVER WANTED – Francis Ray
Grayson Friends Series , Book 8
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Santa Fe, New Mexico – The Present
Naomi took shelter in Santa Fe when her car broke down fleeing from Texas and her ex-husband. When strangers helped her, she decided to stay, hoping her abusive policeman ex would never find her and their daughter Kayla. The Grayson family, some of whom helped her when she needed it most, continues to help her and have accepted her into their circle of friends. Another friend, Richard Youngblood, a local veterinarian, has been of special help. Naomi wants to keep him as a friend, but only a friend despite knowing he wants more. Kayla, however, loves Richard, the only man who has acted like the father she wants.
Richard is frustrated by Naomi's withdrawn nature, but finds it understandable knowing what her ex-husband was like. He is determined to wait; he loves her kindergarten-aged daughter, and hopefully when Naomi realizes he will always be there for her and Kayla, she will come to love him.
Naomi is hyper-alert for danger, both mentally and physically. She lives in a state of fear, always expecting her ex to show up, so has plans in place to save herself and Kayla. Worse, his abuse destroyed her self-esteem. Her ex made her feel worthless, yet it took great strength and courage to escape him. She just has to come to the realization of how strong she is. It is a tough road fraught with self-doubt and fear. Richard also becomes aware there may be a point where he needs to give up. He shines as a loving and devoted man of competence and compassion. Yet can he protect her if the ex shows up? Can Naomi overcome her great fear of commitment for the sake of Kayla? While part of a long series of novels, ALL I EVER WANTED stands alone, and readers will have no problem falling into this world of romance.