Maggie Hope is an advice columnist with a sketchy past that haunts her soul. Tru Monahan is a cowboy, competitive rider, and small-town boy who is ready to settle down. He also has a burden or two to carry. When Maggie ends up doing a television interview with the handsome cowboy, things spiral out of control. She's a writer, not a television personality, and she fumbles through, until Tru comes to her rescue. Sparks are flying between the two, but she has to put her money where her mouth is, as she accidentally bets the cowboy that he can't teach her to ride and compete. Her corporate bosses, and his sponsors, love this idea and tell them the bet is on. It's her job, and his ranch, that are on the line.
Tru and his brothers, Bo and Jarrod, run the Four of Hearts Ranch in Wishing Springs, Texas. When Maggie bursts into their small town, she finds out what they mean to the community, and what their community means to them. The characters are what you would expect in a small town. Everyone knows where to go for good food and gossip. The spirit of a tight-knit community is well portrayed in this book.
Tru and Maggie have more in common than they realize, but in order to focus on their careers and this bet, and protect the walls they've put up, they distance themselves from each other. They drive each other crazy in the process, but it's better than letting the other find out everything they are hiding from the world.
Debra Clopton touches on some heavy themes in this book. The pain and hurt that people carry from their past, as well as their current struggles, and she does it delicately. I found myself hurting for the characters. I did feel like the last few paragraphs wrapped up the story a little too abruptly, but overall this was an inspiring read. It was a very conversational read, and I enjoyed it.
Betting on Hope is part of the Four of Hearts Ranch series, and I'd gladly read more books in this series. I've actually never read any of Debra Clopton's books before, but I liked her style.
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