For two years I have been honored by being asked to be a final round judge in The First Coast Romance Writers prestigious NERFA, (National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award), contest. This year my catogory was Best First Book.
My choices were;
It was very hard as all three participants are extremely talented authors whose stories not only exemplified what I feel romance contemporary should be but created lives and storylines that spoke of events and situations that the average reader may face in her lifetime. Life isn’t easy. Sometimes we make bad choices or are forced into situations where we have to pick the lesser of two evils. Sometimes pain is a constant reminder of our failures and we choose to insulate ourselves instead of taking yet another chance only to fall. All three books ‘spoke’ but the one that made the biggest impression was Her Texas Rebel by LeeAnn Bristow.
He left so fast, she never got a chance…
He abandoned her when she needed him most, just as she’d discovered she was pregnant. And now, ten years later, struggling single mother Sabrina Davis has come home in search of refuge for her at-risk son. Except Tony Montoya, now a cop, has also returned to Salt Creek, Texas.
Recovering from being shot in the line of duty, Tony plans to use this time in his hometown to make amends for the trouble he caused as a youth. Amends for breaking Sabrina’s heart. But trouble seems to follow the police officer no matter where he goes, and he doesn’t want to hurt the woman he never stopped loving…or the son he’s just found.
Ms. Bristow hits all the right emotional notes as she creates a multi-layered romance that not only addresses second chances but touches on racism, prejudice, teen pregnancy, and drug addiction. Well written with vibrant characters and solid plotlines, Bristow realistically showcases the hardships suffered by an abandoned single
mother and a father whose own insecurities color his actions as they attempt to find new ground together against the backdrop of small-town drama. A cast of personable secondary characters helps to legitimize this couple’s journey, adding depth and humor to the story. Bristow ends her story on a high note, gracing readers with an epilogue that wraps up any lingering questions and assures readers that this couple has embraced the second chance at love granted to them.
Congratulations to LeeAnn Bristow! An honor well earned.