Carly Adams has been blind since birth, but a very recent operation has just restored her vision. She is still learning to recognize things by sight and reveling in finally being able to see all the things around her. Carly goes with her friend Bess to a country-western bar only intending to sit and watch, but a handsome man at the next table catches her eye. She spends the better part of the evening staring at him, but is shocked and a bit embarrassed when he takes notice of her too. For the rest of the evening, she and Hank share drinks and dances, while he charms her with his sweet-talking. Eventually, he takes her out to his truck, and Carly finds herself unable to resist his passionate kisses. One thing leads to another, but their drunken, fumbling sexual encounter ends badly with Hank passed out and Carly feeling hurt both physically and emotionally.
Hank Coulter was just looking to unwind and have some fun. His family had warned him that his carousing would eventually lead to someone getting hurt, but he hadn't really given it a second thought until now. Hank awakens the morning after his encounter with Carly and begins to piece the foggy events of the previous evening together, only to realize that he'd deflowered a virgin and might have gotten her pregnant too. He immediately begins searching for her, but to no avail. When Carly finally contacts him, Hank knows the worst must have happened, but the situation is far more complicated than he ever could have imagined. When he discovers that Carly could go blind again during the pregnancy, Hank decides that the best course of action is for him to marry her even if it is just a temporary marriage of convenience, but Carly wants nothing to do with him. It takes all of Hank's charm and charisma, plus a little blackmail, to get the stubborn lady to agree to marry him, but once he finds himself falling in love with her, it might take a miracle to convince her to make it permanent.
Blue Skies is another tender, emotional romance from Catherine Anderson's pen. In the tradition of Phantom Waltz, an earlier book from the same series, Ms. Anderson has created a disabled heroine, one who is this time blind. I was very impressed when I found out through the author's note at the end of the book that Blue Skies was inspired by a real-life young woman who had contacted her following the release of Phantom Waltz. This lady suffered from the same rare eye disease that Carly does and Ms. Anderson consulted with her and her doctor to make sure she got all the medical details correct. I think the research showed, and as a result, Blue Skies was a very touching, inspiring story that has become one of my favorites from this author.
Carly Adams was born blind, but through surgery was able to regain her sight just one week before the novel begins. She is a tough woman who has learned to live independently in spite of her disability. Carly goes to a bar with her best friend where she sits admiring Hank Coulter from afar. She can hardly believe it when the handsome cowboy approaches her and invites her to dance, then spends the rest of the evening sweet-talking her. Later, when Hank takes her out to his truck for a little hanky-panky, things don't go well in more ways than one, and she ends up pregnant. My only real issue with this book is that Carly was a little too stubborn at times. Not only was she contrary, but she was also somewhat contradictory too, making me occasionally want to leap into the story to shake some sense into her. Carly was understandably upset about what happened between her and Hank, and especially about the fact that she was now pregnant as a result. I did understand that she felt Hank had treated her callously and that she now had to face the possibility of loosing her sight again after having just regained it, so on some level, her continuously turning Hank away made sense. However, if I were in her shoes, I think I would have been so concerned about financial matters and what might happen without his help that I'd at least have been willing to listen to him. Carly is also pretty stand-offish with Hank even after they get married. I realize that their first time together was pretty crappy, and she believes that Hank was only looking to get laid which is pretty much the truth. However, from the moment Hank realized what he had done, he was absolutely nothing but nice to her, simply wanting to take care of her and their baby, yet she jumps at his slightest touch almost like a woman who's been raped. Thankfully, Carly does slowly come around and starts to consider the fact that she was as turned on by him as he was by her and from there things become really sweet and romantic as well as a little steamy. But when she left him again, I was starting to get rather frustrated with her. She also doesn't communicate well with Hank sometimes. Knowledge of her condition and things that happened in the past that still affect her today had to come from her friend and her father, a plot device which I'm usually not fond of. It didn't bother me quite as much as it has in some other romances, but I still would have liked to see a little more vulnerability from her in that respect. I hope I don't sound too critical of Carly though, because ultimately, she was a sweet young woman who was also an inspirational character in many ways for her positive can-do attitude and for not allowing the blindness to get the best of her.
Hank was an absolutely dreamy hero. In the opening chapter, he is a real seductive charmer in spite of being under the influence of alcohol. If I had been Carly, I don't think I could have resisted him either. Of course, he was totally off him game when it came their first sexual encounter which left him with a whole lot to make up for, but he ended up doing an incredible job of it. I love that he was a man who took his responsibilities seriously. He immediately started trying to find Carly the minute his foggy memories began to resurface. When he found out she was pregnant, he repeatedly offered her financial and moral support even though she kept blowing him off and refusing to talk to him. I like that he could get tough and put his foot down when he needed to. He could be equally as tenacious as Carly could be although in a good way instead of a frustratingly obstinate way, but overall he was a sweet beta hero who was willing to move heaven and earth to be with Carly once he realized he was in love with her. I love how Hank tenderly cared for Carly when she was sick on their wedding night, as well as all the concessions he made and things he did for her both before and after they were married. The way he completely renovated his ranch to accommodate Carly's disability reminded me of Ryan from Phantom Waltz, another of my favorite Catherine Anderson heroes. Hank trying to show Carly all the things he possibly could in order to make wonderful memories before she lost her sight again was also very romantic. Hank was just a thoughtful, patient, kindhearted and thoroughly loving man who has definitely earned a spot on my all-time favorite heroes list.
Hank and Carly are certainly the stars of the "show." There are a few secondary characters, but mostly they play relatively small roles. Hank's sister, Bethany and her husband, Ryan (Phantom Waltz), as well as Hank's brother Jake and his wife, Molly (Sweet Nothings) were there to support Hank and Carly. Rafe and Maggie (Baby Love) appear at a couple of family gatherings, but don't have any actual lines. Another of Hank's brothers, Zeke, gets a pretty good introduction as the calm voice of reason when Hank needs a shoulder to lean on. Zeke gets to be the hero of the next book in the series, Bright Eyes.
In spite of Carly's stubbornness, Blue Skies turned out to be a wonderful read. I can't imagine what it must be like to loose one's sight, but Catherine Anderson gives the reader a seemingly authentic look into the life of a blind woman. Not only that, but she also created a story that was deeply emotional and sweetly romantic with a hero to die for. I couldn't have asked for much more. Blue Skies is the fourth book in Ms. Anderson's Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan Families series. It has earned a spot on my keeper shelf and I look forward to reading more from this series soon.
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