Can one summer together make up for eight years of separation?
Commander Brett Murphy left his family’s construction firm in Oklahoma City for a life of hard work at Three Rivers Ranch. Alone, without a wife and kids, Brett needs the camaraderie he enjoyed while serving overseas with his Army buddies, Squire Ackerman and Peter Marshall.
What Brett doesn’t need is the reappearance of his ex-wife. Fiery Kate Donnely has come to Three Rivers to confess to Brett that they’re still married, and oh, he has a seven-year-old son she never told him about. At least not in letters she mailed.
Eight years ago, Kate left Oklahoma City only weeks after Brett’s first deployment, shamed because of her bad choices and the unborn child of a man she’d already asked for a divorce. She needs him to sign the papers now or she can’t have access to her hefty inheritance. But Brett absolutely does not want Kate to take his son away from him again.
They strike a deal: She’ll stay at Three Rivers for the summer so Brett can have the opportunity to get to know his son. How far will they have to go and how much will they have to forgive in order to become a family?
I really enjoyed this story, but I did have an issue with one major point. How do you not tell a man you really loved that he has a son for 8 years? From the letters we see Kate write over the years, it's clear she's still in love with him. Crazy, manipulative, overbearing mom and grandma or not, I'd find some way to contact the man I loved. The man I clearly hoped would come for me. I don't buy that she'd be stupid enough to think he'd just "know" where she was.
Take that out of the equation and the rest of the story is wonderful. The conflicting emotions when they reconnect, the mistrust, the hurt, the hope. The writing is clean and powerful.
I especially enjoyed the little snippets that showed the unsent letters and emails Brett and Kate wrote to each other over the years. Everything in them made sense based on the fact they were not in contact with each other. But then again, how hard is it to hit "send"?
I still give Fourth and Long a solid 4 because I enjoyed the progression of their relationship, the fact it was clean, and the compelling writing.
1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read