This Time Forever by Kathleen Eagle
Rodeo Rider Cleve Black Horse is sent to prison for a murder he did not commit.
On the Jury only one person believes in his innocence but is pressured into vote him guilty: Susan Ellison
Susan is remorseful but she tries to get on with her life until Cleve is brought into the ER where she works as a nurse.
There, that same night, a 6 months pregnant native american woman loses her life leaving behind a premature baby with little chance of survival.
They do not know it yet but their duty to that child will intertwine their destinies.
Fighting racism and ethnic discrimination they will have a chance at forgiveness and true love.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. “You know how long I’ve been waiting to do that?”
“Since you were sitting on that jury. The only one who really listened to me. I wanted to kiss you for that and for the color of your eyes.”
Good writing but this slow burning romance wasn’t a winner for me.
I enjoyed the general idea behind the plot, not so much the execution expecially toward the ending.
Great message behind the heroine’s fierce love for a child with special needs no one thought could even survive. That is the best thing about this book.
Susan feels remorse for Cleve’s conviction but she’s not certain of his innocence and she’s able to move on with her life until their paths cross again.
Her love for a native american premature baby brings her back into Cleve’s life because he could be the baby’s father.
Susan finds herself drawn to the baby and spends every available moment in the special nursery with little Sam.
Sam’s official guardian, his aunt Vera, welcomes Susan’s intentions to adopt him because she already has 6 children of her own.
Unfortunately, a tribal judge would never allow a white woman to adopt a Native American child and Susan’s only chance is finding Sam’s biological father.
I had issues with the MC, more with Cleve than Susan.
Cleve’s bitterness and distrust toward Susan is understandable but his reactions and thoughts where the boy was concerned didn’t help with the already not so good opinion I had of him.
Other things are also responsible for the low rating I gave to this book:
► Cleve asks Susan if she wants to know if he used a condom with the baby’s mother but he doesn’t actually say more…what is the point of that conversation?
He just wants to be cruel because she allowed his conviction but there’s a child’s life at stake!
► Cleve tries to bargain with Susan in order to get laid and I was disgusted throughout that conversation!
► The baby’s custody is given to
Cleve without DNA testing so, in the end we aren’t even sure he’s the biological father.
► All the “friends” Cleve makes in prison are soon forgotten except for Jimmy
whose death and role in the story felt pointless to me.
The author doesn’t reveal Cleve’s close inmates’s crimes because, from the hero’s prospective, his priority is survival.
Even so, she ends up throwing hints here and there that Jimmy is in prison for pedophilia while making him act like a “puppy” that needs the hero’s protection and guidance…
It’s a very difficult subject and I really didn’t like how the whole situation was addressed.
► The ending is abrupt and leaves many questions unaswered.
Cleve doesn’t use his supposed ability in dealing with young people to do something important with his life and the way he reaches the conclusion he loves the heroine felt underwhelming. I could not feel his love for Susan, at all.
► The killer Ray Smith
is never found.
Another thing left unanswered that made the suspense I enjoyed at the beginning, pointless.
Overall this book disappointed me even if the author writes about ethnic discriminations and life in prison very convincingly.
She also does a great job writing about Susan’s decision to adopt Sam and her feelings for him.
He sipped his coffee and watched the fish for a moment, remembering. “He has funny eyes.”
Staring at the aquarium, Cleve nodded.
“They’re not like yours. And yours aren’t like mine, but we can all see.”
She spoke like a teacher. In fact, she reminded him of Mrs. Taggert, ninth grade English. Nice lady, as he remembered, even though he’d raised hell in the back of the room whenever he’d had a chance. But she’d always been the soft voice of reason. Like Susan.
“Because of the damage to Sam’s brain, there are some connections that are either weak, or they just aren’t there. So parts of his body, especially his muscles, aren’t getting the message to function properly. Physical therapy has done wonders, and the doctors are hopeful.”
“Hopeful of what?”
“Not that he’ll be capable of doing everything a normal person might do, but that he’ll continue to grow and develop. At first, we just hoped he’d survive.”
She meant hang on, Cleve thought. Like Grandpa. “That’s not enough. There has to be a reason to survive. You need something to live for.”
“And who’s to say what that should be? Maybe he lives to be part of our lives. Sam has things to teach me.” She smiled. “Maybe even you. Nobody can promise he’ll ever walk or talk or ride a horse. We just keep working, and he keeps surprising us.”
“So you don’t have any idea what he’s going to be like.”
“I know what he’s like now. I’m willing to take him as he is.”
I love Susan’s relationship with Sam and the strenght that keeps her fighting for her little boy.
⭐ 2 Stars ⭐
~ My Ratings ~
Writing: 3 /5
Plot: 2.5 /5 I think the premise is interesting but not well “executed”, neither the murder mystery nor the romance.
Hero: 1.5 /5 Far from dreamy (in my opinion of course)
Heroine: 2.5 /5 a bit too naive and kind of a pushover where the hero is concerned but AMAZING with little Sam.
Secondary Characters: 2 /5
MC’s chemistry: 2 /5 The romance didn’t “do it” for me.
Steam: 2 /5 They become intimate toward the very end, only one sex scene described (EXPLICIT).
Triggers: Author writes about sensitive topics like ethnic discriminations, having a child with serious disabilities, hard life in prison. A secondary character commits suicide.
Recommended to: Contemporary Romance Readers looking for a story about a Native American man, ethnic discriminations, wrongful incarceration, adoption/adoptive children.
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