Jaxon Tagget is a cattle-rancher's son, born and raised on the Double T, just outside of Dillon, Montana. In love with his high-school sweetheart, Annie, Jaxon proposes on graduation night, presenting her with a wedding ring made from gold he mined himself. Annie accepts immediately, to the horror of her bitter, man-hating mother.
Jaxon's a wonderful husband, but the warnings of Annie's mother linger in the young bride's ears. And it doesn't help that women continue to fall all over the markedly handsome Jaxon.
Unaware of his wife's persistent doubts, Jaxon is struggling with his own troubles when he finds out his dad is sorely in need of money to save the ranch. But hope glimmers gold when he rediscovers the old mine on the Double T.
While Jaxon travels to verify the mine's productivity, Annie grows increasingly suspicious. Is Jaxon's absence what it seems, or does he have another, less faithful reason for his travels? When Annie sees a picture of the beautiful laboratory owner whom Jaxon is visiting, she's sure the only gold he's interested in is long, blond hair. Is Annie right, or will it be her doubts that forever sever their Two Hearts?
There's just something about a story where people have to struggle against the odds that is incredibly pulling. It didn't take me long at all to be in Jaxon's and Annie's corner cheering for them despite the odds. They were young. Jaxon's family is in danger of losing their ranch. Annie's mother had a bad marriage experience and is danged sure her daughter will not walk her path, by trying to fill Annie's mind with mistrust.
But Jaxon made Annie a ring with gold he found on their ranch in an abandoned mine. My husband made me a medicine pouch once by cutting a piece of leather out of his prized bomber jacket. I was stunned. It didn't cost him a cent, and it is the best present (other than himself, of course) that he's ever given me. Ok. And the kids.
I could really (really) identify with Jaxon and Annie. Although I am far from young chronologically, I more than understand the domino effect of familial, societal and financial pressures. In my experience, the only thing that will get you through is faith - even if things don't turn out the way you hope or imagine. A good support system is valuable as well.
So Jaxon makes a last-ditch effort to get the core sample assayed in time to save the ranch. As it turns out, the wife of the mining company's chief happens to be gorgeous. Of course, Annie sees this picture and is hard-pressed not to assume the worst. On the way back home, Jaxon crash lands in the middle of a nightmare, where loyalties are tested and survival is not a given.
Will things work out for Jaxon and Annie? Will infidelity or worse separate them? Do you think that I will really answer that? I will go so far as to say the answer to one of the three preceeding questions is "No", but I won't tell you which one. If you like contemporary settings with a sweet, clean romance element, Two Hearts should be on your TBR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
James Eric Richey was born and raised in California. He attended Brigham Young University, studying English with an emphasis in Literature. After graduating from BYU he returned home to California to further his education by attending law school. After passing the bar, James practiced in California for several years, but he quickly learned that he did not have a passion for the law.
In 1998 James obtained his real estate appraiser license, which has given him a flexible work schedule and allowed him to pursue his true passion, writing books. Besides his writing, he also enjoys reading, running, and sailing. James currently lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife, Heather, and their two daughters.
INTERVIEW WITH J. E. RICHEY
1. Is Two Hearts your first book?
A: Two Hearts is the first book that I have published. I wrote two other fantasy books prior to writing Two Hearts, but they both are sitting on the shelf collecting dust.
2. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
A: Before I started on Two Hearts, I was writing a fantasy story-other world creation, magic, and monsters. I was having a hard time with the details. For a couple of weeks I kind of just stared at the computer screen struggling with the story. On April 2, 2012 I had a very specific dream. When I woke up I knew I had my story. I quickly wrote down my dream using bullet points for the main ideas. I immediately started writing Two Hearts. I also get story ideas from fiction books I read.
3. Is the character name of Jaxon a nod to Jackson Hole, WY?
A: No. I am a real estate appraiser, and one day I was walking through a home and the name Jaxon was painted on the bedroom wall of a little boy’s room. I instantly fell in love with the name for my main character.
4. How did you discover your passion for writing books?
A: I first discovered I loved to read when I was very young. Because I loved to read so much, I decided to study English in college, with an emphasis in literature. During college I wrote a lot of papers. I went to law school where I continued my writing. I was still reading a lot. I decided to try writing a book. Writing is challenging, but when you transport yourself into the world you are creating it is amazing, as if everything around you fades away. I call it getting into the zone. I love to be in that zone writing.
5. If you were to give a talk in a school, what advice would you give to young would-be writers?
A: Dream big and never give up. Keep trying and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your dreams.
6. Do you have any pets?
A: We don’t have any pets. There are a lot of allergies in our family. We have in the past had Betta fish—they don’t seem to cause problems for people with allergies.
7. If you were able to meet any writer from history, whom would you choose and why?
A: Louis L’Amour. He is the one that got it started for me—the love of reading.
8. What is/are your favorite food/s?
A: I love hamburgers and french fries and Rocky Road ice cream milk shakes.
9: If your children came to you for advice (career, relationship, etc.) how would you respond?
A: I would first be very gentle. Feelings can get hurt if you come off too strong. I would discuss the issues with the child to understand exactly what the challenges or concerns are. Then I would share some of my past experiences and lessons learned to help resolve the concerns or maybe to give direction.
10. What’s in the future for James Eric Richey, writer?
A: I’m working on another romantic suspense story built around the relationship of a father and son. The story ultimately is about forgiveness. The son blames the father for the accidental death of the mother. The son has to learn how the mother died and he has to learn to forgive the father for what happened and how it happened. In the next five years my number one goal is to be able to stop my day job and write full time. Goals two and three are related to the first goal, they are to write and publish three more books. With my full time day job, it took me 2 ½ years to write and publish Two Hearts. The task of writing and publishing three books in five years seems almost overwhelming. That’s what goals are for—to push you to new heights.(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest an unbiased review.)