Friday 20 May 2016


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Change of Heart
Healing Harts #5
By: T.J. Kline
Releasing May 10, 2016
Avon Impulse

In Change of Heart (Healing Harts #5) by T.J Kline, Leah McCarran is hoping her new job will be the start of something wonderful to happen for her life. Since she's had nothing but hard times ever since she was little. With a mother that didn't care for her like a mother should, she has her reasons for not trusting people, especially men. However, she finds herself drawn to Gage Granger, and it seems he won't give up until she gives him a chance, even if all he can ever have with her is friendship.
Gage Granger has always made the right decisions, especially in business. But one mistake could cost him the company he's worked so hard to build and make successful. Yet, instead of facing his problems, he's chosen to run away. At least until he decides how he's going to handle the situation, especially when his choices are limited and he may have no other choice than to fire hundreds of people. Staying at the ranch of his sister-in-law by marriage, he never expected to find a woman that would consume his thoughts. But how is he supposed to win Leah over when she obviously finds it hard to trust? 

What a powerful and emotional tale Ms. Kline has penned that weaved a hypnotic spell on this reader from the start of this story until the end. This story started really well, as it dived straight into the trouble Gage is going through with his company and his need to hide out for a while. He has some big decisions to make, and finds it a bit impossible with his partners pushing him to either fight for what's right or threatening him with the possibility he could lose everything he's worked so hard for. However, the moment that Gage met Leah was when I became completely hooked to this story, as the heroine made me intrigued to learn answers to certain questions. Why is she so prickly towards Gage? Is it just him that annoys her, or is it all men? 

The dialogue was a nice mix of intense, funny and emotional. Gage and his  pick-up lines made me laugh because they were so cheesy. How many women actually fall for such lines? Then there was the intense dialogue, which came through from the main characters back stories. Leah has had a lot of bad luck in her life, and I felt sorry for her. Her past made tears well in my eyes, as what she went through wasn't fair. How could any mother treat their daughter the way her mother did? Then again, Gage didn't have an easy time in his youth either. But all he's achieved has definitely proven he's overcome it and made his family proud of him. 

I absolutely loved both characters, as well as the secondary ones. Everyone thinks highly of Gabe, and they want him to be happy. Yet, they're also protective of Leah, and aren't afraid to give advice or more of a warning that he can't lead Leah on. She's not like the women he normally goes for, and he needs to do more than use his charm to win her over. Really, what he did by going slow and getting her to see that she can trust him was proven loud and clear through his reactions and dialogue.

Leah is strong, brave, tenacious and I liked how she's turned her life around since she got the help she needed from the one person she found she could trust in her teen years. Definitely her past has made her independent, and it was no wonder she ventured into a career as a therapist. Because the horrible events she's suffered help her connect with the at-risk kids she deals with throughout this story. However, what I liked most about her was her willingness to trust Gage, even though it's hard for her to get close to a man, believing she's too damaged for any man to want her.

While Gage, he's go through a lot in this story. He has to figure out what he wants to do about the trouble he's facing. Should he give up on the company that means so much to him, or should be pursue something else that could benefit those that need to harness their skills for good rather than evil. He's a kind and caring guy that would do anything to cheer someone up, and I liked the ways he managed to get Leah to become more comfortable with him. It wasn't easy, and I liked that he didn't give up, even though he wanted to when she responded to him with such mistrust like he was out to take advantage of her.

Scorching sex scenes heat up the pages at the perfect moments throughout this story. It takes a while for Leah to warm up to Gage, which was understandable after all she's been through in the past. Yet, when she does I liked that Gage allowed her to decide when she was ready for their growing relationship to progress from platonic to physical. Knowing she needed to be absolutely certain for them to ever have a chance at happily ever after.

Overall, this was an incredible stand-alone read from Ms. Kline that has left me wanting to read the other books of this series. The way this story ended was perfect, as Gage needed to find a way to win back the heroine's trust in him, and the heroine's offer definitely proves he has it. I would recommend Change of Heart by T.J Kline, if you enjoy a heroine that has serious trust issues and is in desperate need of someone to break down her walls of protection because she deserves the chance at forever after all that she's been through. 

The fifth and (for now) final book in TJ Kline’s Healing Harts series.
Leah McCarran has never had anything but bad luck in her life, with the exception of her dream job, working as a therapist for at-risk youth at Heart Fire Ranch. But when her car breaks down on the side of the road and she finds herself stranded, the playboy who shows up to help, seems like the last person she can count on.
Gage Granger has risen above the circumstances of his youth, enough that people believe he has the Midas touch, especially in business. But when one costly mistake could send his reputation and his company into ruin, he needs some time to get his head on straight before he makes a decision that could affect hundreds of lives and heads to see his brother, near Heart Fire. The last thing he expected to find was a feisty therapist who needs his help, even if she won’t admit it.
Leah doesn’t want friends. There was only one person she let close - her high school counselor and the mentor who not only took her in but changed her life, and then she died. Leah doesn’t want that kind of hurt again so it’s easier to remain distant. But Gage is making it difficult. And finding out that he staying next door at Heart Fire Ranch isn’t making it any easier to avoid the kind man who is worming his way into her heart.
Buy Links:   Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

“We should start over.” Gage held out a hand. “I’m Gage Granger, your neighbor. It’s nice to meet you.”
Leah bit the corner of her lip as the horse nudged her hand. “Don’t do that,” she said quietly. She rubbed her hand over the animal’s face the way Jessie had told her they liked. “We’re both old enough that we don’t need to pretend we get do-overs in life.”

“Ah, another cynic.” He reached out and patted the horse’s neck. The second horse seemed to take notice and ambled slowly in their direction.

“A realist,” she corrected. “Another?”
“Like my brother, or at least, he used to be one.” Gage shrugged but looked back at her, curiosity clear in his dark eyes. “So, you don’t think you can forgive and forget? There’s no starting over?”
“Not really. You can forgive, but it’s a conscious choice. Forgetting something ever happened? That’s impossible. It’s like saying there’s such a thing as love at first sight.”

“Next you’re going to tell me you don’t believe in happily ever after either.” He clucked his tongue and shook his head with a grin tugging at the corners of his full lips. “What kind of therapist are you?”

She didn’t return his smile. “A good one. One who knows what I’m talking about and uses hard facts to get through to people who’ve see far too much reality in their daily lives to believe in fairy tales.”
She leaned one elbow on the railing and faced him. “The people I work with don’t need illusions. They need coping skills because life isn’t some kind of fantasy. Most people you meet aren’t good, and they don’t want to help you.”
Gage narrowed his eyes, trying to see more than what she would allow anyone to see. Leah wondered for a moment if she should have just kept her mouth shut. There was something about this man that made her usual calm, reserved demeanor take a vacation and made her tongue run away without her brain. If she wasn’t careful, she’d end up telling him her life story, and no one deserved to bear the weight of that nightmare.
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She writes contemporary western romance for Avon Romance, including the Rodeo series and the Healing Harts series. She has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. In her very limited spare time, T.J. can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.
Author Links: Website | FacebookTwitter | GoodReads 

Top Three Favorite Scenes: CHANGE OF HEART
#3 – Why I love it: This scene takes place right after Leah has told Gage about her past and how she has dealt with it. She’s trying to come to terms with her attraction and he is determined to put her needs above his own desires. It just proves again what a great guy Gage is (and one of the reasons I fell in love with him myself!)
“Leah, about earlier—”
She quickly raised her hand. “Don’t even. I shouldn’t have kissed you, especially after the things I said. Let’s just pretend it never happened, okay?” Gage snapped his jaw closed and she saw the flicker of indecision in his eyes. “We can be friends, but I don’t think either of us has time or inclination for anything more than that.”
He took a step closer, letting one hand fall gently on her shoulder and slide down her arm. “Are you sure about that?”
Goosebumps broke out over her arms, and Leah fought back the shiver of response to his touch. She wanted to lean into him, to go back to that moment on the couch, where he stoked the passion smoldering in her. He was intoxicating.
“This is my job. I can’t jeopardize it.” The words slipped out before she could stop them.
One side of Gage’s mouth curved up in a sad smile. “You saw Jessie.”
His comment didn’t tell her anything. It didn’t tell her if Jessie was angry or appalled. It didn’t tell her what he’d said.
“Yes.” Her brain yelled at her to push him away, but her body ached for his touch, her blood pounding in her veins.
“Leah, I won’t do anything to put you at risk. You are one-hundred-percent safe with me. I promise you.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, letting his hand fall away from her as he took a step back. “Friends.”
Gage poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip. She wondered if he was aware of the sigh of pleasure that slipped from his lips. When he opened his eyes and met her gaze again, she recognized the desire she’d seen in them on the couch.
“For now,” he amended.
#2 – Why I love it: This was the “meet.” Where Leah and Gage are introduced to one another, on the side of the road, where her car is completely broken down. She’s hot, tired, scared to start a new job and now, stuck. Enter her knight in shining armor, who proceeds to put his foot into his mouth. Oh, how many of us have done that at one time or another?
This wasn’t the way she’d hoped to start her new job or her new life at Heart Fire Ranch.
Walking back to the driver’s side of the car, Leah had no clue what to do now. Luckily, her boss wasn’t expecting her until this evening, and she’d had the foresight, knowing her penchant for bad luck, to leave early.But until some Good Samaritan decided to drive by and stop for her, she was S.O.L. She kicked the tire as she walked by. As if trying to deny her even that small measure of satisfaction, the sole of her worn combat boot caught in the tread, nearly making her fall over.
“Son of a—”
Leah caught herself against the side of the car, willing the tears of frustration to subside, back into the vault where they belonged. That was one thing she’d learned as a child: tears meant weakness.
And showing weakness was asking for more pain.
She bent over into the car, looking for something to mop up the sticky mess the coffee was making on the restored leather interior of her car. She reached for the denim shirt she’d been wearing over her tank top before she’d left Chowchilla this morning, before the air had turned from chilled to hell-on-earth-hot.
“Shit,” she muttered. Trying to sop up coffee with denim was like trying to mop a floor with a broom: it did absolutely no good.
“Hot damn! That is the most incredible thing I’ve seen all day.”
The crunch of tires pulling off the asphalt of the highway was a welcome sound, but the awe she heard in the husky voice was enough to send a chill down her spine. Leah threw the shirt down onto the coffee-soaked floorboard. Standing up, she spun on the heel of her boot, her fists clenching at her sides as she tried to control the instinct to punch a man in the mouth.
“Excuse me? Do you really have so little class?”
“Oh, shit! No, that’s not . . .” She watched as the man unfolded himself from a late model Challenger and shut the door, jogging across the empty two-lane highway to her side. “I’m sorry, I meant the car.”
Leah crossed her arms under her breasts and arched a single, disbelieving brow. “Sure, you did.”
A blush flooded his dark caramel skin. “I swear I meant the car. Not that you’re not . . . I mean . . . crap.”He cursed again. “Let me try this again. Do you need some help?”
Leah nearly laughed as he tried to backpedal, embarrassed by his hastily spoken comment. Instead, she just lifted the brow higher on her forehead, leaning her hip against the driver’s side of her broken-down vehicle as she looked him over. The man looked like he’d just stepped out of a magazine ad with his designer jeans and T-shirt.
Who the hell wore designer T-shirts, for crying out loud?
But she couldn’t fault the way he filled those clothes out. He had definitely been gifted in the looks department. After what she’d just heard, she couldn’t help but assume that his physical gifts were the only ones he had, since brains didn’t appear to be high on his list of attributes.
“No offense, but you don’t look like you get your hands dirty too often. Although, if you don’t mind letting me borrow your cell to call for a tow, I’d really appreciate it.”
He shot her a playboy smile that she was sure had charmed plenty of women out of their panties. “Just because you say ‘no offense’ doesn’t mean it’s not offensive, you know.”
His voice was deep and rich with a slight rasp that was sexy as hell. Too bad he acted like he knew it.
“Says the man who just commented on my ass.”
The smile instantly disappeared. “I meant the car. I wasn’t even looking at you.”
#1 – Why I love it: This scene is just after Gage has helped Leah rescue a stray kitten from under her house. It’s the pair coming to terms with a budding friendship, and attraction, but Gage gets a glimpse at something deeper in Leah and accepts it, even if he doesn’t yet understand it. He might not be an Alpha-hero but Gage is the kind of man every woman needs in her life.
“Look at that,” he teased, leaning his hip against the kitchen counter. “You saved him.”
Leah smiled broadly, her eyes lighting up with pleasure. She leaned over the small island, crossing her arms on the counter, and watched the kitten. Her ponytail flipped over her shoulder and as a few long strands fell forward into her face, she blew them back. For the first time since he’d met her on the side of the road, she looked happy and relaxed.
“I guess I did . . . well, we did.” Her gaze lifted slowly to meet his. “Thanks for helping me.”
It was the first concession she’d offered him, and he wanted to believe it was genuine, that maybe they could leave the territory of coexistence and arrive at a place of friendship.
“Wow, twice in one week. Careful, you might make it a habit.” He gave her a quick wink.
She straightened and he could see the battle within her. At first she seemed confused, but he recognized the moment she realized she’d let her guard down. And she wasn’t sure whether or not to put it back up. He liked this Leah, the woman beneath the smoke screen. Gage looked back at the kitten, not wanting her to feel pressured into putting her walls back up, and saw him move away from the half-empty bowl of food.
“Looks like he’s done.” The kitten opened his mouth in a wide yawn and stretched. “And needs a nap.”
He chuckled and scooped him up from the floor, walking with him to her couch and settling himself into the corner.
“Won’t you make yourself at home?” She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him pointedly, her aggravation plain.
He shot her a sheepish, albeit slightly cocky, grin. “Don’t mind if I do.” As the kitten curled under his chin, against his chest, he reached a hand out and pat the couch beside him. Leah arched a dubious brow his direction and tipped her chin, scowling at him. He smiled broadly.
“I’m not going to bite, Leah. You’re too purrfect. Get it? See what I did there? Ah?”
The irritation in her eyes was immediately replaced by amusement, even though she tried to hide it. The corners of her pursed lips twitched as she tried to keep from smiling. “That was terrible.”
Gage laughed and saw her shoulders relax. “I have a million of them, each one better than the last.”
She held up a hand. “Please, spare me. Bad puns are my downfall.”
“I hope you know CPR, because you’re taking my breath away.” She groaned and he laughed again. “I think I’ll keep going until you take a seat.”
“Fine, just please stop.” She dropped onto the couch but made sure there was an entire cushion between them. “You’re quite the player, aren’t you?”
Gage stuck out his lower lip, rubbing two fingers over the kitten kneading his shoulder. “Not really. I just like to have fun.”
“And pickup lines are fun? Toying with women’s emotions is fun?”
He was treading dangerous territory with her. He could see it in those whiskey-colored eyes and the way they seemed to be lit from an unseen flame within. She thought she had him pegged but she was wrong.
“I don’t toy with people, ever. I’m not into teasing women, one-night stands, or meaningless relationships, but I do like to talk to people. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making a woman feel good about herself and pickup lines are funny. If I can give someone a compliment, even if it’s cheesy, why not?”
Leah leaned back in the couch, tipping her chin up and looking down her nose at him. It wasn’t difficult to see she didn’t believe him. “You’re a pretty cynical person, Leah. Let’s pretend we’re at a bar. You’re having your drink, and I walk up and say, ‘Excuse me, are you a photographer? Because every time I look at you, I can’t help but smile.’ Is that really going to make you tear your clothes off and jump into bed with me, fighting off visions of marriage?”
She pinched her lips together, trying not to smile. “No, probably not.”
“What if I said, ‘Honey, I think they’re going to ask you to leave soon. You’re making all the other women look bad’?”
Leah snorted, then blushed. “Those are so bad.”
He shrugged, dislodging the kitten and earning a soft mew of protest. A rumbling purr broke out against his neck as the kitten cuddled closer and closed his eyes. “It’s all in the delivery.”


1 comment:

  1. Great review! Thank you for hosting CHANGE OF HEART today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours