He’s betting on friendship.
She’s banking on love.
Recently single, livestock vet Kate Cardiff is tired of risking her heart.
So when an emergency calls her home to her family’s struggling ranch, Kate is ready to help—and definitely not looking for love.
It’s dislike at first sight when she meets temporary ranch hand and storm-chasing photographer Nathan Prescott.
He says he can win her over, but Nathan lives in the moment, not for the future.
If Kate opens her heart to someone who lives on the edge, will taking the risk lead to another heartbreak…or a new beginning?
Titles in the Hatchet Lake series include — Lightning Strikes Twice —♥—
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: Lightning Strikes Twice
Series: Hatchet Lake #1
Author: Elizabeth Hrib
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: April 25, 2023
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
My Rating: 4
Lightning Strikes Twice is the opening novel in the Hatchet Lake series, and Kate and Nathan’s romance gives us an interesting overview of the series to come. I enjoyed myself here, but I will admit that it took me a bit of time to really warm up to Kate. She’s a large animal veterinarian who has been away from her small hometown for nearly a decade with school and work. She’s been called home after her father’s heart attack scare only to realize that the ranch isn’t as prosperous as she expected; there are fewer horse borders in the stalls, bills haven’t been paid, and a new ranch hand who doesn’t seem to know much about ranching has taken her place at the ranch. She might be overreacting; after all, she’s just called off a long-term relationship when her partner got caught cheating, she’s worked hard with little time off, and she’s terrified of what the future holds for her father’s health, and life suddenly got complicated.
On the other side, I absolutely adored Nathan from first sight onwards. Of course, he’s reacting when he finds a stranger in a stall with one of the ranch horses. He had no way of knowing that this stranger was Kate. But unfortunately, that protectiveness of the ranch has set Kate against him… along with apparently a bit of jealousy over his position, and the fact that he’s living in “her” guest house (besides the point to Kate that she’s only been home less than a handful of times to actually live in that guest house). I was definitely on Team Nathan for their semi-serious bet. But Nathan comes alive when his photography and storm chasing come into play. The difference in his personality between a ranch hand and a photographer of nature’s beauty is obvious… even to an annoyed Kate.
Theirs is a slow-burning romance going from annoyed strangers, reluctant friends, and into the “this could be forever” area of romance. I don’t know what’s ahead for this series, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever comes next… I have my suspicions so guess we’ll see if I’m right. If you enjoy a slow-burn romance with a lot of irritations before the love kicks in, then you’d love this one.
On a personal note: There’s nothing quite like reading about storm chasing and heavy storms… right when a huge thunderstorm is booming right outside my window. Realistic Reading? My own personal sound effects were provided by Mother Nature herself. *grins*
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent.*
Release date: April 25, 2023
Available in print or for your favorite e-reader