Protecting His Heart: A Lawson Family Novel is the second book in the Lawson Family series by Tracey Cramer-Kelly. It is a really great small-town/contemporary romance, with emotion, drama, connection, family, and forgiveness.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Calling the Curveball’, so when I saw this one, I just knew I had to read it too. This story could be read as a standalone, but as there are some recurring characters, who you will want to ‘meet’, so I really recommend reading the first book before beginning on this one.
Ian McCleary is a police officer who has worked hard to get where he is. He is dedicated to his job and takes his responsibilities seriously. Ian is Jamie’s best friend (Book #1) and holds a special place in the Lawson family. But still, he has some baggage from his past that even though he has come so far, a part of him is still a little ‘stuck’ by his experiences. He had been living and working in the big smoke but made the move back to his hometown three years ago. Over time he can’t help but notice things about Rachel he wished he didn’t. It brings out his protective nature- because he knows from firsthand experience what it’s like to live with that burden. But he’s determined to keep things professional, he really can’t afford to cross that line.
Rachel holds a dream of marriage and starting a family. But that doesn’t seem possible now, not with the secret she’s been hiding. She’s given up so much, and things don’t look too bright. She feels alone, but she’s too worried to ask for, or accept help…. Then along comes Ian, a Police officer who shows her some much needed kindness. So, what happens when feelings become involve? What happens when her ‘secret’ is revealed? What happens when the past returns? Can Ian and Rachel learn to trust again, and take a chance on love? Or will their past/s snatch away any chance at a future together?
This story includes some sensitive subject matter, which played an important part in the foundations to the storyline- but was not used gratuitously. It was used to develop some of the backstory of these complex characters- who have experienced more than their fair share of hurt. The author handled the sensitive nature of these topics with care, but she didn’t gloss over the impact it has on its victims. I also appreciated how she ‘helped’ the characters work through their issues and find a way to sort them out.
I though this story was a little heavier on the emotional content than the first book, but it has been a while since I read it- so maybe this one is resonating with me more due to there being 12 months between reading the first book, and picking up this one.
I also loved ‘catching up’ with previous characters and seeing how and what they are doing. I love the Lawson’s and I am really looking forward to reading all the books in the series, and getting to know all these characters a little better. They really are coming to feel like ‘old friends’ of mine, ones I would love have over for a BBQ and drinks. If you’ve read the first book, you will know exactly what I mean- and if you haven’t read these books yet, once you read them you will understand what I am getting at.
This may only be my second read from Ms. Cramer-Kelly, but I feel like I’ve known her and enjoyed her writing for years. She has such an easy, warm, and fluid style which entices you further and further into the story. That coupled with the wonderful characters, and the great storyline- and it makes it difficult to put down.
Thank you, Ms. Cramer-Kelly!
Reviewed by @angelahayes