A CHILD UNDER HIS TREE: Allison Leigh
Forget the mistletoe maneuvers. Kelly Rasmussen isn’t planning on having that reunion kiss with Dr. Caleb Buchanan any time soon. Things had long ago gone south for these former high school sweethearts. Except for that one night six years ago—which resulted in an explosive secret Kelly’s kept till this very day.
Now career and family have brought them both back to Weaver, Wyoming. Their unavoidable clashes—and instant chemistry—make them realize this town isn’t big enough for the two of them. Or three of them—counting Kelly’s son. Because there’s something about that little boy… For one thing, he has Caleb’s eyes…
The prologue sets the stage for readers to understand the childhood and young adult years of Kelly Rasmussen. As you hear her mother’s harsh voice and the critiques given you understand why Kelly had no choice but to escape and find a life of her own. With a child about to be born and the man who fathered it kept in the dark her mother only wanted her to marry the man she thought responsible thinking she would benefit as well. Georgette Rasmussen was mean, ornery, self-centered, and selfish and had a heart of steel. Kelly had to use every ounce of strength and fortitude to leave and find a place for herself. Having to give up her job as the receptionist in the local doctor’s office she was able to obtain another job doing menial tasks for a friend of Dr. Cobb her original boss. While working there she befriended the nurses and after having Tyler, her son she with their help was able to become a nurse. But, when her mother passes away and she had to return to Weaver where the memories flood back, the anger rises the lies her mother told come crashing down.
Kelly Rasmussen planned to stay in Weaver just until she told her mother’s farm, auctioned off her estate and completed anything that needed to be done including selling everything within the farm plus the farm with the help of a good real estate company and the estate lawyer named Hook, hired by her mom. With no will Kelly would have to wait for the court to decide when she would be able to get the things auctioned off and the property sold.
When Kelly needs to take Tyler to have his cast on his arm replaced little does she know that her past and one transgression would come slamming down on her. Kelly is an overprotective mother who created a rigid and no chance for alteration schedule and life for her son as a single mother. Respect demanded, no change to talk back yet Tyler when he meets Caleb Buchanan or Dr. C as everyone calls him, the instant they meet something clicks and the energy and chemistry between him and Kelly reignites a flame that might scorch them both for they are not careful.
Caleb has a lot of family in Weaver where he just returned to as a pediatrician taking the place of the on sabbatical doctor Cobb. Having him change Tyler’s cast sets the stage for more encounters to come and before long they rekindle the past and talk about why she left and the lies her mother told to cover up for the fact that she was never married as her mother told everyone and that Tyler was his son a secret she hoped to never reveal.
Kelly and Caleb were close and Kelly cannot forgive him for dumping her for another girl. But, being young and in high school things often boiled but the simmering pot won out. Six years ago they could not resist their chemically charged attraction and that night even though protection was used Kelly would learn she was going to be a parent and when you hear her mother’s harsh words you will understand her need for secrecy and wanting to protect her son, her life.
Kelly and Caleb begin talking to each other and bond because Tyler falls in love with his puppy called Puppy for now. Wanting t see more of Caleb causes doubts in Kelly’s mind and agreeing to allow her son access to him brings her conflicting emotions to rise. Yet Tyler might be five but he’s smart and becomes friends with Lucas who is Caleb’s sister’s son and he would love to go to school with him yet hoping to see his best friend in Idaho Gunner too thinking everyone could live together in the same place or town. With Pam Rasmussen married into Kelly’s family and Lucy his sister with Leandre another Buchanan, they all foster a strong friendship with Kelly even though she is doubtful about Caleb. Lucas and Tyler become best buds and the new puppy joins in the fun as Kelly awaits the auction hoping to leave Weaver but then something happens and her anger festers and she blurts out the truth about Tyler to Caleb and then everything changes. But, will it be for the better? Telling him the truth brings out a whole other side of Caleb as the author allows him to express his anger and his final words after the confrontation states: You are not taking my son back to Idaho. Feeling threatened angry and disregarding his wishes she explains that he cannot control what she does but a man with so much power, so much money and who knows the right people can stop her cold.
From this point on the novel takes on a different turn as the conflicts between Caleb and Kelly become the gossip of others in the town when the truth behind Tyler’s birth becomes known to his family and others and the end result will surprise readers. Kelly wants to go back to collect her things in order to have the auction of her property and be present but instead she asks Leandre to watch Tyler and she encounters on her journey a critical and deadly car accident causing her to help a young mother soon to be a widow give birth to a boy. Sadness, heartache and the death of her husband cause the new mother much grief as Kelly feels guilty for not saving the husband while Caleb comes to her rescue and takes charge and it is within this grief and anger that something rises up within her and she tells him the truth.
Will she escape and never return now that he knows? Will she realize they are meant to be together? Will she take a chance and accept his marriage proposal even though she thinks it’s one of convenience? What happens when Tyler decides he’d rather not have a father and is mad at Caleb for yelling at his mother. An ending that will bring tears to your eyes and a five-year-old precious boy named Tyler who would be the best present under any Christmas tree but will he be Caleb’s? Read the novel to find out as you get to know Caleb, Kelly and Tyler.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine