Hand me the reins
by Vanessa Vale
“Hand Me The Reins” is the third book in the Bachelor Auction series by Vanessa Vale. I liked the first two books a lot, but I have to say, this one is my favorite. Each book gives us the story of what happens to one of the three Manning brothers when they take part in a bachelor auction to benefit the library in their small town. This story focuses on the youngest of the three brothers when he gets his turn on the auction block.
Thatcher is a good-natured man who own the successful local bar. He is steadfastly against romantic relationships because he has a deep-rooted fear of the pain and loss he’d feel if such a relationship ended badly. Astrid owns the wonderful bakery in town and she has a problem; she has to go home for her sister’s wedding and if she goes alone, her already horrible family will be intolerable. When I described them as horrible, believe me, that’s actually an understatement. The only normal relative she has is her great-aunt, the town librarian. Her aunt buys Thatcher at the bachelor auction so Astrid can ask him to be her date for the wedding. He’s a really good guy and is happy to help her out, but he can’t understand why she’s so insecure about her appearance because he finds her incredibly attractive. When he meets her terrible family it all becomes painfully clear, as does the fact that the ‘fake’ relationship between him and Astrid is the best relationship he’s ever had. Suddenly, he’s questioning plans and decisions he’s been making about his life.
This story manages to be incredibly sweet and also incredibly sexy. Both Thatcher and Astrid have issues to overcome, and they are such likable characters that as the reader you keep cheering them on. If you read the other books in this series you’ll be happy to see characters from those stories appear in this one. I was excited to see Nix and Kit from “Mountain Darkness” make an appearance, too, which was unexpected but a lot of fun. There are some heartbreaking moments in this story, but I promise that the heartwarming feelings you’ll have at the end make it all worth it.