An unlikely romance begins in a greasy spoon outside a soulless chain hotel.
When Lane Whitmore first meets Miranda “Mandi” Evans, she is working as a waitress in the depressed part of Texas he’s researching for his next project as an urban planner. Lane invites Mandi to his hotel room after her shift, but when she’s reluctant to tell him any details about her life, he worries that the beautiful woman with the haunted eyes might have more baggage than he’s willing to unpack. Back in her trailer park, Mandi harbors a shameful secret that she’s desperate to atone for, and she thinks she’s found a way to do it without ruining her ambitions to move to California and finish school. But her good intentions aren’t enough to keep her past trauma from threatening her future happiness. Mandi’s secret plan for redemption is commendable but complicated—maybe too complicated for Lane. Though Mandi’s dingy surroundings initially cast her in an unflattering fluorescent light, they also illuminate the camaraderie and determination of poor working women whose managers walk them to their cars at night to make sure they’re safe yet pay them so little that they can only afford to live in flimsy trailers in bad parts of town. There is something undeniably alluring about the flicker of the neon vacancy sign in Deluca’s (Her Greatest Risk, 2015, etc.) novel. It’s the nitty-gritty details that make this improbable romance unfold in such an unusual and affecting way. While Lane wonders how a girl from a wealthy family could end up living this way, Mandi ponders how an urban planner could be so blind to her plight. They’re not entirely sure they can even trust each other, let alone start a relationship, but their mutual attraction should keep readers coming back for more.
This tale’s seedy premise featuring a Texas waitress evolves into an absorbing story of redemption that’s hard to put down.