Growing up as an outsider in Welcome, Texas, Liberty Jones struggles to find love and acceptance.
Bookish, shy and mindful of her mixed heritage (a Mexican father and a blonde, blue-eyed mother), Liberty is a social pariah. Though she’s a beauty, her trailer-park home and low socioeconomic standing do nothing to further her stock among the other kids in town. She falls hard for trailer-park hottie Hardy Cates, a tough cowboy with rugged good looks and a wild streak. He sticks around long enough to steal the teenaged Liberty’s heart before leaving Welcome to pursue his fortune. Loss becomes a constant in her life; tragic accidents claim both of her parents before she’s 18. Forced to abandon her dreams of college, she learns a trade to support herself and her five-year-old sister, Carrington. With a beautician’s certificate in hand, Liberty heads to Houston, where she lands an apprenticeship at a swank salon and vows to work her way into the middle class, one highlight appointment at a time. Her rise from poverty speeds up when obscenely wealthy businessman Churchill Travis takes a fancy to her. He offers her a job as his personal assistant and opens his home to the sisters. Churchill’s family gives them the cold shoulder, but then (wouldn’t you know it?) the son who resisted Liberty the most becomes smitten with the stunning interloper. Just when Liberty seems to be on the primrose path, Hardy saunters back into the picture and stirs up trouble. The author unabashedly and unsubtly capitalizes on Texas stereotypes: Big-haired, long-nailed women lust for the trappings of wealth; headstrong oilmen have fiery tempers and rapacious sexual appetites. But she also knows when to let the plot run wild and when to pull on the reins.
Sinfully pleasurable melodrama.