This is the first Karen Rose Smith novel I have read. I'm sure there will be others in the future. While there was a lot of mistrust issues continually between the characters the story flowed smoothly.Laura Applegate Sanders' world is turned upside down when Mitch Riley appears on her doorstep with the news her estranged father is about to undergo heart bypass surgery. For the past few years, Mitch has been her father's partner in the jewelry business Laura once dreamed of sharing—until her father disowned her when she married Doug Sanders, an artist with no money and few prospects.Mitch loves and respects Laura's father as he never could his own. His dad was a drunkard and a gambler who died leaving his wife and two sons destitute when Mitch was fourteen. Knowing how much it would mean to Ray Applegate to see his daughter again, Mitch takes it upon himself to travel to Ohio to ask Laura to come home. To his surprise, he learns she is a widow with a four-year-old daughter, Mandy.Mitch is prepared to dislike Ray's rebellious daughter because of the pain she caused Ray. But when he meets her, her self-confidence and the love she feels for her daughter throw him for a loop. In self-defense he clings to the image of Laura that Ray has fostered, that of an irrepressible, spoiled rich girl.After getting to know Laura, Mitch finds her irresistible and their passion takes their relationship to a new level. But Mitch has been betrayed in the past. His lack of trust in Laura causes him to back away to the old life that has left him alone. Soul-searching leads him back to Ohio to admit to Laura his life won't be a happy one until she is in it permanently. A few days before Christmas he returns to Laura's doorstep to give her a ring he designed especially for her. Laura accepts his proposal, eager to find happily-ever-after with him.