Just the Way You Are (Lost Texas Hearts)

Just the Way You Are - Christina Dodd Hope Prescott is a ministers daughter and Zach Givens is a corporate raider to the core. She's friendly, charming, and goes out of her way to help people; he is an egomaniac, uncaring, and rude to the point of being mean. The virign and the bad boy.The book begins with the moment that shapes young Hope and her siblings lives- she and her siblings are being separated and sent to foster homes/orphanages around the county because their parents were killed in a car accident. Her parents were also accused of embezzling church funds and were on the run when they had their accident.Seven years later Hope is employed at a answering service and studying for a degree that she thinks will enable her to find a job that pays enough for her to search for her siblings. “"Money's the most important thing in the world. You have some, so you don't realize that without money, you're dirt on the streets. Without money, you depend on compassion, and there's not much in this world."” It's through the answering service that she first "meets" Zach who's company had contracted their services- except Hope thinks that Zach is really his butler Griswald. Zach does nothing to correct Hope because his fondest wish is for someone to like him for himself and not his last name or portfolio. And Hope does treat him like a normal person. Some of the comments that she makes about Zach are not very flattering and not something that I would say about a client to his employee. "Just the Way You Are" is a good story at the core but I got a little lost and discouraged along the way. At the beginning Hope comes across as a very bright, hard working girl who has been down on her luck for too long and is afraid to have good things happen to her. She spends all of her time working and studying but during the story you never seen her actively looking for her sibling; just talking about it. Zach throws himself into his work and only has relationships that fit his needs at the moment. Even his friend thinks he can't go a day without making someone cry. Hope says, “"An affair involves body parts. A romance is of the mind and heart."” I felt like Hope was having a romance and Zach was only after an affair.The romance they develop does showcase the intense chemistry they have together though. There is a realistic feeling on Hope's end of emotions that are new to her but I did feel like Zach was a little too demanding. The steady stream of thoughts about how to bed Hope made me feel like he was too cold and calculating. He is so sure that once he has Hope that she will forgive him for deceiving her and it never really occurs to him that she wouldn't. It took me a long time to warm up to him. Their first time together and Hope's first time ever feels a little fast after the circumstances that bring her to his mansion but at the same time happen in a very Zach-like way; he sees an opportunity and takes it. He does wait until she has recovered and is no longer in shock though. You wonder when the big reveal of Zach's identity is going to happen and whether her will have a chance to tell her himself or someone else will. The hardest part of the book came at the very end. Hope was broadsided by an embezzlement scam that the rest of us could see coming. Her arrest and abduction by the bad guy who was scammed was out of left field. It was nice to see all of Hope's clients rally to save her but it was a little off that Zach would choose to take them to save her instead of going alone or making a phone call to get it done (he makes a lot of phone calls to get things done though out the book).Their reunion was sweet and orchestrated by the wonderful secondary characters of the Givens family. Zach pulled out a wonderful surprise for Hope that showed how far he had come. I adore Zach's fathers advice:“"Crawl, boy." "Women like to see a man crawl."”Ultimately "Just the Way You Are" was a good read and a intriguing beginning to the Prescott family mystery. It makes me want to read the rest of the series to find out what happened to the parents and see all the siblings reunited. It is a good read for readers who enjoy romance with a little mystery and happy endings.