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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stepping Out of Line by Linda Carroll-Bradd



Stepping Out of Line by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (99 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Two years ago Roxie Starr left behind her life as a Vegas showgirl and came home to Wayback, Texas to open a styling salon. She claims she’s there to help with her younger sister, but the truth is age was catching up to her body and the time had come to step out of the chorus line.

Fighting against a nagging injury, Dev Laredo is determined to finish one last rodeo. He won’t return to his Oklahoma ranch until he’s won enough to cover his brother’s college tuition. The sight of a sassy redhead sparks his interest, but her tender ministrations to his injury touch his lonely heart. Can two bruised souls put aside their differences and give love a fighting chance?

From the first moment when Dev Laredo walks into the Blue Bug Saloon, we know he’s sunk. He sees Roxie dancing and can’t take his eyes off her. And Roxie? She hasn’t felt heat like this in years.

Fact is, though, they both have pasts that have left them bruised and cautious. And Roxie’s family reminds her of the untrustworthiness of rodeo men every waking moment.

Still, Dev’s a nice guy. He’s funny, helpful and even her dog likes him. And it’s true that she needs help with repairs around her salon. Dev needs a place to stay, and he’s handy with a hammer, so she’s going to keep him around.

I’ll tell you what, you’ll need to keep a fan handy when you read this story. Yes, Dev and Roxie are friends, but the heat from their need for each other is steamy enough to warm up the entire house in the middle of winter. Wowza! But who could blame them? Dev is fun, sweet, handy and built while Roxie is goofy, caring and sexy as hell. They’re made for each other. Too bad they aren’t so sure about that.

Really, there wasn’t tons of conflict in this story. From the start, you know they’re going to fall for each other and although Roxie’s been hurt in the past by a man who loved the rodeo more than he loved anyone, she’s open to giving Dev a chance. She just needs to get her family to butt out.

And Dev? He’s only riding in one last rodeo to earn the money he needs for his little brother’s tuition – though Roxie doesn’t know that.

Mostly it’s everyone else who thinks they shouldn’t be together. From jealous law officers and nutty mothers, our hero and heroine have to fight their way through a wall of Wayback residents in order to find each other.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved this story. The writing was excellent, the descriptions clear, the characters individual, quirky and oh-so much fun. Even the coffee mugs that Roxie has scattered in her house were special. This is a story I plan to revisit on a regular basis because I really enjoyed nearly everything about it. I’m also looking for more books by the author, because her talent wowed me from the first paragraph, and I don’t think I’m easily wowed.

Like yourself a steaming hot cowboy, and a fun story? Grab a copy of Stepping Out of Line. You won’t go wrong!

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