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Monday, May 30, 2011

Creed’s Honor by Linda Lael Miller

Creed’s Honor by Linda Lael Miller
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Conner Creed knows exactly who he is: a hardworking rancher carrying on his uncle's legacy in Lonesome Bend, Colorado. Maybe a small-town cowboy's life isn't his dream, but he owes the man who took him in as a kid. Until the identical twin brother he's been estranged from for years reenters his life.

Conner struggles with identity issues as he gets to know his wilder brother. And then he meets Tricia McCall, a beautiful woman who knows a thing or two about living someone else's dreams. Together, they just might find their own dreams right here in Lonesome Bend….

Connor Creed discards his dream in order to stay at the family ranch while twin Brody joins the rodeo circuit. Resentment plays a huge part in his upbringing, coloring much of who he is and what he does, so meeting Tricia McCall, who runs her deceased father’s RV park part time and lives in Seattle the rest of the year puts her off limits for a romantic relationship. Or does it?

Orphaned at an early age, Connor and his identical twin brother Brody, along with their cousin Stephen (the Stone Creek Creed) are raised by an aunt and uncle. The twins jointly inherit their father’s ranch, but Connor stays and Brody goes off on the rodeo circuit. Connor harbors a deep resentment of Brody for shirking his duty, but also for stealing the girl he’d planned to marry. When Brody returns, intent on settling on his half of the ranch, Connor cannot hide his resentment, and he struggles with identity issues.

Tricia McCall spends part of her time in Seattle, the other part at her late father’s upstairs apartment in the home of her elderly Great-Grandmother Nettie. She’s managing the RV park and dilapidated outdoor drive-in her late father left her but she's hoping to sell so she can return to Seattle and open an art gallery. So far, in two years there hasn’t been a buyer for the property and Tricia is concerned about finances. She has a relationship of sorts with a yuppie type in Seattle but seems uncommitted and wonders if she is more interested in the concept of love that the real thing. When Connor comes on the scene, she finds herself attracted to the solemn rancher. The romance moves slowly and cautiously, mostly because Connor is unwilling to allow a relationship to develop with a woman whose time in Lonesome Bend is temporary.

Tricia’s plans go awry when she inherits a stray dog and a temporary house guest in the form of her pubescent goddaughter, a ten-year-old wise beyond her years. Ms. Miller’s story includes a lot of information about the townspeople, the scene-stealing dog, her delightful great-grandmother and getting ready for an annual rummage sale and chili cook-off. Tricia’s concern for and interaction with Nettie and her goddaughter who comes for a two-week visit while her best friend and husband fly to France to house hunt, shows great insight into the human psyche.

Ms. Miller is wonderful with the small details that draw the reader into the story, and I was hooked from the first page. Readers wanting a good sensual scene won’t be disappointed either. The sex is hot, but appropriate, and the reader will cheer for Connor and Tricia to forget old hangups and give love a chance.

Wonderful writing and great dialogue. This series shows why Miller is at the top of her class in penning the modern Western romance. Highly recommended.