Honorable Rancher by Barbara White Daille
Publisher: Harlequin American Romance
Length: Full Length (219 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint
The hero of Flagman's Folly has been gone more than a year. But he still stands between Ben Sawyer and what he desires most—Dana Wright, the love of Ben's life. When soldier Paul Wright left for the last time, he made his best friend promise to look after his wife and kids. Ben—good, steady Ben—is honoring that promise. And it's burning him up inside.
Because Dana is shutting Ben out. She wants him—so much—but she can't afford to give in. If she does, she'll spill her secret, and the betrayal will hurt everyone she cares about—her children, who loved their daddy; her town, which loves its hero; and Ben, who loved his friend. She'll do anything to protect her secret—even give up her second chance at happiness.
Lusting after your best friend’s wife is not acceptable behavior for reliable, good old boy, Ben. He is the one folks have come to depend on when it comes to helping others. But when it comes to Dana, his helpful nature may have an ulterior motive. Yes, she may have married his best friend, but she will always be Ben’s girl.
The plot line of this story is what intrigued me, well, that and the sexy cowboys. Dana is out to prove something to others, but most importantly to herself. With or without Paul, her husband, she can take care of herself. I have always considered myself a strong independent woman so this personality trait really hit home for me. So did the fact that sometimes independence and the need to prove something can hurt us just as much as it helps. This is a life lesson Dana had to learn. Though Dana did not make the lesson any easier on herself, it sure did create an interesting read.
If there is really a man out there like Ben, I sure would like to meet him. Ben just seems a little too perfect for me. I have met some men who are reliable and give to others, but Ben just seems to give, and give, and give while taking nothing for himself. While this is a trait I enjoyed reading about in a man, at some point it made it almost too unbelievable. In the end the same characteristics that made Ben perfect, proved to be his Achilles heel as well. With that said, if you are looking for a sexy cowboy who exhibits everything attractive about a cowboy then you sure have come to the right book. He makes something as simple as household maintenance sexy and exciting.
The romantic development is something that left me a longing for more. The relationship between these two is definitely hot and cold. For example, whenever they begin to heat up too much, cold water is thrown on them to cool it down a bit. While I understood the author's reasoning for this, and it helped explain the individual as well as romantic development, I wish there was just a bit more hot going on without the cooling. More connection that is physical would have been nice. The author however, made small simple gestures truly meaningful. It made me think about how important those small things in a relationship are. For instance, just simple heated looks towards one another or feeling someone’s body heat as you sit next to them made the scenes scorch.
Any time a story makes me reflect on my own personal life, I consider it a winner and Barbara White Daille definitely has a winner with Honorable Rancher.