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Friday, August 20, 2010

Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 books
Review by: Xeranthemum

Following a dream brought Josie Keller to Shoshone, Wyoming. Following her heart brought her plenty of great sex with good-time cowboy Jack Chance! She was head over heels for him… until he left her.

Stay with one woman? Not a chance! Then why does Jack miss Josie like crazy? Had their relationship been more than just incredible sex?

Little do Josie and Jack know that a plan's afoot to get them back in the saddle…together. And once there, it's not long before they're burning up the bedsheets again!

But the past is never far away. Before it catches up with them, Jack has to decide if he's going to stake his claim on Josie, or lose her forever….

Take a rough and tumble cowboy with a chip on his shoulder and a sassy bar owner who won’t let him take the easy way out and Claimed! ends up being wild ride.

This is the last book about the Chance brothers and it can completely stand on its own. I will say that reading Ambushed!, the book prior, would actually help give a reader a bit more background regarding the relationship bumps between Josie and Jack but it’s not necessary. Ms. Thompson does a decent buildup of the basics without it being an info dump.

Josie is the one that got away. Well, more like she was let go. Her position is an emotional one because she never stopped loving Jack. The author has written her character as a good hearted soul, with plenty of pluck, determination, heart and a zest for life. But she’s guarding her heart too although, her version of guarding it and mine are a bit different. I’d never let mine out but Josie is ever the optimist. Her love is so strong yet vulnerable; she’s willing to give Mr. Jack Chance more chances than her brother Alex would give him. But the readers know more about Jack than even Josie knows and with that information a reader totally believes that Josie really is the gal for the hero. She simply has to stop horsing around.

Jack is the one with major internal angst that just won’t loosen its grip. He’s tormented with guilt, fear of failure and abandonment. That’s a fearsome burden to lay on a guy along with running a ranch, helping with a wedding, facing his real emotions and having a scheming matchmaking bunch of family members doing their best to get him to loosen up. Poor Jack is getting it from all sides and the only time he’s happy is when he’s with Josie. But he’s messed up the best thing that’s ever happened to him. To top it off, he’s too prideful and so like a man that he won’t grovel, no matter that he knows he should. Good thing his family loves him anyway. Heck, even I ended up liking Jack. I wasn’t too fond of him in Ambushed! but once I got to know him, I understood why he was the way he was and I really rooted and cheered for him in this book. The best thing was his sense of fun. Loved the spoon trick. I wonder if the author has actually seen that done. Because I bet it’d be a hoot to see it in person.

Another well done aspect of the story is when Jack and Josie get together in the physical sense. I bet learning how to ride is not this fun for everybody. Then again, the author’s description of Josie trotting for the first time had me in stitches. That was way funny and the visual was so clear, it ended up being one of the funniest scenes in the whole book. I read it over quite a few times and every time I did, I laughed. I snickered over the horse trick. They always say what goes around, comes around and Jack sure found out that it’s true. Oh, and the red light, green light issue. That was pretty clever.

That’s another thing about Ms. Thompson. Her books in this series have a great sense of community and it comes from giving personality to every secondary character. I even liked the name calling between the siblings. And what about Emmett? The author simply has to tie up this thread. Speaking of which, I think I just swallowed a hook for the next book. Remember I mentioned Josie’s brother Alex? Well, another secondary character is introduced in this book which means more from this talented author is on the way and that means I get another chance to see how Ms. Thompson is going to get it through Emmett’s thick head that happiness can be his too.

Claimed! embodies the best of what romance readers look for; a tortured hero you want to heal, a heroine who doesn’t’ take guff from her man but melts in his arms and a happy ever after that’s as sweet as can be. It’s a delightful read with plenty of laughs, heartfelt sighs and a few tender moments that round out this well told tale. I can’t wait to find more from this talented author.