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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Publisher: Harlequin Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (216 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Party organizer Tyler O'Connelli is on the fast track to her dream career. She's so close she can almost taste it. But when she returns to her family and sees her one-night stand, Alex Keller, all done up in his cowboy gear, her self-control is stretched to the breaking point….

They're worlds apart. She's a busy career girl, and Alex is a cowboy. But while getting together might not bode well for anything long-term, it more than makes up for it in sheer hot chemistry! Problem is, this is one wrangler she might want to get tied down—and tied up—to…indefinitely!

What do you do when you come face to face with that one person that “fills up your senses”? Grab you chance at love and never let go!!

Welcome back to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the beautiful Last Chance ranch. Amazing storyteller Vicki Lewis Thompson has answered the pleas of her fans by writing Alex and Tyler’s story. When we last met Alex and Tyler they were literally hooking up after an incredible double wedding in Claimed!.

What was supposed to be a one night stand in the hayloft has left an indelible impression on both Alex and Tyler. The pending blessed event of Morgan and Gabe’s baby has brought Tyler back to the ranch and back into Alex’s thoughts. Little does he realize, she never left his heart.

Will Alex be able to have Tyler back in his arms for a few days and then watch her walk away again to fulfill a lifelong career opportunity or will the infamous Chance luck make a way for them both to have it all and each other?

In the timeless Harlequin fashion, Ms. Thompson weaves a sweetly layered plot that will grab you from page one. Alex and Tyler are wonderful characters and it felt deliciously voyeuristic to watch them try to fight the sexual chemistry that practically crackles between them like butter in a hot skillet. When they do give in, whoa! Ms. Thompson’s writing is vivid and brings the reader right into the scene.

My one complaint is when they find their HEA (and of course they do, this is a Harlequin afterall) the story just ends. ARGH!! Not to worry, dear reader, I have checked out Ms. Thompson’s website and there are at least two more stories coming out in July and then August for the Sons of Chance. Since we were allowed to catch up with the other Chance men and their wives in Should’ve Been A Cowboy I have no doubt we’ll be hearing from Alex and Tyler again as well. There are a couple of really sweet surprises within the pages of their story but you’ll have to read the book to find out what those surprises are.

If a heartwarming love story filled with lots of sexual heat and tension is what you’re in the mood for I’ve got a great recommend that comes with its own soundtrack. Pick up a copy of Should’ve Been A Cowboy and get swept up into the beautiful landscape of the Wyoming countryside and the stories of the men and women who call the Last Chance ranch home.

The Wedding of the Century & other stories by Mary Jo Putney, Kristin James, Charlotte Featherstone

The Wedding of the Century & other stories by Mary Jo Putney, Kristin James, Charlotte Featherstone
Publisher: Harlequin Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (381 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Book Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

NewYork Times bestselling authors Mary Jo Putney and Kristin James join Charlotte Featherstone to bring you three sparkling stories of love found in the most unlikely of places—marriage!

The Wedding of the Century by MARY JO PUTNEY

Stunningly beautiful and extraordinarily wealthy, Sarah Vangelder had always wanted more for herself than to be sold into marriage for the price of a dukedom. But marriage to Justin Aubrey might be the adventure she's always dreamed of….

Jesse's Wife by KRISTIN JAMES

When a late-night walk on her father's ranch inadvertently destroys her reputation, Amy McCallister finds herself married off to Jesse, a sinfully handsome farmhand. But can he convince her to give him her heart, despite their rocky beginning?

Seduced by Starlight by CHARLOTTE FEATHERSTONE

Jase Markham, London's most dashing—and notorious—rake, has loved his brother's fiancĂ©e for as long as he can remember. When his brother casts Blossom aside, Jase is determined to finally make her his—if she's willing to overlook his scandalous reputation!

A railroad heiress betrothed to the Gargoyle, a rancher’s daughter chooses marriage over scandal, and a rake is given a second chance to win the woman he’s loved since childhood.

Romance at its best and passion that pulls you into its depths. Prepare to be swept away on a tide of breath taking first love, heart ache, betrayal, sweet romance, courtship and passion. The talented minds of Mary Jo Putney, Kristin James and Charlotte Featherstone have graced us with a terrific anthology of stories that begin in Regency England, then across the plains of Texas, and finally back to England’s countryside for a triad of stories sure to win your heart and capture your soul.

From Mary Jo Putney we are treated to a story that spans an ocean and back. In The Wedding of the Century, American railroad heiress Sarah “Sunny” Vangelder has been raised to be the perfect wife and hostess. Now all she needed was to find the perfect man to be her husband. Society (and her mother) tells Sunny that a dutiful wife does not display passion towards her husband otherwise he will not respect and treat her as a lady. But what is a lady to do when she realizes that she truly loves the man she agrees to marry? Through Mary Jo Putney’s incredible writing reader’s will run the gambit of emotions Sunny feels right along with her. Her attraction to a handsome and charismatic man that turns out to be a toad is soon replaced with surprising admiration and blossoming love for the quite and considerate man society misnames The Gargoyle.

Kristin James penned a beautiful love story that might never have been. In Jesse’s Wife, Amy McAlister is the daughter of a prosperous rancher and Jesse Tyler is the young ranch hand who saves her from being forced to marry a man after her father’s money. Jesse is so obviously in love with Amy but she is convinced he’s only trying to repay her family for a debt he doesn’t owe. Amy is very booksmart and when she finally realizes Jesse’s true feelings she puts what she knows to good use in seducing her husband. This was a really sweet and heart warming story with just enough detailed heat to have me grabbing for a fan.

The last story is by Charlotte Featherstone. Seduced by Starlight was my first taste of Ms. Featherstone’s writing but it won’t be the last. Her characters and the plot had me from the first page and didn’t let go until the very end. Lady Blossom Torrington is an accomplished young lady of the ton with a talent for painting. When she isn’t painting she dreams of making a love match that equals the example set by her parents. She knows what she wants in a husband and isn’t willing to settle. Thanks to her very supportive parents she won’t ever have to. When her childhood friend and one time crush, Jase Raeburn shows up at a house party her attraction is instant but so is her doubt that he is sincere in his pursuit of her hand. Ms. Featherstone’s writing style is so easy to read and the dialogue is fun to follow.

Wedding of the Century and Other Stories has all the elements of a successful anthology. The writing is vivid, the stories are unique and well developed and the characters have you cheering for their HEA. I enjoyed every moment spent with these talented ladies and wonderful stories they’ve penned. I look forward to seeing what other books they have available. Add this book to your TBR, you won’t regret it.

Beach Lane by Sherryl Woods

Beach Lane by Sherryl Woods
Chesapeake Shores Series
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (368 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

In the close-knit community of Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, Susie O'Brien and Mack Franklin's "not dating" claim befuddles everyone, especially since the two spend every spare minute together. Susie's thrilled when their friendship finally heats up. Then, just when happily-ever-after seems within reach, Mack loses the job he loves and Susie faces a devastating diagnosis.

But O'Briens always unite in a crisis. Even her cousin Jess, Susie's rival for most of their lives, becomes her staunchest supporter—especially when Mack's former lover comes to town. The stakes are higher than ever before, but Susie's definitely up to the challenge…as long as Mack's right there by her side.

Both Susie O’Brien and Mack Franklin are ready to change the “non-dating” status they’ve had for years, but each is afraid of ruining a friendship that is precious. Little do they know how important their special connection to each other will become as they face enormous difficulties together. Of course, the O’Brien clan is right there supporting and ‘meddling’ all the way.

Just when Susie gains enough courage to tell Mack there needs to be a change in attitude about “non-dating”, Mack loses his high-profile sports writer job for a Baltimore newspaper. He already has a ring for her, but now he is reluctant to open up to her about his feelings. Having come from a difficult childhood, his self-esteem suffers a severe blow when he is fired. Paramount in his mind is this: "What can I offer her?"

Susie, even though shy and vulnerable, has a spine of steel determination when she believes in something, but she surprised Mack with her bossy, sassy side that intrigues him. When she finds out from her family Mack lost his job, she is devastated, thinking maybe she is not enough for him in a big crisis, after all “friendship should trump pride”. They had always been able to communicate about everything, now she fears he is drawing away. When he finally comes to her, she gives him two viable ideas on how to use his abilities to good advantage and still make a living doing what he loves.

Mack’s world begins to come right. She grounds him, fascinates him, makes him feel a whole person like he is someone worth loving. When her world is turned upside down, he stands firmly with her every step of the ways as she fights cancer. He vows they will have a long life together and live every day to the fullest. They store up precious moments to treasure. All the O’Briens help make dreams come true for them.

In Beach Lane, Sherryl Woods weaves another Chesapeake Shores tapestry of a tale that grips the heart, stirs the emotions, and showcases an exquisite love that buoys up Susie and Mack as they work through business and health issues. Woven into the tapestry are the many O’Briens that never flag in their support. Of course, there is a serpent in the tapestry in the form of a beautiful, bright, talented woman that wants Mack regardless of his commitment to Susie. The conflicts and hurts she causes make the reader wish for a stick to driver her away.

Beach Lane is bubbling over with life and love. Humor threads its way through the tapestry to lighten the dark days of battling cancer. Also, new found connects with various O’Brian family members make interesting subtle patterns in the background. A strong, significant thread is Grandma Nell who advises Susie and Mack to not let the past shadow the future. She is that connecting thread that all the O’Briens go to in time of trouble. Each of them feels sure Grandma Nell has a direct connection with God.

Beach Lane is another winner in the Chesapeake Shores series. Sherryl Woods’ “oh-so-alive characters make this story a joy to read. It is rich and bright and memorable.

Inside by Brenda Novak

Inside by Brenda Novak
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (440 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can't get to Virgil they'll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that's taking control of the state's most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister's protection.

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she's far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose.

The stakes are high. To protect his family, Virgil makes a deal with the cops to help bring down a dangerous gang. He has everything to lose, and nothing to gain. He knows very well the dangers of this operation, and that he could very well not come out of this alive. He's got one shot to get this right.

Enter Peyton Adams, a stubborn, strong willed woman -- and the chief deputy Warden. Her first reaction to Virgil wasn't a good one, though she can't figure out her attraction to the ex-con, either. Though innocent, the man spent the adult part of his life behind bars and in a gang. It wasn't right to want to be with him. And he knew exactly how to push her buttons, but at the same time, she managed to push his buttons as well. Now Peyton has to keep this man safe and come out of this alive. He has a sister and two kids who need him, and in time, Peyton realizes she needs Virgil, too. The sexual tension sizzles between the two and I couldn't wait to see how Peyton and Virgil were going to react to the feelings they had for one another. How would they make this work, if they choose to accept what their heart felt?

Virgil doesn't want to have feelings for Peyton. He's got a job to do. He has Laurel and the kids to think about. Trying to get out of a gang isn't going to be easy, especially when he has information that the dangerous men don't want the police knowing. Turning his back on people that he's been around for years, despite the fact that they aren't all good people, will put many lives in jeopardy. Who can he trust? Who's on the inside?

Full of intense emotion, suspense and action, Brenda Novak delivers another suspense novel that shines. The characters in her stories are always full of surprises and you can't help but love the good guys and hate the bad guys. With plenty of twists in the plot, I was fully engaged in this book. There are even a few surprises that I never expected.

If you like a romance with plenty of suspense, heroes that would do anything to protect those they love, a strong-minded heroine that can fend for herself, and a happily ever after despite the odds stacked agaist them, then get on the inside with this story.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trace of Fever by Lori Foster

Trace of Fever by Lori Foster
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (393 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he'll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man's dirty smuggling operation. It's a perfect scheme—until Coburn's long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn't who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn's downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent….

Wow! Talk about anxiety over a heroine’s situation. Priscilla Patterson, with her need for revenge, gets herself into a perilous spot that could devastate of not kill her as well as wreck a secret operation working to shut down a lucrative human trafficking organization.

Reared with fear, caution, and hiding by a single mother who always looked over her shoulder, Priscilla (Priss) seeks revenge on the man who caused her mother to live a life controlled by terror. As the owner of a porn shop, Priss is no innocent in a vicarious sense, but in real life she’s never danced, kissed, or anything more. Yet, she tackles one of the most depraved human traffickers in the sordid business. With her playacting, humor, and sheer determination, she rushes in “where angels fear to tread”. By doing so, she makes life a living nightmare for Trace Miller.

Trace, an undercover agent, is both furious and fascinated with such an innocent claiming to be Murray Coburn’s daughter. Trace, a member of an elite secret ops team, works as a bodyguard for Murray in an effort to get the information needed to bring the human trafficking organization down. He does what he can to keep Priss out of the clutches of the conscienceless, cruel, paranoid Murray, while still maintaining his cover. He struggles to hold on to his persona as an undercover operative as Priss reaches in and claims his heart with neither of them truly aware of what is happening. What fun for the reader to be part of such giving, caring, and exciting love as the story unfolds.

Trace works on the very edge of the dark side in his determination to eliminate as many human traffickers as possible even if it means he has to use Murray’s companion Helene Schumer (aka Hell). The idea is repugnant to him, but he will do what it takes to stop the evil.

Lori Foster, like Trace, works near the edge of the dark side to create Murray and Helen. Their crudity, craziness, and cruelty make them devoid of any redeeming qualities and set the reader’s heart pounding just to think about Priss falling into their clutches. Her close calls are scary.

Ms. Foster also creates some adorable characters like Matt and the cat Liger (love these two). With Molly, Alani, and Alice, the reader sees some of the lasting effects of those caught the buying and selling of human beings. However, the breathtakingly sexy alpha males like Trace, Dare, Jackson, and Chris, that Ms. Foster creates are super special and make the reader believe that the “good guys” will do whatever it takes to make the world a safer, better place.

Trace of Fever, full of chills and thrills, kept me turning pages with its fast action, emotionally-charged scenes, and the ‘so-right’ love that blooms pure and true amid some really horrifying happenings. Lori Foster, a master at keeping tension high, action hot, and love scenes sensual and satisfying, serves up good entertainment and a happy-ever-after that sparkles.

Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne

Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (376 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Claire Bradford needed a wake-up call.

What she didn’t need was a tragic car accident. As a single mom and the owner of a successful bead shop, Claire leads a predictable life in Hope’s Crossing, Colorado. So what if she has no time for romance? At least, that’s what she tells herself, especially when her best friend’s sexy younger brother comes back to town as the new chief of police.

But when the accident forces Claire to slow down and lean on others—especially Riley McKnight—she realizes, for the first time, that things need to change. And not just in her own life. The accident—and the string of robberies committed by teenagers that led up to it—is a wake-up call to the people of Hope’s Crossing. The sense of community and togetherness had been lost during those tough years. But with a mysterious “Angel of Hope” working to inspire the town, Riley and Claire will find themselves opening up to love and other possibilities by the end of an extraordinary summer…

RaeAnne Thayne is one of my favorite Harlequin authors, so I snapped up this book the moment it was offered. With her usual evocative, descriptive writing she’s created a community of people who are real and endearing.

Claire is learning a new way of life since her husband (and high school sweetheart), Jeff left her for his younger secretary, Holly. They’re starting a new life (she’s pregnant), and he and Claire have two children from their marriage, so Claire is staying in town for their benefit and has learned to be civil. Truthfully, the new wife is a wonderful change from the nasty ones we typically see. She’s sweet, if a bit dingy, and seems to be genuinely nice (husband stealing aside).

The story revolves around a tragic accident, during which Claire is badly injured. Her best friend’s baby (“I prefer younger”) brother, Riley feels responsible. Riley’s also had a long-time crush on Claire, and now that she’s not married, it’s trying to rear its head. Riley isn’t one for commitment, though, and doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Claire, no matter how much his body heats up when she’s near.

Claire is clueless about Riley at first, but starts feeling a little warm herself. Once she gets over being a little weirded out by lusting after a younger man that she’s know since he was practically in diapers, she’s all for trying out a relationship.

The strength in this story is its characters. Ms. Thayne has truly outdone herself with the group of people she created. They’re all unique and real and they’re what kept me reading when the plot hit some bumps. When I got frustrated at the back-and-forth between Riley and Claire (boy oh boy, did I want to smack Riley upside the head), I’d remember how much I enjoyed the community and kept on turning pages. When the story dragged a bit, I’d think about Claire’s customers or her dog, Chester or even her annoying mother and keep on reading.

If you enjoy a character-drive story with a warmth that’s not just romantic, then I recommend Blackberry Summer. It’s romantic, to be sure, and has plenty of heat ... but it’s far, far more than that. I suspect there will be more books set in this town with these people. I hope so. They’re a bit like family to me now.

Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond

Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (332 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call….

Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he's so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there's a doctor among the newcomers—sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.

And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner….

Sweetness, Georgia is looking for single women to come to town.

Sweetness, Georgia was the town the Armstrong brothers grew up in. Then in a devastating tornado, the town was wiped out and destroyed. But the brothers aren't giving up on their town that easily. The idea of putting an ad out seeking women is unique, for sure. Then they get their wish. A group of women, looking for a fresh start, drive down to Sweetness. It's going to take a lot to get this place off the ground and rebuilt, and these ladies have plenty of requests!

What a first impression Porter Armstrong makes on the women, especially the prospective doctor, Nikki Salinger. When it comes to Nikki, Porter keeps getting off on the wrong foot with her, and Nikki wonders why she came to Sweetness in the first place. Yes, she needed a new start, but is Sweetness really where she wants to make it?

Nikki would leave, but of course, she can't. She realizes this when she can't get her van started! That darn Porter is driving her crazy every which way he can. In this charming and witty story about three brothers who want to bring their hometown back to life, Ms. Bond creates characters that make us laugh, cry, smile, and frustrated!

While Porter's intentions are good, sometimes he comes across as a stubborn brat, and maybe that's what makes him more memorable. Further into the book, the reader catches glimpses of a softer, kinder Porter. Nikki starts learning about Porter the nice guy as well, and she starts feeling things she never imagined she would. Nikki has a choice to make. She could leave, and go back to the life she once knew, face her demons and be done with it, or she could stay. She could help rebuild this town that Porter and his brothers love so much. Who knows, she may even be surprised at the possibilities in her future, not just as the town doctor, but with Porter as well.

As always, I enjoy the heartfelt, witty stories Stephanie Bond writes. Baby, Drive South is another winner that will be added to the keepers shelf, to be picked up and read when needing a good comforting story. I look forward to coming back to Sweetness in the next book, to see how the rebuilding progresses.

If you enjoy lighthearted contemporary romances, a hero who is misunderstood but lovable at the same time, and a heroine who finds happiness and a fresh start in a place you'd never imagine, then you'll enjoy this book.

Devil Without a Cause by Terri Garey

Devil Without a Cause by Terri Garey
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat Level: hot
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Verbena

Idle hands are the devil's workshop

Temptation and seduction are the tricks of the Devil's trade, and when offered the chance to regain his wings by playing guardian angel, he's hell-bent on doing things his way . . .

Faith McFarland is in need of a miracle. So desperate to save her sick child, she's willing to make a deal with the Devil: steal a ring worn by Finn Payne, the bad-boy rockstar who long ago sold his soul for rock 'n roll. Temptation and seduction become necessary evils, yet Faith's salvation means Finn's damnation . . . because the ring is all that stands between him and Hell. Falling in love was never part of the bargain, but now that they've tasted heaven in each other's arms, can they convince the Devil to give up his due?

The cost of a child’s life: one soul. Seems a small price for any parent to pay. But what about a total stranger?

Faith just wants what most parents do: a happy, healthy child with a lifetime of promises ahead. But fate has dealt her son a cruel hand. When the Devil himself offers her the opportunity to give her child a second chance, she finds the offer too tempting to pass up. Little does she know she’ll not only be giving up her soul, but lose her heart as well. Satan is the master of deceit; his promises are laced with loopholes and lies. She soon finds out that the deal for saving her son is more complicated than what she bargained for.

Since his own pact with the Devil many years before, Flinn has lived the life he wanted: rock-n-roll stardom, money, and all the chicks he could want. Or so he thought. Twenty years of fame have taken their toll, and despite the never ending hordes of faithful fans, he’s tired and lonely. Despite his growing melancholy and his waning pact with Satan, he’s not ready to give up his life. Or is he?

Devil Without a Cause started out with a catchy bang, and it just kept getting better from there. The author does a wonderful job of developing all of the key players; quite a feat when there’s more than just the typical two. Secondary characters added enough depth to the plot to keep you interested and turning the pages. While the story doesn’t end for all the characters quite the way a reader might expect, it’ll certainly leave you with a pleased smile at the end. Faith’s plight with her son will likely bring some tears to your eyes, but never fear; Ms. Garey doesn’t disappoint with her witty and devilishly delightful tale. On a personal note, I’d love to read more about Sammy the Deceiver and sure hope there’s a sequel in the works.

For a funny, heart-wrenching, memorable story that will make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you with warm fuzzies tingling your insides, grab a copy of Devil Without a Cause by Terri Garey, it’s definitely a worth-while read.

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.