Losing the plantation as well as her family and worldly goods left Amelia Carson little reason to remain in Georgia with the deluge of carpetbaggers and scalawags. Plucking her courage Amelia accepted Dallas Leigh’s contract for a mail order bride and looked toward Texas for a new life with him. But a riding accident forced Dallas to send his younger brother Houston in his stead to meet Amelia.
Houston saw a careworn Amelia across the platform and thought how lucky his overbearing older brother was. Dallas didn’t carry visual reminders of the war and had a pretty wife in the godforsaken hindmost part of Texas. Gruff to the point of rudeness was all Houston could manage as he tamped his attraction to Amelia and annoyance at Dallas for not properly preparing her for the harsh life ahead.
During a time when getting to know someone meant spending time together or sending letters to stay in touch the healing journey to the ranch provided intimacy with shared discoveries, protecting and relying on each other as Amelia saw the tortured man beyond the physical scars Houston carried and wanted to share his dreams and his life as they realized their mutual attraction had become love.
***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Sourcebooks Casablanca through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***
When Houston Legend’s bride was killed at the altar before their vows, he wallowed in agony. As painful rumors and truths came to light, he wallowed in anger moving to adrift as his heart hardened. Unfortunate circumstances left Lara Boone, a damaged mother to a small daughter with no husband and no desire for a man in her life, wallowing in her own anguish.
Over late night cards and too many drinks, Stoker Legend loses half the family holdings to new neighbor Till Boone. The only negotiation Till will entertain is how soon Stoker can convince his son to marry Till’s daughter. An angry Houston’s obliged to do anything to secure his family’s legacy, even if it means marrying a woman he’s never met and claim her babe as his own.
Standing in front of a preacher with a tad of resentment for their fathers neither bride nor groom wanted to celebrate their somber, funeral-like wedding. Afterward, Houston realized the depth of Lara’s personal nightmare and vowed no force on earth would keep him from avenging his new bride or claiming his new daughter as he and Stoker greeted Lara as the new Legend matriarch.
Yuma, the well written villain of the piece was a threat on the page or looming in the distance. The remaining personable and distinct secondary characters supported the story and other characters well. Houston was quite the standout as the swoon-worthy hero women wanted and men wanted to be. Lara was no slouch displaying the type of clarity, grit and steel spine that built a nation.
The broken, damaged leads managed to fall in love as they traversed adventure, danger, deceit, heartbreak, shame and a madman’s revenge to find their way out of the dark to joyful new dreams and a new future as a family. This new to me author pandered to my innate penchant for stoic, protective heroes and weakness for cowboys. It’s a great rainy day read but a tad too intense for the beach.
***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Montlake Romance through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***
Jim Lawson left Paradise to become an Army Ranger. He left a tearful Hallie in his wake before coming back to be the deputy sheriff. Henry Cavanaugh tried to force broken-hearted Hallie to stay but couldn’t. Now Hallie inherits her wickedly vindictive father’s wealth, but only if she lives in his home and stays out of Jim’s bed. Henry knew love for Jim could bring Hallie back but is Jim worth millions to her?
There could have been a helping hand in Henry’s death and somebody’s not quite as calm as they appear or maybe they’re not happy to see the prodigal daughter return. With Paradise being a small town and all, it doesn’t take long for the conditions of Hallie’s inheritance to become public and less time than that for townsfolk to become interested in the outcome as they sneak peeks at the couple.
Luckily, Hallie’s plans are to collect her money and leave, not settle down in Paradise. But seeing each other again reminded Jim and Hallie the feeling between them was anything but dead. Five years bring changes and in Jim’s case its family. He’s now a widower and a father. But for this reader’s taste the circumstances around Henri’s death and the star couple were a bit frustrating.
There are few things that can always be counted on but some sure things are in this series. One is the story will be well written and the characters have full lives. Another is the flawed hero is definitely older and wiser than twenty-something. He’s learned something from his mistakes and can admit he’s been a jerk. Also, there will be so many suspects they kill the suspense until you just want it to be over.
Even though she was young, Margot Radcliffe fantasized about and lusted after sexy Travis Maher, the family’s horse whisperer until he let her know they weren’t going to happen. When her father refused her help on the ranch again, home was suddenly extremely unattractive. Making her own plans, tearful Margot dusted off her feelings and went to New York to find fame and fortune as a model.
Eight years later, tragedy touches the Radcliffe family. Their father and his wife are killed, leaving Margot and her sisters, Jordan a mother and wife with a marriage less stable than she thinks and stepsister, Jade, a surly teen. It’s up to Margot to find a way to care for Jade and save the ancestral home. Not to mention her own career.
Margot’s shocked to find she also has to find a way to make amends with Travis since no one knew exactly why her father fired him just before he died. Closed mouthed about the details of his leaving Rosewood, Travis grudgingly returns. Margot and Travis dance around their feelings as she hides the family’s financial issues, parent Jade and tend her career and Travis tries to hide his feelings for Margot.
Pride, predictability and mixed messages had the leads hard pressed to stay out of their own way as the fashion industry and horse husbandry shared the spotlight. However, this fairly strong, medium-paced, heart-felt read with flawed characters had a bit of depth and would be a perfect beach or rainy day read.
Awkward and low on self-esteem, Professor Zoe Santangelo moved from south California to Idaho as a stepping stone to the Ivy League and tenure to make her father proud. During the first snowstorm of the season, Zoe skids into a ditch and is rescued by charming, funny, confident, sexy, hometown hero and successful rancher Cal. He’s been alone since his wife chose his teammate when Cal was injured.
Settling into a different kind of life than she’s used to, Zoe works toward her goal but doesn’t share with Cal who sees a different future for them. When Zoe notices a change in one of her more dedicated student’s grades, Amy confesses she’s being stalked though no one believes her. The serial stalker with rape in mind has no problem switching targets when Zoe ruins the game planned for Amy.
While this reader was charmed by Cal and liked Zoe, the romance disappointed. (Unbelievable role model) Zoe’s esteem and daddy issues were evident and stagnant. Amy portrayed terror well and the stalker kept you guessing at their identity until the unmasking. For my taste the surface simplicity overlaying a seedy underbelly didn’t read as planned and the multiple POV’s didn’t help the flow.
When the unmated women were abducted from their alpha couple, Joe and Quinn’s mating celebration, Wolf Creek ranch hand Cactus Mackey was one of men determined to rescue them. Following a trail into Mexico Cactus finds he hasn’t caught the rogues kidnapping random unmated females, he’s caught a group rounding up gifted unmated female lycans.
Among the women just saved from rape, Cactus is locked onto his mate, Sara. She and her sister were bartered to the Hellfire pack when their father discovered gifts he didn’t know they had. In itself, the story was extremely erotic and the ongoing thread following the kidnapping found a bit of resolution but deja vu was a huge issue for this reader during the outing. Accounting for some overlap is the read runs parallel to Rayne Poteet and Ringo Ramone’s story. (P3pp3rp0t’s Review of Ringo’s Ride)
Each night Jack Malloy had debilitating and terrifying nightmares featuring his sister Nicky’s best friend, Rebecca Connor, no matter what since Nicky came home. He hoped helping his brother in law, Tyler, finish his and Nicky’s house additions quickly would take care of that problem. Meanwhile, Tyler had requested Rebecca visit Nicky and help with the baby and house decorations. She’d arrived.
Nicky asks Becky to help find out what’s bothering Jack. Becky reluctantly agrees because Jack rushes away whenever she comes near. Trouble in the family has Nicky and Tyler rushing to her parent’s home, leaving Jack and Becky at their small ranch with a teen-aged hand. Nature and the boy eliminate the awkwardness when Jack and Becky take turns needing nursing and the other takes on the duty.
The great familiar characters worked well for my taste but the too light, too convenient, too sweet storyline wrapped around an erotic tale wasn’t necessarily a favorite. While it flowed smoothly at a nice pace it was ultimately a read I liked but didn’t love.
Amalie Chauvenet was more terrified for her life and her father’s than ever and couldn’t just wait as the battle raged outside. Things seemed hopeless for the French with the deadly, legendary McKinnon Rangers militia against them and the British forces outnumbered their own. Helping at the hospital provided distraction until her father’s aide’s solemn face spoke o her as his body was brought in.
Exiled from Scotland and forced to serve the British in the French-Indian war, level headed, middle brother, Morgan McKinnon has inherited command of the Rangers. French spirits are raised with the heavy British losses during the battle and Morgan wounded and captured. They would be able to try him as a traitor before handing him over to their allies for more punishment and death.
It fell to Amalie to assist in Morgan’s care and she did it with a heavy heart knowing the fate awaiting him coupled with her grief. Amalie’s dutiful feelings graduated to tender and then to loving the more she looked at Morgan as man instead of an enigma. As he heals, Morgan sees Amalie as a woman he could want forever. Meanwhile Morgan’s family and his men believe him lost to them forever.
Amalie’s soft with a steel spine as expected from every word in the read. Morgan’s definitely the stuff dreams are made of, the epitome of the sexy, indestructible and steadfast hero against a backdrop of war is perfect for his story. Bourlamaque and Rillieux were wonderful characters as they made their views about the couple known.
A comparison to Surrender would be unfair. Fans of this engaging trilogy get a more or less even view of the conflict as the reads play to the very strong characters strengths and growth arcs as grudging respect is exchanged. The outing is solidly in this reader’s indescribably good bin.
Three years ago Noah Calhoun left the bosom of his loving family for a new start while he learned to cope with his guilt over almost killing his father. With no coins to disturb the lint in his pockets, his father’s legendary bounty hunter reputation, a wish he’d had a helpful sheriff growing up and thinking he might find a way to belong here, Noah takes on the job as Chancetown’s sheriff.
In the ten years proud, feisty Rosalyn Benedict’s lived on Chancetown’s streets she learned accepting help from the women in town made her feel bad about herself and even if the handsome new sheriff made her girl parts flutter she wouldn’t be put in that position again. She’s not fluttering alone. Noah thinks he’s found his first lawbreaker and sees a violet eyed waif that tears right into his heart.
After talking with his new friend, the saloon owner, Noah decided Rosalyn Benedict’s his personal mission. Noah’s warned to stay away from an ongoing rancher’s battle. Running into Rosalyn again, Noah puts his plan in motion. Although Rosalyn distrusts men she slowly trusts Noah as he brings welcome changes to her life.
Noah quickly decides things aren’t what they seem as the rancher’s feud finds its way to his office and Rosalyn becomes a bone of contention. Some citizens believe Noah to be their personal henchman and defending Rosalyn puts Noah in a precarious position. Chancetown’s greedier, more corrupt and more prejudiced than Noah thought.
This nicely paced easy to read outing had charismatic leads in Noah and Rosalyn. Readers following the series have seen Noah’s transformation to a grown, sexy, handsome and desirable lawman from his rough beginning in [book:The Bounty|67816]. Being down on her luck gave Rosalyn a jump off point and let the reader know she was not a hand-wringing damsel in distress. Love’s inevitable as the two misfits bump against their attraction while they protect themselves and each other from the rabid townsfolk.
Sheltered, quiet Rayne Poteet hoped Ringo Ramone would hurry and be done with his wild oats phase and claim her But being the son of a traitor, Ringo didn’t think he deserved a mate but if he did, Rayne would be a nice one to have. This outing begins where Lone Star Lycan ends, with the unmated females kidnapped by rogues and Ringo and Rayne realizing they were mates.
Ringo couldn’t be stopped from giving chase. Or from catching, as he left the distraught fathers in the dust when he rode hard to collect his mate and the others. His wolf was on him to claim his mate but his mind was telling him to leave her alone and not claim her. Rayne cannot be convinced they are mates and believes Ringo will come for her.
This short is mostly erotica and if that is not your cuppa, this is not your read. Also this series of shorts does have recurring characters they can be read as stand alones.