Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Edelweiss
A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tara Jean Sweet knows that opportunity will never knock; she’ll have to seize it. Elderly Texas rancher Lyle Baker has a dying request: He will give Tara Jean a stake in his leather business in exchange for a little family subterfuge. All Tara Jean has to do is play the part of a gold-digging fiancée to lure Lyle’s estranged children home. The mission is soon accomplished.
Now Lyle’s gone—and his ridiculously handsome son, Luc, an ice hockey superstar sidelined by injuries, is the new owner of Crooked Creek ranch. He’s also Tara Jean’s boss. But being so close to sinfully sweet Tara Jean does crazy things to Luc’s priorities, like make him want to pry her deepest secrets from those irresistible lips. But when Tara Jean’s past demands a dirty showdown, will Luc stay and fight?
Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Edelweiss
Tori Baker, the penniless widow of a disgraced financier, is ready to stand up, be counted, and make a new life for herself and her beloved son in Texas. She’s taking over Crooked Creek ranch, her birthright, and turning it into something special. All that stands in her way is Eli Turnbull, a rugged, too-handsome cowboy who wants the land just as badly.
If Tori wants a fight, Eli will give her one. He’s devoted his life to Crooked Creek, and he’s not about to let some pampered city girl—even one as brave and beautiful as Tori—turn it into some silly spa. But Tori’s and Eli’s burning anger and frustration only fuel heat of another kind: uncontrollable passion. And soon they each realize that the person standing in their way is the one they can never do without.
First off…the covers? LOVE THEM! They are extremely well done covers that made me excited to crack them open and start the journey with these characters!
The first book, Can’t Buy Me Love, lays the groundwork for this estranged family and how they come back to the family ranch after years of being gone. A single picture of their rich, ailing father with what looks like a gold digging hooker does exactly what it was meant to do…bring Luc and his half sister Tori home.
Luc could really care less who is having sex with his bastard of a father, but Tori’s needs for money after the suicide of her disgraced husband is enough to get him to try and stop the impending marriage of his father to Tara Jean. Luc may hate his abusive father but his soft spot for his sister shows as his only weak spot. Otherwise he is just incredibly hard. That made it hard for me to like him. I wanted to but he acted like his father in more ways then he thought he did. I never really felt like his relationship with Tara Jean evolved. I liked her growth from her sketchy past to a self assured career woman but together I just didn’t get them. The secondary story arc of her trying to escape a criminal past was much more engaging then Luc and Tara were together.
The second book, Can’t Hurry Love, focuses on Tori and her attempt to run the ranch after her brother leaves. Never having worked a day in her life, Tori is naturally overwhelmed but her ramrod straight back doesn’t allow her to show much weakness to people. She may have no idea what she’s doing but faking it at first will have to do until she can understand the limitations she may face. I adored her little boy and thought that he brought a much needed softness out of ranch hand Eli. Eli wants to get some old family land back from Tori but what he really finds is a excuse to not have to deal with his own overbearing and manipulative family. As a person Eli was good at heart but I didn’t find him overly eye catching. His personality was a bit bland and again as a couple I just didn’t think it worked. I appreciated Tori’s growth into a woman who calls her own shots though.
These books left me wanting better men. I enjoyed the women and their roles but both men left me wanting more. Neither of them stood out to me as anything special and because of that I just didn’t get the connections with the heroines. It was probably just a personality thing for me and I’m sure others will find these books to be well wrote. I did enjoy the rest of the family dynamics and thought that in the end, both books were plotted well and paced good. I do not know if based on these I would pick up any more in the series, but I’d be willing to read this author again should she start something new.
I did read both in full and I am giving Can’t Buy Me Love & Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe 3 stars each!