Love With a Proper Rancher by Judith C. Rochelle (www.triskelionpublishing.com)
I’m not a big cowboy/rancher fan, so please take that into consideration if you read my thoughts on this book. The closest I typically get to horses is a $2 bet. The first word that pops to mind is traditional. This book, along with some steamy physical scenes, could have jumped off the category romance shelf! The length, tone, plot, characters–it screams “traditional category romance”–in my opinion. If that’s your kind of romance, don’t bother going to the store for your cowboys; shop online and buy this book instead. Ms. Rochelle has written a really solid debut, with a promise for bigger and better books in her future! I also got a strong feeling that this book is near and dear to her heart, that she can clearly picture her hero and worked hard on this book. I wasn’t so drawn to the hero, Ryan Cutter, as some of you cowboysluts might be ;o), but I think those who can’t get enough of ranches; tall, dark, and handsome horseback-riding dude types; and damsels in real distress will really like this tale. Paige, the heroine, is very likeable and a well-developed character. She abandons a terrible “arranged” marriage gone bad and flees to a town we’d all die to live in–one in which everyone knows your name, the local diner is the friendliest spot in the world, and good always wins out over evil. No random gang violence here. The plot seemed a little contrived at first, then it grew on me as I relaxed into the book, and secondary characters added richness and interest. The tale gets better as it moves along. If you ever wanted to leave all your troubles behind, pack a bag, and start over in a new town where the man of your dreams will sweep you off your feet, you’ll enjoy Love with a Proper Rancher. The Spanish judge liked it more than I did–she’s watched too many westerns, and wanted to give it a 4.2, but I knocked it down to a 3.9 for being just a tad too traditional for my taste. Nice job, Ms. Rochelle–I look forward to your forthcoming titles! Sure as shootin!