Series: The Outback Bachelor Ball #1
Also in this series: Woo Me, Wait for Me, Win Me, Woo Me, Wait for Me
Publication Date: 10/20/15
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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She’ll do anything to get him to see her as a woman...
Feisty, fearless Ellie McFarlane has tried forever to get cattle station manager, Rick Drummond, to notice she’s not another cowhand. So when her gal pals talk her into glamming up for an Outback Bachelor and Spinster ball she’s eager to prove she’s all woman, all the time, and leave her boneheaded cowboy eating dust.
Sexy wrangler Rick is crazy about Ellie just as she is but her father – his boss – told him long ago that his daughter was off limits. Even though she’s all grown up now, Rick still feels it’s his job is to protect her, not seduce her. Plus, he’s finally got an opportunity to buy back his family farm, which means moving far away.
Ellie’s transformation from Cinder-Ellie to belle of the ball has Rick’s jaw dropping – and all the other cowboys falling at her feet. Ellie tries to revel in her new-found sex-pot status but without Rick it’s a hollow victory. Has Rick left it too late to claim the only woman he’ll ever truly love....
The Outback Bachelor Ball trilogy follows three best friends who went to boarding school together. All three have been unlucky in love and decide to meet up at this years Outback Bachelor Ball in New Zealand, which is essentially a huge get together for the single ranchers of the area.
A cow, a cowgirl and a divorcee walk into a bar…
Three unlucky-in-love girlfriends make a road trip to the Outback Bachelor & Spinster Ball, a highlight of rural Australian life. One’s looking to move on, one’s thumbing her nose at romance, and one’s looking to slip away and hide. None of them are looking for love…
Three women are about to meet their match in a cowboy, a soldier and a country rock star. One magical night. One less than magical morning after.
Forty-eight hours can change your life
Book one features Ellie McFarlane, the daughter of a rancher who grew up to become a ranch foreman herself. She’s always been a tomboy and “one of the guys” and the one man she wants above all has never noticed her the way she wants him to. She’s been pining for Rick Drummond, her father’s right-hand man, since she was a teenager. She made one awkward pass at him when she was 18, which he rebuffed. Since then she’s spent six years away from home, working and pining for him. The three friends make a vow not to let their current circumstances control their lives: Ellie will let her friends give her a complete makeover; Jen will wear a cow costume in protest of love; Beth will dance with every non-creep who asks.
For Ellie this trip to the Ball is a chance for her to finally get him out of her system. She doesn’t expect to see Rick there, however, or have him start acting like he wants to explore things with her. Confused and frustrated she confronts Rick, but he’s just as confused and frustrated. Eventually they end up in bed together and Rick thinks they’re on the same page…until Ellie disappears in the morning. He realizes they haven’t resolved anything after all.
I struggled a bit with Ellie’s seeming lack of maturity when it came to Rick. She was a worldly woman who had traveled extensively and advanced well in her career. Yet she chooses to quit her job just as she lands the position she wants. Then, rather than communicating to her crush – a man she’s close with and has known her whole life – her feelings, she sets out to make him jealous and then blows hot and cold. When he hurts her, she doesn’t explain that or call him on it, just runs away and internalizes all her feelings.
What saved her for me was the way she was away from Rick. She was who she was and, aside from a few moments of self-consciousness about her lack of style, that was that.
For Rick’s part, he was such a bonehead sometimes. His saving grace was that he was quick to realize when he stuck his foot in his mouth and correct the mistake. Which was good, since there was no way Ellie was telling him what was going on in her head.
I absolutely loved the relationship between the women. They were friends in the truest sense of the word. I also enjoyed the romance. Despite my frustrations with their lack of communication, I was pulling for them as a couple. They were friends first and foremost, which came across well.
This was a great start to the trilogy. I loved the premise and the romance. I can’t wait to find out what happens with the other two women.
3.5 out of 5