Sam Compton always yearned for more than a simple country life. More money, more nightlife and more excitement. As an independent Wall Street trader nicknamed “The Cowboy”, he amassed a small fortune flying by the seat of his pants, taking risks that rewarded him well, but he soon comes to realize his two older brothers have found something that makes them richer than Warren Buffet. A little jealous, and plenty guilty for leaving them to shoulder their family’s burdens, he returns to Compton Pass where he finds the woman keeping the books fires his imagination. Too bad she’s too prim and proper to consider the kind of sex that fires his blood. At least that’s what he thinks until he discovers her in the middle of a cowboy sandwich along with two of his boyhood friends.
This novel is third in a series of stories about four brothers, all of whom left their hometown and family ranch for various reasons. It was as if they couldn’t get out of there fast enough. All had life goals that couldn’t be realized at home, or in the case of the first brother, circumstances that made his remaining there untenable (Northern Exposure).
Sam is the Wall Street whiz kid, a man who has mapped out his life carefully and is following that plan to a T. What he hadn’t planned on was the betrayal of a woman who had her eye on his promotion and when the dust settled, Sam came home. Not only was his career seemingly in ruins, but there was the matter of his dying dad. The last person he expected to see was a woman with a whole truck load of issues but whose loyalty was strongly connected to his family. Her beauty and independence fascinates him, but the last thing Sam needs is another female problem. He is also fully aware that he has a dark side and has accepted that it will be an unusual woman who can accept those parts of him.
This third novel is quite different than the first two–the characters are really different, so their stories will have a different “flavor.” The first two brothers have a considerably different “take” on life, while Sam has developed into a man who keeps his life carefully in order, who keeps his goals will in mind, who is the kind of poker player who keeps his cards very close to his chest. While he has accepted a lot about himself, he isn’t foolish enough to believe that others can accept those things about him. So he just quietly keeps his own counsel. Thus this has a much more hidden quality to it and is not the “wild West” kind of story. For that reason some reviewers have had a bit of a negative response to the story. I am not one of them. I applaud writers who tell a character’s story however it develops and are willing to allow that story to just be what it is.
Ms Carr and Ms Rylon have lots of writing miles under their collective belts and both know how to allow their stories to be character driven. Thus this tale is very much lower key than the first two books but I think it packs the same kind of erotic and romantic punch. The heroine knows her own needs and while she may come across to some as a “loose woman,” she is a woman who knows herself well and is willing to seek satisfaction in a way that is safe and consensual. All her relationships are built on friendship and affection, and what Sam ultimately discovers about her is that she has a heart that is loyal, genuine, and as big as the state of Texas. Thus, this is a very hot book and is full of local color and the feel of a modern ranch operation.
This is one of those erotic romances that is fun to read and has some parts that will steam up the reader’s glasses. Yet it is, bottom line, about the inner journey for two people who need to find their other half, who don’t necessarily expect to find love, but who find out that there is more to loving and accepting one another than they first believed. I enjoyed the book–I love the work of both these writers–and I think it will be one that romance fans will find to be a really delightful read.
I give the book a rating of 4 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.