A burly Argentinian rancher with a penchant for cooking and intimate tea ceremonies? Oh yeah, I’ll take me one of those. Looks like this one’s in Flagstaff. Give me a moment whilst I research flight costs, please and thank you.
What’s it About?
After an abusive childhood and a bad marriage, Laura Katz finally finds a home, stability…and possibly love. But her blissful refuge as nanny on the Meadowlark Ranch, miles from Flagstaff, shatters when her ex is released from prison, determined to reclaim her.
Randy Silva, the ranch’s foreman, has dreams of his own ranch, but a nasty land grab is underway.While the battle escalates, Laura steals his heart, but dangerous outsiders and a criminal ex-husband stand in their way. Randy’s in a perilous fight for his land and the woman he wants by his side.
Stakes are high, as the attacks on Randy and his ranch draw blood. While the vengeful ex-husband stalks Laura, a mob-backed land developer teams with a desperate gambler. Randy can’t be sure where the next attack will come from–or who will be caught in the crossfire.
Hands down this has been my favorite book in the series so far. It’s so cleverly crafted where it really does keep you guessing who our mystery vandal could be. There are three obvious suspects, but you constantly question who might be the ultimate perpetrator. It definitely kept me guessing, which is hard to do, and you’ll wonder if maybe it’ll end up being some unassuming fourth person who will end up being a complete shock. The possibilities are truly endless when we’re dealing with so many smarmy people in such a small town. These top three suspects are obviously people with selfish intentions, but you wonder which one has the stomach to do some of these more dastardly deeds.
A Villainous Reveal
In my opinion this is where the book was extra clever. We do discover the identity of our perpetrator about half-way through the book. When this came to light, I was immediately a bit let down thinking, well darn! There goes all the mystery and intrigue. As it turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong! I feel like if anything this is when the novel really hits its stride and ramps up the intensity level, especially when our lovable characters are unknowingly in the presence of such a ne’er do well. Another aspect I admired with this read is that the author never tried to rush a scene, specifically when it would come to a suspenseful scene at the end involving our villain and Laura.
These scenes would always start you off on the edge, and then build and build in intensity, and you can tell our villain’s rage increases in these moments as well. Just when you think the scene will switch to something more mellow, or there will be a break in intensity, it ends up lasting a bit longer than you think it will. In these moments you really find yourself wondering, my goodness how far is this going to go? Will there actually be a happy ending for everyone where justice ultimately prevails? At times it can even bring you to the edge of your own comfort level where you may start to squirm in anticipation, but in a way I feel this almost puts us in the shoes of our lead character. We wonder what fate might befall them in that moment. Well written for sure!
The Rancher and the Nanny
As for the romance aspect, overall I liked it. Can’t say I fell head over heels with it, but it was definitely good. I appreciated the fact that Randy and Laura’s relationship wasn’t solely about sex, even if it sort of starts out that way. They have both set their sights on each other, and Laura in particular is pretty brazen about wanting to start a physical relationship. However, they are both able to open up with each other about important aspects of their lives which they’d never revealed to another person before.
For Randy, he shares his desire to start a horse camp for young children on his property, and also opens up about his wife’s death years before. Laura on the other hand delves into the details of her sad childhood and upbringing, as well as the abuse suffered at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. The one aspect of their relationship that I didn’t particularly care for was when Laura would try to push Randy away. In the beginning, I could definitely understand why she would want to keep things more casual. Her past relationship with her ex-husband didn’t exactly end well, and he’s been stalking her recently. It’s clear why she might not trust her choices in men. But when this theme comes back around again at the end, it was a smidge frustrating, especially considering all the ways Randy has demonstrated his love for her through both his words and actions.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Love and Murder, book 5. Best book in the series so far! Some characters from the previous novels are referenced, but I don’t really feel as though it’s mandatory you read all of the previous books before trying out this one.
Should you read it? For those of you who like a little mystery and suspense thrown in with your romance, I get the feeling you’ll enjoy this one. Prepare to second-guess yourself every time you think you have the villain figured out. You’ll be on the edge of your seat by the end. Again, overall I did enjoy the romance aspect, specifically their emotional connection, but I feel like Laura’s multiple attempts to push Randy away seemed a bit unnecessary.
Smut Level: Apparently Randy needs to write a how-to book when it comes to shower sex. Immediate best-seller for sure.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 257 Pages.