Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Close Enough to Touch - Victoria Dahl (HQN - Sept 2012)

Series: Jackson Hole (Book 1)

Can a city girl make it in the wild, wild West?

For makeup artist Grace Barrett, Hollywood isn't the land of golden opportunity. It's the land of difficult divas, cheating boyfriends and unemployment. So when her great-aunt offers her a free place to stay in Jackson Hole, Grace thinks she'll spend a little time in the sticks to figure out her life, and then move somewhere exciting to live out her dreams. But it turns out that there are a few more thrills in this small town than Grace was expecting....

Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can't help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. He wants to get close enough to Grace to see past her tough facade, but if he does, she might see the real Cole. The one with a Hollywood history gone bad. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it becomes harder for him to keep his demons at bay-and those fires from long ago may burn them both.

They'll need more than scorching-hot passion to make this opposites-attract affair work. But if they can learn to trust one another enough to reveal their secrets, they just might have a chance at forever.

This was an okay read.  Overall I enjoyed it but I did have a few issues.  Grace had ended up in Jackson Hole after running from Hollywood.  She will use the time to try to put her life back together before moving on to a possible new job.   Grace is a city girl who has never been to a small town like this.  She is also blunt and not very friendly.  She spent her childhood with a mother who was constantly looking for a man to take care of her and doing whatever she had to to keep one.  This created a need in Grace to be totally independent, refusing to need anyone for anything.  When she met Cole there were sparks between them right away.  She had no problem giving in to her attraction to him but she wanted no part of an actual relationship.  When things with Cole start to change it scares her to think that she may be losing her independence.  I like the way that Grace sticks up for what is right which has gotten her into trouble in the past.  I enjoyed seeing the way she took to the job with Eve and the pleasure she got in doing it well.  The thing I didn't like so much was that Grace was always so angry.  It seemed like she spent way more time angry than happy or content.  I also got frustrated with the way that she never wanted Cole to treat her gently, yet later she seemed to be bummed because he didn't.  I was happy to see her begin to see the similarities between herself and her Aunt Rayleen and want to change, but I feel like it is going to be harder than she thinks.

Cole had come back home to Jackson Hole after a brief trip to Hollywood thirteen years ago.  His memories from that time are not pleasant and he harbors a lot of guilty feelings.  He's been working on the ranch that he plans to buy when the owner retires but he's hit a snag.  He was injured badly a few months earlier and is still in a lot of pain.  He also wonders if he will ever be able to ride again which puts his future plans at risk.  When he meets Grace he is fascinated by her.  He's told himself to stay away from her, especially because of her Hollywood connections but he can't do it.  He would love to get past that tough girl attitude and finds that he sees more and more of what it hides. Even though he had not started out wanting a relationship he finds himself more interested in having her stick around.  When his own Hollywood past causes him problems with Grace he starts to see that he's been guilty of hiding from his own fears also.  I liked Cole somewhat better than Grace, but he also spent a lot of time angry.  While the two of them were pretty explosive together I didn't get much of a feeling of real romance there.  Maybe once they have dealt with their anger issues the softer emotions will come easier.

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