Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Cowboy She Couldn't Forget - Patricia Thayer (HR #4387 - Aug 2013)

Series: Slater Sisters of Montana (Book 1)

One stolen kiss with a cowboy

When Ana Slater's father is taken ill, she knows she can't look after The Lazy S Ranch alone. There is one man who can help. The cowboy she has found it impossible to forget -- Vance Rivers.

With the words "Work hard and hands off my daughters!" etched into his memory, Vance knew from the very beginning that Ana was strictly off-limits -- no matter what! All he could do was ensure he was the best cowboy in Montana.

But now, with Ana back on the ranch, the rules are set to change. And finally their chance at happiness might be just around the corner….

Ana's father has had a stroke and can't run the ranch while he's recovering.  Ana is made co-executor of the ranch along with ranch foreman Vance.  Vance came to the ranch as a runaway when he was fourteen.  Colt gave him a job but made it clear Vance was to leave his daughters alone.  He's had it bad for Ana ever since, but knows to stay away from her.  Now they have to work together to save the ranch from financial ruin.

This is a book with a lot of emotion in it.  Ana is the only one of her sisters who has remained close to home.  When their mother deserted them years ago it caused their father to completely withdraw from them.  He was there physically but emotionally he was unavailable.  The girls had tried everything they could but he pretty much ignored them.  When Vance showed up suddenly he was getting all the attention the girls wanted.  Ana especially resented it feeling doubly rejected.  Now she is being forced to work with him and she doesn't like it.  I mostly liked Ana.  She was finally getting the chance she had wanted to be involved in the ranch.  She didn't expect to have to share the duty with Vance and wasn't really happy about it.  Then they found out that the ranch was in trouble financially and really have to work together to save it.  Having to work with Vance so closely made Ana realize that, though she may resent his relationship with her father, she had feelings of her own for him.  I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and learn what they had in common.  I loved the way they were able to work together to find ways to help the ranch.  Ana still has a lot of resentment against her father and also has a hard time letting go of some of the feelings against Vance.  Just as their feelings are growing something comes up that sets Ana off again against Vance.  Her reaction was really extreme and she ended up saying some really hurtful things.  I was glad to see her come to her senses and especially apologize for what she said before they made up.

Vance had had a rough start in life.  His mom deserted him and his father.  Vance's father became an abusive alcoholic and when Vance was fourteen he'd had enough and left.  He ended up being taken in by Colt and given a job and a place to live.  Colt trained him in the ranch work and pretty much treated him as a son, except for telling him to stay away from the girls.  All Vance really wanted was a place where he really felt like he belonged.  He developed a crush on Ana early on, and except for one kiss when they were teens, managed to keep his distance.  Now that they have to work together he's hoping to change that.  I liked Vance a lot.  He had worked hard for Colt and had come a long way.  He is looking forward to working with Ana and having a chance to get closer to her.  I really liked the way that he tried to show her that Colt's treatment of the girls wasn't his fault or his choice.  I had high hopes that he was really getting through to her.  I also liked the way that Vance supported Ana with the ideas she had for the ranch.  His growing feelings for her were obvious.  He was devastated by her reaction to the land problem and so hurt at the things she said.  I felt terrible about what he was going through and what he decided to do to make things right.  All he had really wanted was a family of his own with Ana.  I was happy that Ana went to him at the end, he deserved the apology she gave him.

The storyline with Colt and the way he treated his daughters is very interesting.  I like the fact that we are getting his thoughts and feelings.  I'm looking forward to seeing how things go with his desire to make things right with the girls.

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