Series: Colorado Cattle Barons (Book 5)
Mayor Seth Jacobs has plans, and he won't let
do-gooder Darby Carroll ruin them. Her need for peace and quiet is
standing in the way of a crucial railroad project. Now he must put his
cowboy charms to good use and persuade Darby to see things his way. But
seduction is a two-way street, and Seth soon realizes he underestimated
his opponent. Now that he's caught in his own trap, his desire for this
woman could be his downfall….
I really enjoyed this one. Seth is trying to get a railroad built through his town. It would help the ranchers, create jobs for the people and eventually bring more business in. Darby is running a retreat for women in stressful jobs, such as military and law enforcement. She needs the atmosphere to be peaceful and not broken by loud noises such as train whistles. As the two of them face off in a fight to win their issues, on a personal side fighting is the last thing on their minds.
I really liked Darby. After several years as a military psychologist she left to start a project where she felt she could make a bigger impact. After inheriting a nice piece of land in Colorado she has started the Sierra Hotel, a place where women can come to relax, away from their stressful occupations. She gets a lot of military and law enforcement women and other government types who treasure the peace and quiet she has to offer. Because of the identities of some of her guests, Darby doesn't advertise just who the hotel caters to, just calls it a women's retreat. When Seth, as mayor, brings the railway project to the town, Darby knows she has to fight it. If she can't provide what is needed her business will have to close and the women will lose out. Darby and her coworker do everything they can to get the railroad project up for a vote, including fudging a petition drive just a little bit. When Seth confronts her about that they discover a simmering attraction between them. Darby fights the attraction for awhile, knowing that starting a relationship while they are on two sides of a contentious issue is not a good idea. I loved Darby's project and how determined she was to make it work. She had the intelligence to run a great campaign against the railroad and it was making a difference. Unfortunately it was a volatile enough issue that both sides got pretty heated and started going too far. I loved Darby's speech to one of the teens who participated in the noise attack on her hotel. Her psychology degree really showed in that. With Seth, neither of them was able to resist their attraction for long. Darby also realized that, outside of the railroad project, she and Seth have a lot in common and her feelings for him start to change. When the end came and she was feeling betrayed by him, I loved her display of pride - she wasn't going to let him see her crumble. The end was pretty emotional.
Seth was a guy who really wanted to do what was best for his town. He was convinced that the railway project was crucial to its economic health. He wasn't going to let Darby and her ladies' hotel stand in his way. He knows he has the ability to charm her into seeing things his way. He didn't expect to feel a real attraction to her. He also discovered that she had just as much of a chance of distracting him. I loved seeing them try to convince each other of the rightness of their own positions and how they would get sidetracked. Seth worried about her as the issue got heated between the two sides and people resorted to physical acts of violence. He tried to keep their relationship separate from their conflict but there were things he did that seemed pretty underhanded. The final battle put an end to the issue but left Seth feeling that he had really screwed up, especially when he learned just what kind of hotel Darby was running. When he discovered what Darby's plans for the future were he knew that he couldn't let her go. I really liked his final solution and the way he went about showing her.
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