Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Rancher's Christmas - Ann Roth (HAR #1472 - Oct 2013)

Series: Saddlers Prairie (Book 5)

A Holiday Change Of Heart

Gina Arnett comes home to Saddlers Prairie to say goodbye to her uncle and sell the family ranch she's just inherited. Her focus is on getting back to Chicago and her high-powered job. Two things change her plans: a sudden blizzard that causes the town to be snowed in, and Zach Horton -- the ranch foreman who tries to convince her to stay.

Gina's boundless ambition is something Zach understands all too well. He's kept his past a secret, and to uncover it, she'll have to reveal her own uncomfortable truths -- and her growing feelings for Zach. He's not the kind of man she dreamed of falling for. But at the Christmas season, all dreams seem possible…. 

Good book.  Gina has come back to Montana to sell the ranch she just inherited from her uncle.  She has no interest in staying there, she wants to get back to her marketing job in Chicago.  She's not happy when she gets snowed in by a blizzard.  Plus, the ranch foreman promised her uncle he'd try to get her to stay.

I had a hard time with Gina for most of the book.  I understood her desire to get back to her job, that wasn't the problem.  What I didn't like was the way she was looking down on Zach because he was a ranch foreman and didn't seem to have the ambition to do anything else.  She realized she was attracted to him right away but since she'd only be there a week she didn't plan to get involved with him.  Plus she figured he wasn't her "type".  She also didn't really appreciate the way he kept trying to talk her into keeping the ranch.  After getting snowed in together she realized that they had more in common than she thought and the attraction between them was growing.  She sensed that he was keeping some secret from her since he wouldn't talk about his past.  This frustrated her but since she was keeping her own secrets I didn't have much sympathy for her.  I did like the way that she started to think more about keeping the ranch.  I thought the solution she eventually came up with was great.

Zach had promised Gina's uncle that he would try to convince her to keep the ranch and stay in Montana.  He and Zach had come up with an idea for a dude ranch that would make it possible.  But Gina was so determined to go back that Zach could barely get her to listen.  He understood her attitude since he used to be the same way.  When one of his deals had unintended consequences he sold his business and looked for a new direction.  Eventually he ended up getting hired on the ranch and found that he really enjoyed it.  He gets a lot of grief from his family about his decision which just adds to his reluctance to talk about his past.  His attraction to Gina is getting stronger the longer she stays but he doesn't want to get involved with someone who doesn't accept him for who he is. I thought he was a really nice guy and loved his non-judgmental reaction to her secret.  I liked the way they finally got together and his part in the ranch solution.

I liked seeing some of the characters from previous books.  I also loved the portrayals of Gina's relatives, especially her aunts.  The two of them with their bickering were so realistic I could practically hear them.  I also loved their obvious attempts at matchmaking.

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