Sunday, August 15, 2010

How the West Was FUN!

Next up on my TBR pile: Harlequin's Big Summer Reads. I am determined to make this summer last longer and that won't be a problem because there are some great titles on this list!

First up: How the West Was FUN!

Cowboys and romance novels, now that is a combination that appeals to many. Some may be attracted to the cowboy stereotype simply because of biological tendencies - the desire to be provided for and protected. Others may be charmed by the strong silent type that cares as much for animals as they do people. No matter what attracts you to cowboys - you'll want to consider these two series.

Prolific author Linda Lael Miller has written several western romance series, both historical and contemporary. In McKettricks of
Texas: Garrett, the second in the series, Garrett works for a married political giant who has taken a wrong turn by going public with an illicit affair. He feels betrayed by the man he idolized, so he quits
and returns home to the family ranch. Upon arrival, he finds that the family's home is currently inhabited by temporarily displaced Julie, her son, Calvin, and their three-legged dog, Harry.

Julie can't deny her attraction to Garrett, but she is determined to be cautious both to protect her young son and because she can't imagine that as a high-powered political insider would settle down with a small town girl. To complicate her life even further, Calvin's dad is back in their lives, she's overwhelmed at work, and their home is being sold out from under them
I enjoyed returning to the world of the McKettricks and catching up with Tate and Libby while looking forward to Austin's story. Miller is able to present a contemporary story with enough of the wild west to make you feel right at home on the Texas ranch. She also write children and animal characters particularly well, making the family dynamics ring true.

Another steamy title is Claimed by Vicki Lewis Thompson from her Sons of Chance series. Ten months ago, Jack was reluctant to leave the warm bed he shared with girlfriend, Josie, so he told his dad to go pick up a new horse without him. When his dad is later killed on the trip, Jack feels responsible and breaks up with Josie as his penance.

So, when he decides to visit Josie after a night of drinking in the small Wyoming town, he shouldn't have been surprised that the encounter goes badly. She pushes him away, and he makes a fool of himself. Jack is going to be the best man at his brother's upcoming wedding (on horseback, naturally) and guess who is the maid of honor? Yes, fair Josie - and she doesn't know how to ride a horse. Jack himself offers to teach her and soon their lessons turn into a secret affair. Josie wants to give her heart to Jack, but is he ready to take it for real?

Claimed is part of the Harlequin Blaze series, which are shorter, steamy contemporary romances with an emphasis on the development physical relationship between the two characters. I don't read this series too often, but check them out if you want a quick, sensual read (kind of like dessert!). I have, however, thoroughly enjoyed Thompson's Hex and Nerd series. You can learn more about these fun, sexy series on her website.


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