I was over halfway through this book when I realised I didn’t really care what happens to the characters. This one is DNF for me.
Joslyn Kirk returns to her hometown to make restitution to victims of her stepfather’s crime. Years ago, he defrauded a lot of people and Joslyn finally has the means to repay the debts that her stepfather couldn’t. Not everyone in the town has forgotten or forgiven.
Town sheriff Slade Barlow finds himself the heir to one of the most successful ranches in town, thanks to his estranged father who never once acknowledged his illegitimate son when he was alive. This puts Slade at odds with his half-brother, Hutch, who feels that the ranch is his birthright and can’t understand why Slade refuses to sell Hutch his half of the property.
Joslyn conveniently finds herself living next door to Slade. They’re attracted to each other, but there’s tension because she’s also good friends with Hutch, who was her high school boyfriend. Meanwhile, Joslyn’s best friend, Kendra, seems to have some kind of history with Hutch.
And that’s where I got up to before I gave up. The pace of the story is slow, and the romance doesn’t really make sense to me. Slade has the potential to be a great hero, but he can’t shine in the setting that author Linda Lael Miller puts him in. Meanwhile, Joslyn’s motivation for returning home is probably supposed to paint her as a noble, generous character, but, well, it just made her sound mopey all the time. And finally, there’s a lot of sequel baiting for a romance between Kendra and Hutch, which was distracting at best.
Yay or nay?
If this were an Australian outback romance, I would’ve slogged through a bit longer. But it’s set in a place I don’t really care about and features characters I don’t understand and who don’t really do anything interesting, so it’s a DNF for me.
Who might enjoy it: Readers who enjoy leisurely paced small town romances
Who might not enjoy it: Readers who like angsty, character-driven stories
A copy of this book was generously provided by Harlequin Australia.