Published by Harlequin Source: Netgalley
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Western
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Five years ago, Judd Dunn, a hard-edged Texas Ranger, put Christabel Gaines's father behind bars—where he belonged. But Judd's involvement in Crissy's life was far from over. With their jointly owned ranch on the verge of bankruptcy, Judd wed her in name only, promising to save their land and vowing to ignore the sexual tension between them.
Now, just when Judd decides to release Crissy from their sham of a marriage, he is blindsided by a bloodthirsty foe who is setting the stage for unspeakable evil by preying upon Judd's greatest weakness—his wife. No longer a starry-eyed schoolgirl, Crissy's a smart, fearless woman with unfulfilled desires. And she will do anything in the name of love—including taking a bullet for her husband.
With their very lives at stake, Crissy and Judd must confront their darkest demons, their new rivals and their deepest desires—and face up to a mutual destiny they cannot outrun.
Another book with Texas as the backdrop, woo hoo! I’m pretty sure this is a re-release of an older book, because there were some references in the book that were just a tiny bit off, like a little bit of a blast from the past, but honestly it’s barely noticeable and doesn’t impact the story in any way that is distracting.
So Christabel and Judd got married when she was very young, although it was only a paper marriage, the two of them never acted on it at all (although Christabel apparently has been carrying a torch for him for some time and throughout the marriage). They are finally approaching Christabel’s 21st birthday and the end of their secret paper marriage, and that’s when things start getting interesting.
There is a lot going on in this novel, there’s a movie being filmed on their ranch because they needed the cash flow, there’s a vindictive ex-employee who might be killing their bulls, a couple of murders in town for Judd (the Texas Ranger to solve), and then add in both Judd and Christabel meeting new people and starting to branch out away from each other. It makes for a lot to follow, but the novel is pretty long (at some points I thought maybe too long), and since the novel is long it can have a lot more plot items going on without it becoming too much.
So Christabel is my kinda chick, she isn’t a girly girl and she holds her own with the guys. I like that she is independent and that she doesn’t let Judd dismiss her. There is one point early on in the book where one of the bulls dies and Christabel is convinced it’s poisioning and Judd totally writes her off and proclaims the bull died of bloat. Christabel never let that stop her, she kept an eye out, told people she believed would listen, talked to neighbors, collected evidence and took pictures, she never let what a man thought stop her from doing what she believed was right. I absolutely loved that about her.
Judd I didn’t like so much. He is constantly thinking less of Christabel than he should have been, and for no reason. He writes her off all the time, and it’s so annoying. Also Judd’s jealously is beyond not cool, Christabel is more than willing to let Judd go if she doesn’t make him happy, all she cares about is what is best for him, and Judd, well Judd is just beyond not capable of only thinking about what he wants/needs.
I actually really liked the character of Cash, the guy who Christabel befriends while Judd is off ignoring her and putting her last on his to do list. Cash is way more my kind of guy, he has a tormented past, but is a pretty decent guy. He’s always willing to listen to Christabel and shows up whenever she needs anything. I can’t imagine that anyone who reads this book won’t completely enjoy Cash.
Overall the book was pretty good. I liked the different plot lines, especially the plot line with the ex-employee, it really provided a good backdrop for the interpersonal relationships. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a romance that has a bit of crime/mystery in it as well, and well anyone who likes western romances, so go check it out.