Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Can't Hurry Love (Crooked Creek Ranch #2) by Molly O'Keefe

  • Title: Can't Hurry Love
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Contemporary Romane
  • Format:  Paperback, 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 31, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0345525612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345525611
Author's website:

They say once you hit rock bottom there's no way to go but back up. What they don't tell you is that sometimes when you're attempting to stand back up, you get knocked right back down again. That would pretty much sum up Victoria Baker Schulman's life. Every time she's hit bottom something or someone knocks her back down. Now she was attempting to get her life together once more and wouldn't you know it, Eli Turnbull, the ranch's sexy manager, was taking his turn at bat attempting to thwart her plans of running the ranch and getting her life back on track.

Eli had a history with the Bakers. His whole family did. Years ago the Bakers and taken advantage of the Turnbulls and piece by piece stolen their land. Oh, everything had been done above board, but they'd taken advantage of the family at a desperate time, low balling on the price they'd snatched the land up for for less than what it was worth. When he heard Victoria declare she was keeping rather than selling the Crooked Creek Ranch, he decided turnabout was fair play. He was going to use every method available to get what he felt rightfully belonged to his family back.

When I read Can't Buy Me Love I wondered if a romance would be in the works for Victoria and Eli. Eli was painted as such a nice guy in that book, and I thought the two would make a good match. In the beginning of Can't Hurry Love, however, we see a completely different side to Eli, one I didn't like. Thankfully it wasn't one he liked either, but it took me longer than Victoria to like him again.

The Turnbulls have been upset with the Bakers for years. It seems with each generation the Turnbulls would pass their sense of being robbed of their family land and birthright to the next generation. While Eli's father and uncle may have had a better feeling of betrayal being as they still remember when the ranch was still in their family, Eli has only learned the sentiment from them. His initial plan was to wait patiently for the land to come back to him when Lyle died, but then Tori (Victoria) got it in her head to run the place. His dreams and plans for the last 10 years had all been for naught. Combine that with an Uncle who knew how to push his buttons and Eli, well, let's just say he acted in a way that would not be labeled as one of his finer moments.

Victoria had been wasting away since her husband decided to commit suicide rather than face the consequences of his swindling a lot of people out of a lot of money including some of his closest friends. With his death, the burden of the blame had unjustly fallen onto Victoria's shoulders. Now she was determined that when push came to shove she'd shove right back. So when she found out Eli and basically sabotaged the ranch by selling off nearly all of their main source of income--her father's prized Angus heard, she got busy finding another means for the ranch to make money. She leased the land Eli so desperately wanted to get his hands on. Hey, all's fair in love and war and she was fighting for survival.

This is definitely a more serious read than a lot of contemporary romances. The hero and heroine both have issues they need to come to terms with and deal with. Only then can the two truly be a couple.  They may not be a perfect individuals, but in the end they are perfect for each other. I liked the fact that Victoria had to pick herself up, dust herself off, and realize she needed to change or nothing would change. I like seeing a heroine rise from the ashes of life because occasionally we do too. While their imperfections might take the fairy tale edge off the story, I find it can sometimes make the tale all that much more enjoyable.

Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. I liked how Victoria stood up for herself and faced her inner demons while finally figuring out who she was, what she wanted, and not backing down when things got uncomfortable. I liked how Eli stopped trying to please his uncle and left the family skeletons where they should be--buried. If I was Victoria, however, I don't think I could have trusted Eli enough to actually start a relationship with him. I'm chalking this up, however, to her knowing him well enough when she was younger to know that his one night of bad behavior was totally out of character for him. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--- too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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