Monday, January 27, 2014

Early Review of Nothing Sweeter (Sweet on a Cowboy #2) by Laura Drake

Title: Nothing Sweeter (Sweet on a Cowboy)
Series: Sweet on a Cowboy (Book 2)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: Forever (January 28, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1455521973
ISBN-13: 978-1455521975
Author's website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher.

WANTED: Full time stable hand. Room & Board included. Apply to High Heather Ranch.

Aubrey 'Bree' Tanner is looking for a fresh start. She wants to leave her troubled past behind and reinvent herself. She wants to begin anew in a place where no one knows her name or her story. She has to come to terms that what happened can't be changed and allow herself some time to heal. She needs to give herself time to decide what she wants to do with her life and figure out how to make it happen. After aimlessly traveling from town to town, she stumbles across a Help Wanted ad for a horse groomer and decides to apply. While the job sounds perfect for her, she has no clue just how perfect a decision that will be, but will her past come back to haunt her?

Max Jameson is the part owner of a failing cattle ranch. His father has just died and left the ranch's finances in a lurch. The last thing he wants is to hire a woman who looks more like a Friday-night buckle bunny than a person who can handle a horse. At his brother's Wyatt's insistence that no one else in the area's willing to take on the job, he reluctantly hires the woman. She'll prove that his first impression was utterly wrong as she devises a way to save the ranch.

This was a charming romance about two emotionally scarred individuals who have more reason than most to distrust others. Ms. Drake breaths life into her characters as she spins a tale with raw emotions and touching scenes woven into its seams. Some stories have a tendency to stay with you well after you've finished reading them, and this is one of them.

Aubree Tanner has been through the wringer. She looks like a red headed version of the girl next door with the exception of the recently acquired scar that runs from her ear to her collarbone. She's spent the last eight months in jail and is attempting to enjoy her new found freedom while trying to bury her past. When she was younger she'd worked four years as a groom at an English riding stable and had loved it. She hopes working with horses will bring some much needed peace to her life. It's a far cry from her former profession and that is a bonus in her book. As the story unfolds, the author slowly, but surely, lets Bree's heart wrenching tale unravel.

Max Jameson is said to be ruggedly handsome version of the Marlboro Man. He's a cowboy through and through and loves the ranch he grew up on. In the past year he's suffered the loss of the woman he loves to another man, his father's death, and is attempting to hold on to the ranch which his father left him and his brother. Wyatt, who has little interest in the ranch, has been lending Max his help and support, but is worried about him. He's put his life on hold to help his brother, but can see no way out of their financial situation. While the idea of  converting their home into a dude-ranch is promising, it offers no immediate financial relief. When Bree hears of the brother's troubles she sees it as an opportunity to make an investment. She comes up with a plan and then does what she does best--crunches numbers to see if the idea is viable and presents her proposal to the brothers.  

It was fun watching Bree and Austin initially fight their feelings for each other. I enjoyed seeing them face their inner demons and work through their issues. I especially loved the role Wyatt played in getting these to together. He was a great secondary character and had some heart tugging issues of his own to deal with.

My favorite lines (and they'll have to be checked against the final publication) are:
- "Look into my eyes; I'm the only mirror you'll ever need."
- "People might not want to laugh at the at little guy's pink flank rope. I think it ticks him off."

Favorite logo (of course):

Why is the book titled Nothing Sweeter? Well, I believe it's because of a scene at the beginning of the book where Bree has just gotten free from jail. In it she thinks, "Nothing was sweeter than freedom."

Overall, I loved the book and gave it 5 out of 5 stars. A wonderful story packed with plenty of heart touching moments, romance and drama which blended together to make a delightfully seductive read. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got 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. A book I HIGHLY recommend.

    Order of the series:

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