Monday, November 11, 2019

Restless Rancher (Wild Rose Ranch, #2) by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Restless Rancher: Wild Rose Ranch
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wild Rose (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 12, 2019)
ISBN-10: 006285190X
ISBN-13: 978-0062851901
Author's Website: Not Available
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for review purposes. This in no way affected my review or rating.

To say Austin Hubbard has fallen on hard times would be an understatement. Months ago he'd been living the good life running his family business under his dad and ready to settle down with his girlfriend for the long haul. Then his grandfather had died leaving him the house his mother had grown up in and the land surrounding it. That's when everything went to hell in a handbasket. His father wanted the house and land for reason's Austin couldn't phantom. When Austin refused to sell it to him, he'd been cut off and, without funds, his girlfriend quickly abandoned him. He'd been devastated. Slowly, with the help of his friends, he'd managed to get back on his feet only to be knocked down once again by the betrayal of all betrayals he never saw coming.

Sonya Turner had been passed over for a promotion that by all accounts should have been hers. The promotion was the final step in her plan to becoming partner. The only thing lacking from her repertoire was she lacked that vital piece of male anatomy that would have gained her instant access to the good ole boys club, and there was no way she would be doing anything to change that--if that was even possible these days. So when her sister by choice, Roxy, asked for her assistance in helping her fiance's best friend get his newly inherited ranch sorted out, she'd turned in her resignation without a second thought. The sight that greeted her upon arrival, however, gave her pause for thought. A drunken cowboy passed out on the front porch was not what she'd been expecting. Not one to suffer fools gladly, she grabs a pitcher full of water and gives him the wake up call he so dearly needed.

While you can't always get what you want, Austin's about to get exactly what he needs...
This is the second book of the Wild Rose Ranch series and while you could possibly get away with reading this one as a standalone novel, I don't recommend it. The series is based on a group of four women--Roxy, Sonya, Adria, and Julia--who became a makeshift family due to their similar circumstances--they were all the children of women who worked at a high end brothel just outside of Las Vegas called the Wild Rose Ranch. Over the years they all endured endless scorn, ridicule, and torment due to their mothers' chosen profession. They're all around the same age, and it's their shared situation which made them all stick together and become the tight knit family they are today. Roxy, however, is the glue that binds them. Her story, Dirty Little Secret, is where we're first introduced to these Wild Rose riders, the name the four chose for themselves as they competed in rodeos.

The beginning of this book does not start off painting a picture full of double rainbows and unicorns. If anything, it paints a one the exact opposite--a harsh world filled with cruelty, unfairness, and a smattering of crudeness. Austin, when we're first introduced to him in this book, is not portrayed as a knight in shining armor or the dashing prince charming type. He's in a bad place and he's bitter, mad, and confused by the betrayals he's been dealt. As we start to gain a handle on the situation and come to understand how Austin managed to fall so far so fast, we begin to see more than just a spark of redeemable qualities. He is, as we all are, more than what he appears during his darkest moments.

Sonya is a no-nonsense, smart as a whip, beautiful young women who has hopes and dreams just like the next girl. While you'd think with all the lemons life has handed her she'd be a very cynical individual, she's mainly just a very guarded and cautious person about who she lets into her life. While her first impression of Austin isn't very high, as she works beside him and becomes acquainted with him, and he with her, she gets to know him in a way she wouldn't have otherwise. A mutual respect forms between them which quickly transforms into something more as they give in to their mutual attraction.

Sonya is a shrewd business woman and a forensic accountant by trade. She's been trained to find money, property, or whatever else people are trying to hide within the numbers, and she's very good at what she does. She's seen a lot over the years and has never been accused of wearing rose colored glasses or of being naive, and she is rarely intimidated. Very little surprises her and she doesn't play games, doesn't take crap from anyone, and calls 'em like she sees them. She's exactly what Austin needs and he's exactly what she needs.

The song that kept playing in my head as I read this one was Julia Andrew's song 'Something Good'...

'Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good'

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. There were plenty of twists, turns, and heart wrenching moments. The story kept my attention, and maintained a good pace. I liked the dynamics of Austin and Sonya's relationship although it took me a while to warm up to Austin. I liked Sonya, however, from the moment she drenched Austin with water. She made me laugh and smile. We should all have a friend like her. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned 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. 

Order of the Wild Rose Ranch series:

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