26 Mar '13

A Nix Contemporary Review – Once Tempted by Laura Moore (3.75 Stars)

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Sweeping passions, family drama, and searing scandal play out at the magnificent Silver Creek Ranch as the heirs to a powerful dynasty seize their legacy of love.

Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.

Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.

Hmmmm, this one took a while for me to get into but once I did I did kind of enjoy it! The authors style of writing tended to be a little bit overly descriptive at points, leading to a slower pacing that I would have liked, but  this also worked in another way as I was drew deeply into the budding romance between these two individuals who have had their hearts truly decimated by previous relationships.
Tess was a woman who knew true loss. Her A-Hole of a husband had, after filling their short marriage with viciousness and infidelity, died from a brain tumour that he had secretly known  he had the possibility of getting again, leaving her unsure as to her feelings regarding him. Phew….brain-full, right? I think the first 10% of the book was made to set the scene for the book and make the reader feel empathy towards Tess. Unfortunately, there was so much information that I came away feeling only baffled. I knew that she had been through a lot, especially in regards to how her in-laws and husband had treated her, but there was too much knowledge for me to shift through to feel anything towards her. I didn’t care about her until she got to the ranch and we started to see her in the present; although I acknowledged her past, I only cared about the way it impacted the way she was with Ward.
Tess on the ranch was lovely to read about. She began as this uptight city woman, who kind of fell into a job that she didn’t really want and an attraction that she shied away from, and became a deeply passionate woman who cared about the ranch and every living thing on it. Watching her develop and accept the feelings that she had towards Ward was the draw of this book for me; I am a big old romantic a heart and this was so damn lovely it gave me my own set of rose tinted specs for the day! When the bitch step-sister turned up….. God, I admired Tess’s restraint at not telling her to get a life but I willed her to slap her into next week and stake a very public claim on her man.
I enjoyed West’s character as much as Tess’s. He had been hurt in the past and tried his upmost not to let it affect his relationship with Tess. He courted her, flirted with her and generally was the cutest thing in a Stetson until he finally got her into his bed. When he bought her the cowboy boots my heart melted…seriously, how fricking cute was it that he bought it with stitching that matched her toe nails??  I loved his single minded determination to have her, how he went out of his way to annoy her to delight in her reactions and how he treated her like an absolute princess. I did not like that he didn’t just tell his ex to take a hike for the sake of the wedding. She didn’t take hints very well so maybe he should have made a sign? And then beat her off with it repeatedly!
Of course, true love does not run smooth but I actually enjoyed the road-blocks that they hit. They weren’t just simple misunderstanding, they stemmed from real feelings and experiences and it was refreshing! I felt that, if they got through these issues, they would come out stronger, their relationship a bit better for it. That is unusual for me.
The sex, now the sex was an issue for me. We all know, I read sexy books. I’ve read so much I can spot a bad one a mile away and, although these weren’t bad in anyway shape or form, they were littered with odd terminology that took me aback. At one point, West’s penis is referred to as his “sex” and then is referred to as “delineated”. These words just didn’t need to be anywhere near a sex scene and I despaired… it was a shame as, with what little sex there was, the scenes didn’t have the initial pace to withstand my need to reread sentences to try to make sense of the words within them.
Overall, this is a book that I did enjoy but I feel that it was down to the skill of the writer rather than the plot. The descriptive style of writing both helped and hindered my enjoyment of the tale but I am definitely picking up the next one. With two deeply scarred individuals learning to love again amongst a background of cute side-characters and animals, I was bound to have a good time reading it.


Nix

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