03 Jun '14

A Nix Review : Branded by Laura Wright (4 Stars)

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Branded by Laura Wright
Series: Cavanagh Brothers #1
Published by Penguin on 2014-06-03
Genres: Cowboys, Suspense
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
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In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers....

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.

FTC : I requested this for a fair and honest review from NetGalley. I liked the cowboy on the cover 😀

This is the start of a new series and I will most definitely be picking up the next in the series. With a brooding, mega-rich cowboy hero and a woman ranch manager, this story is a tale of strong people who fall in love when they really should be at war with each other. It was angsty, sexy and has an overarching series arc guaranteed to keep me reading.

Three prodigal sons return to the ranch where they grew up after their Father dies. Filled with misery and family secrets, it is a place they all left as soon as they could and have no desire to live at again. The main hero of our tale is Deacon, the eldest who now has all the money and is leading the charge to demolish their family home. James, the main character of the next book, is the most secretive of the brothers and Cole the MMA junkie who is possibly the most damaged of them all. Together, they have to decide what to do with the place where their sister was kidnapped and murdered many years ago, leaving their Mother mentally unwell and their Father a relative stranger.

The highlight of this book was not Deacon for me, it was Mac. Gone was the young girl with the massive crush on a teenaged Deacon and in her place was an incredibly strong Ranch manager who was willing to do anything to stop Deacon from tearing down her home. She was an incredible character who, able to separate business from affairs of the heart, was able to try to stop Deacon whilst giving into the temptation of sleeping with him. I adored the contrasting sides of her and I thought that it was very clever to have the softer, more romantic side of Mac revealed to us away from the everyday running of the ranch, when just the two of them are holed up together. When secrets to come out, I loved how she dealt with it all, how, even as her world was crumbling, she was able to stay strong and look for solutions.

Deacon was a bit more of a challenge. He had two sides too but, unlike with Mac, I didn’t really like one side of him. The arrogant business man who allowed all his decisions to be driven by the broken side of him was an absolute asshole. A seriously horrible man who stood up at a funeral to announce to all the employees that he was tearing down the ranch and they would all lose their jobs. The more vulnerable side of him was lovely and heart-breaking at the same time. He was lovely with Mac when they were alone and I enjoyed them together as a couple. When we started to hear more of his secrets, his choices started to make sense and I started to see him less as an asshole and more as broken (I say less but I still thought he was an asshole).

The sex scenes were the bits where I was nearly lost in this book and that’s something I never thought I’d say. I hate flowery sex talk and that was plentiful in this one. There was lots of talk of “honey”, even some “honey-suckle walls”, and that kind of talk just switches me completely off. Although both of them were vocal during sex about they want, (Yay for dirty-talkers) it was littered with flowery euphemisms that made me cringe.

I want to read more from this series. I want to know more about the murder of the Cavanagh’s sister, I want to know about James and Coles secrets and, finally, I want to see if these brothers can ever heal. If you like angsty romantic suspense, I think this is one to try.

four-stars

Nix

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