Transforming their parents’ rundown ranch in Catcher Creek, New Mexico, into a tourist destination is the toughest challenge the three Sorentino sisters ever faced. But now one of them has another fight on her hands—to keep from falling for the sexy town sheriff—again…Rachel Sorentino has spent her whole life protecting her siblings from trouble—only to run headlong into it herself. Her first regret about shooting at the vandals targeting her family is that her aim wasn’t better. Her second is that when bullets started flying, it was Sheriff Vaughn Cooper’s number she dialed. Vaughn is the mistake she keeps on making, a cowboy lawman who cuts through Rachel’s surface bravado to the vulnerability no one else sees. And no matter how inconvenient their attraction—for his career, her tangled case, and their already battered hearts—there’s no denying what feels so irresistibly right…
FTC: I requested this from NetGalley, but I love Melissa’s work. She is also a gem to work with. Make of that what you will.
So, this is the second in the cowboy series that first introduced me to this lady’s work. Darker, with a deeper suspense thread, this one is a very different book to the previous story. With a truly horrible bad-guy, two self-sacrificing lead characters and a whole heap of backwards logic, I was truly hoping that the two lead characters could overcome their nearly impossible situation and live happily ever after. Of course, those impossible circumstances helped create the tension that kept me hooked…
The chemistry between the two characters literally flows off the page. Together, I thought they fit seamlessly and this was shown in moments that proved what a lovely relationship they could have. The sex scenes were wonderfully kinky and hot, the leading man seeming to have a fetish for using cowboy related tools to restrain his lovely lady (a scene in a barn is a particularly memorable addition to the book in all the right ways ;D). Apart is where the problems lay for our couple, their overactive sense of responsibility meaning that there was always a reason that the relationship wouldn’t work. I honestly wanted to smash their heads together. At the start of the book, the reason for their separation is the fact that he is the leading officer in the case against her. That I got. Then everyone knew about them and suddenly the reasons became more convoluted. The stem of it all was, in their heads, they couldn’t have happiness as they were both solely responsible for everything that had ever gone wrong in their lives… ever. This led to the aforementioned violent thoughts towards these fictional characters.
Vaughn was a solid alpha hero. Tasked to try to prove that Rachel is innocent, he knows that he can’t get involved with her without having to remove himself from the case. Of course, chemistry over-powers them and they end up with a few rather saucy encounters. They never seemed to quite work it out though and I agreed with his Father’s assessment of the situation (you shall see) and don’t believe that he tried too hard to make it work. He was more than happy to share her bed, but whenever it got a little bit rocky he was more than happy to see her push him away. I didn’t get it. It wasn’t an endearing trait and he frustrated me… well, until the pie 😀 Rachel was equally frustrating. Blaming herself for her mother’s suicide, she then took that to mean she should never be happy herself and live exclusively for everyone else. I loved her with Vaughn, and loved her spunk at the beginning of the book (although I shed a little tear at that scene), but individually she was too much of a martyr not to annoy me. It is very frustrating as a reader when the H/h are apart simply because they refuse to recognise that which is obvious to everyone else in the book. I say frustrating but it certainly keeps the pages turning.
The side plots were exactly that; they didn’t take up too many pages, they kept the suspense level high and they pushed the romance plot along nicely. I read romance for romance and this book was the right balance of romance and suspense to keep me happy. The sex scenes were beyond steamy, an element of kink introduced that I really did not expect from Sheriff Vaughn! Honestly, there was very little not to like about this book.
This book is one I know I will reread. The alpha hero, the cowboy kink and the suspense are all things that I can read again and again whilst still enjoying. Melissa Cutler has, once again, produced a cowboy book that I can adore.