Reviewed by Helyce
Vicki Hansol has lived her whole life under the town’s scrutiny. Her mother and sister have terrible reputations and the assumption is that Vicki must be the same way. But it’s not true at all. She wants nothing more than to get out of town and have a life away from the rumors. When a job opportunity arises that will give her that chance, she wants nothing more to accept. But first she’ll need to get over one of her biggest fears.
While Joel Coleman has a similar kind of reputation, his is looked on in such a different way. He and his twin, Jesse, are known for their female conquests and the fact that they often shared their women. But Joel is tired of that and he’s been trying hard to grow up and break away from that lifestyle, much to his brother Jesse’s dismay. He sees the relationships that his older brothers have and he sees them with their children and he knows that one day that is what he wants too.
No one is more surprised than Joel himself when pretty Vicki Hansol approaches him one day with a proposition. She needs to overcome her fear of horses and she thinks Joel is just the man to do it. It’s no secret that Joel has noticed Vicki before and he jumps on the chance to help her out, but he’s got a proposition all his own.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Ms. Arend’s Six Pack Ranch series. And with each story I am pulled further into the world that she has created here. Joel’s story surprised me; it was not what I expected at all for him and I am thrilled with the direction the author took his journey. Vicki was also a surprise and really just perfect for Joel.
In the earlier books, Joel, along with his twin brother Jesse were portrayed as your basic man whores. They were proud of their reputations and used it to their advantage, carousing and bedding lots of willing women. Somewhere along the way, Joel decided he was done with this lifestyle and it was time to grow up and start being a man he could be proud of. He took his ranch work more seriously, and was avoiding the “party” scene to the best of his ability. I loved seeing this change in Joel. I had wondered what the author would do with the twins; how she would give them their story or stories and I incorrectly assumed that a menage was in order. As that would have been my least favorite outcome, I was thrilled that was not the direction she took.
I loved Vicki as well. This is a young woman who has spent her life cleaning up after a mother and sister. The town assumes she’s a slut-she must be if her mother and sister are. But even under the negativity of a small town, Vicki does not fall into that life. She lets people say what they want and make their assumptions, and she does not let it deter her from her plan to be better and do more with her life. She is smart, has an awesome sense of humor and when an opportunity presented itself, she did what she had to do to see her dream realized.
The author treats us to some lovely surprises where this couple is concerned as well and I loved how they were given to us. Vicki has a secret and when Joel leans it, it changes everything. Their romance is perfectly drawn out and moves in slow steps much like the way Joel deals with Vicki’s fear of horses. It was not difficult to love this couple.
I disliked the changes in Jesse’s character. Joel and Jesse have always been close and while I understand Jesse’s feelings toward the change in the brotherly relationship as Joel starts getting closer to Vicki, I was very confused by it. Why wouldn’t Jesse be happy for Joel? The author has always expressed that this is a family that sticks together and the strong family values displayed through the series have been one of my favorite points. I would have liked just a little bit more interaction with Jesse and Joel and maybe a hint of why the situation bothered Jesse so much. I don’t think it was jealousy; Jesse’s negative reactions were much too strong for simple jealousy. I think something else is going on; something big.
And then there is Travis. I love Travis. In each book, his character has left me with more questions than the one before. Travis has some major issues, but from book one he has been mine. I need to know his secrets and I want to understand him and I especially want him to be happy. The author has strung us along in many ways, hinting and then confusing us. I don’t even speculate anymore. I have decided to just wait for his book.
A perfect addition to this series, I definitely recommend to fans of contemporaries with hot cowboys and strong family ties. I would also recommend reading in order for continuity purposes.