The Cowboy and the City Slicker.
On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.
With his sister, Ashley, niece, Kirsten and nephew, Josh, in tow, he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life on Crooked Tree Ranch.
Foreman and part owner of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Todd has been running the dude ranch, for five years ever since his mentor Marcus Allen became ill.
His brothers convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the business grow. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow – he just isn’t prepared for how much.
Okay…. I’m in love with the whole family!
Nate is the oldest of the brother’s that run Crooked Tree Ranch. He’s broody and reserved, and he’s had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders since losing both parents and having to take care of so much at barely adult age. He’s doing it though, with the help of two awesome brothers and a couple of ol’ ranch hands that are more like family…. Even the surly, old, foul-mouthed Henry that you can’t help but love, despite his old timey views of the world and what’s acceptable. I hated him until he saw some page time, and he’s like that grandpa that says all the wrong things, but you have to love him anyway, cuz he’s grandpa.
Anyway…The Crooked Tree is losing profit since dude ranches are all about commodity and the illusion of actually being on a dude ranch, instead of the way they do it on CT; so, when they decide to run an add for a marketing guru to come in and spruce up the place.
Jay just got fired from his job in New York; downsizing, I guess. Either way, he’s working one day and gone the next. Taking care of his big sister and her two kids since she was in an abusive relationship though, he can’t afford to be out of a job….especially in New York. He tries just about everything he can to find work, but when nothing pans out; he sees an opening at a Dude Ranch in Montana. Waaaay different life than life in New York.
It’s rough going at first…. Jay’s niece Kristen is a nightmare, Ashley (the sister) is wary of the guys, even though Gabe, the middle brother takes a very special interest in the little family (seriously, he’s so cute) and Jay and Nate do NOT get along….. until they do.
Their relationship is rocky and starts off as nothing more than physical, but it was a given, seeing how much these guys actually were into each other and trying to hide it. Nate surprised me, I thought he would be harder to convince to want “more”, but he fell for Jay swift and vicious.
I loved the relationship between the brothers, I loved the relationship between both families, and the way they all came together. I’m anxious to see what happens with Markus, even though, his surliness wasn’t my favorite and I didn’t know how to take him; he really feels like he’s keeping secrets and I don’t like that. I was also hoping for a more karmic punch in the face for the ex who hurt the nephew and sister. I hope his plane crashed on his way home or something…but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the family.
4 well deserved stars from me!
A man without memories, and the cop who never gave up hope.
When he wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a brutal beating, John Doe has no memories of who he is or who hurt him. The cops can find nothing to identify him and he can’t remember anything to help… except the name Ethan and one recurring place from his dreams. Two words, and they’re not much, but it’s a start: Crooked Tree.
Detective Ethan Allens has never stopped searching for the two boys who vanished. When a report lands on Ethan’s desk that may give new leads, he jumps at the chance to follow them up. The man he finds isn’t his brother, but it’s someone who could maybe help him discover what happened twelve years ago.
What neither man can know is that facing the very real demons of the past could destroy any kind of future they may have together.
Okay, so I’m not big into the whole amnesia trope. It gets too angsty for me, and I can’t deal… In saying that… this one is by far my favorite. I absolutely adored Adam and Ethan!
If you’ve read the first one, you’ll know that Adam ran away 12 years ago, just a teenager, with his best friend Justin, who happened to be Ethan’s brother. They were all like one big family, having grown up on the Crooked Tree Ranch together, but Adam and Ethan had always had a connection unlike the other boys. They loved each other, even from a young age, they knew they loved each other; but something happened and Justin and Adam fled. Ethan never gave up hope of finding them, though almost everyone else did. Especially their fathers. Well, Ethan and Justin’s anyway, Markus.
When a badly beaten John Doe comes up as a red-flagged, it gets pinged to Ethan who’s a cop in Missoula. Hoping and praying it’s his missing brother, he literally runs right that minute to jump on a plane and go see for himself. Sadly, it isn’t, but it is his lost love, Adam.
Unfortunately, Adam has no memory of anything prior to waking up in the hospital and has no idea where he’s been or who he was with the last twelve years. Doesn’t even know why he ran. Ethan wanted answers, of course he did. He still hoped he’d find his brother alive, and Adam has all the answers, he just doesn’t know them yet.
As Ethan takes Adam back to the Ranch that they both called home for so long, hoping to help his memory fill in it’s blanks, he never wavers in his love for Adam. He felt it way back when and he still feels it now. And even though Adam knows that he feels it too, he wants to make sure he’s able to have a life with Ethan before he tells him. He wants the memories back so he can know without a doubt that he can love him without anything hanging over their heads. It’s admirable….
Now, these books are loooooong, and I wanted to know everything right then, but I didn’t skip ahead… it kept me interested the entire time. That’s rare for me, as longer books are harder to keep my attention and I tend to skim. Not here. I needed everything and I was so afraid of missing something. Nothing made sense when it came to why the boys left and had to stay gone. When we find out why, or the suspected reason why, it made sense…. Kind of, although maybe a little unbelievable… but maybe just because I live in a small town where stuff like that only happens in the movies… I dunno….
Anyway, the pieces slowly started coming together and I enjoyed meeting Adam’s brother Cole, I was happy he remembered him. And hello, hot Navy SEAL…. Nice of you to join us! We got to see all the guys, Nate and Jay, and such a sweet little tidbit from Gabe and Ashley… I liked seeing Luke and Kristen together, I’m curious to see how that goes, being that they’re so young.
I felt for Ethan and Justin’s dad, Markus. I wasn’t so sure of him in the beginning. I hated the way he seemed to just give up on Ethan in favor of his failed hope to ever find Justin. They had a strained relationship, and it was nice to see why Markus was the way he was. I couldn’t imagine losing a child and just not knowing where they were, or if they were even dead or alive. That has to be a parents personal hell.
Overall though, and since the book is already out, it won’t be such a spoiler… Justin is in fact, not dead and my heart was hammering in the small two lines that he came back and I cannot wait to jump into his story. I want to know more, to fill in the blanks of where they’ve been and why… And hello, another hot soldier… don’t mind if I do! And with Sam, the Chef? I literally just finished that one and am not even taking a break, I’m itching to get to it.
The only thing I didn’t care for, was at the end, Ethan is going back to Missoula to work and coming home when he can, while Adam stays at the ranch… I wanted them to ride off in the sunset together and that doesn’t include a long-distance relationship… sigh…. I hope they get it together in Justin’s book.
(Lookit me being all emotionally invested and irrational)
4 stars for me on this one… Definitely, recommend!
One burned and broken man finds his way home. Can he find peace in the arms of a man easy to love?
Justin made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, battling domestic terrorism, never the man he really was, using hate to avenge the death of his best friend. The friend he’d killed.
What he doesn’t count on is getting shot, and if he’s going to die he wants it to be on Crooked Tree soil. Home.
Sam is as much a part of Crooked Tree as any of the families, and the offer to buy into the ranch is a dream come true. But falling for a hidden, secretive, injured man isn’t the way to keep his head in the game.
Holy drama and angst… I was not ready.
Okay, I was actually so ready, I couldn’t wait to finally get Justin home!!
Although I felt like a bit of it was too far-fetched, I guess it made for a good reason why he was gone like he was. As we know from the beginning, Adam and his bestie Justin had gone missing 12 years ago and nobody knew where they went or what had happened to them. When Adam pops up with amnesia and no recollection of his life, only the name of a ranch and random name in his head… he makes his way with Ethan (Justin’s brother) back to the ranch and Justin finds out that he’s actually alive.
After being told that he was dead and lead to a life of danger and murder for hire from some form of government agency… the last twelve years had been a lie. After finding out and having what amounts to a shoot out with the only people who knows who he is, he somehow makes it back to the ranch, although hidden, but back home, to die. Quite literally, I hurt for him so bad, the things he’d been through and the life that was taken from him. His best friend, his brothers, his family….He’d been lied to about all of it, so seeing them all, knowing they were okay, he was prepared to die.
Then comes Sam…. Now, I loved Sam. Flirty and sassy and so lonely; had been working on the ranch at the restaurant, looking for a place to belong. Having a terrible family who turned their back on him, he made a sort of home out of the family of all the guys we’ve gotten to know and love. Being around all of those loved up couples though, I could see where it would be lonely.
After finding that someone was sneaking into the restaurant after hours, he follows the blood trail to one of the vacant cabins, and finds a very sick, very injured Justin… though he doesn’t know him to be Justin, and to keep him safe, Justin makes him swear not to tell anyone, nor does he tell him his name. Foruntaly, he’s too hurt for just Sam to take care of, so he brings Gabe, who brings Ethan who brings the rest of the crew, and they all get Justin back… kind of.
He’s bent on leaving to keep everyone safe, but he’s in no shape to go anywhere for a while. Sam, as well as the rest of the guys take shifts nursing back to health, but all he really wants is Sam. The rest, everyone one else wants answers, answers that Justin cant’ give them… especially Adam. He’s better of not knowing. I truly believed that too. What they went through was torture. He was once again protecting Adam, and trying to protect everyone else…. Through all of it though, Sam was there just for him.
I see everyone talking about how this one wasn’t so much romantic as the others, but I disagree…I think the way Justin needed Sam was very romantic, and the way in which Sam gave to him, with no exceptions, no real idea who he really was, just how he felt, with such patience and understanding and no conditions…. That was very romantic. How can you say otherwise? I loved it.
Of course, Justin was determined to leave, to keep people out of harms way and to seek the last person on this revenge list…. But after the threat of everything is over…. And it’s not just that easy, but come on… I can’t give it all away… he comes back for his family, his home….. and hopefully Sam.
Though it isn’t so cut and dry, they do get there in the end. I was so glad that the two of them found their way to each other and I love the way that Sam helps Justin heal, and Justin gives Sam the family that he’s been missing since he was 15.
Overall, such a great addition, I can’t wait to read more. I’m hoping to maybe see some more of Rob, and maybe Ryan and Aaron… (Aaron Carter, haha), whoever’s next.. I can’t wait to see! We have weddings in the near future to see!
4 stars from me on this one!
An actor in the closet, a sheriff in love, and memories that won’t stay hidden.
Jordan Darby is known as the King of Christmas. The star of eight made-for-TV Christmas movies, the leading man who always gets his girl. Filming at Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana, in the ice and snow, Jordan is fighting to make a go of his new company and dealing with fears of exposure over one huge secret. After all, who the hell would buy into him being a romantic straight lead if rumors about him being gay were proven to be true?
Sheriff Ryan Carter is advising on the new movie being made at Crooked Tree. He hoped this would be one day of work and nothing more. Until, that is, he meets the hero. But while Jordan is sexy, he’s also very much stuck in the closet—everything that Ryan doesn’t need in his life. And then lust becomes part of the equation, and Ryan’s quiet life is thrown into turmoil.
Their story unfolds against the chaos that overtakes the ranch, with Adam regaining memories that terrify him and make him look at Justin differently, and Justin leaving the ranch to make things right. Only through trusting in love and friendship can Justin and Adam learn to look to the future instead of letting the past destroy everything. But will they ever see clearly enough to do that?
Sigh… these books just keep getting better.
I was so in love with Justin and Adam story as best friends torn apart by a childhood trauma that nobody could really explain. So, I was glad that we get to see them in this one; to get their continued stories in each point of view…. Back to that in a minute…
So, if you’re reading this one, then I’m assuming you’ve read the others. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing…..and go do it. You won’t regret it. So, after reading the others, you’ll know Ryan, the Sherriff of small-town Montana, and friend of the guys of Crooked Tree, is lonely. Six-five and intimidating on the outside, you’d never guess that he’s a big ol’ softy with lowish self-esteem and a big ol’ heart. You couldn’t not love him.
And Jordan, he’s new… an actor that his brother and their team had requested to shoot their Christmas movie on the ranch. A closeted B-list actor, Jordan was the king of Christmas movies made for tv, and he and his brother had sunk all of their inheritance into making their own production company. That meant for the next few years until Jordan made a bigger name for himself, he’d need to keep a lid on his sexuality, especially since he’d been playing hetero parts his entire career.
Unfortunately, things aren’t always as easy as we’d like them to be, and there was a guy who came around to cause trouble, but I was surprised that nothing really happened with that. The angst and turmoil came from Justin and Adam really. While the guys did have to juggle a somewhat long-distance relationship at one point, it didn’t get much page time and it got resolved fairly quickly. I was glad to see that.
Back to Adam and Justin…. I admired Justin courage to do what he needed to do for Adam. It had to be so hard on him. I loved seeing a new side to him, where he was all emotion and vulnerability. I adored Sam and his unwavering love for Justin. No matter what, he was there for him, no question; even if it meant leaving his home, his business and everything he’d worked so hard for. He’d do whatever Justin needed, no hesitation. Isn’t that beautiful?
I was a little bit confused about Luke and Kirstin…. It was mentioned that there was unrequited love there, but I thought from literally all of the books that they were together. What did I miss there???
Other than that… I loved it all. I loved seeing all the guys and how their families are expanding and growing with each other. Everyone is happy and healthy and together, and back on Crooked Tree.
You can’t ask for better than that. I’m so excited to read Aaron (Ryan’s brother) next!!!
4 stars from me!
Book #5 – Second Chance Ranch – Out August 28 – All Info Here.
RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.
She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.
The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.
She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:
Email RJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)