Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Sky Country - Linda Lael Miller (HQN - June 2012)

Series: Parable MT (Book 1) 

The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father...until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable, Montana. That doesn't sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody -- including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen, whom Slade has never forgotten.

But Joslyn is barely holding her head up these days as she works to pay back everyone her crooked stepfather cheated. With a town to protect, plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter, Slade has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she's responsible only for her own actions -- such as her effect on this lawman's guarded heart. 

I really liked this book.   It starts out with Slade and Hutch at the reading of the will.  Slade is a fairly laid back guy who is pretty slow to anger.  He also tends to think well before he speaks or acts.  He has always resented the fact that his father never acknowledged him or gave his mother any kind of support, but has made a good life for himself in spite of it.  Hutch is ticked that Slade has been given half of everything that he always expected to be his, and is determined to buy Slade out so he can have it back.  Every time the two of them are together the tension is up.  Joslyn has come back to Parable, which she still considers her home.  She is deeply ashamed of what her stepfather did, and sold her software company and used the money to confidentially repay the people he cheated.  There are some people who have welcomed her back, and others who haven't, but she still feels at home here.  She has also felt an immediate attraction to Slade, but doesn't expect anything to come of it.  Slade also feels the attraction and is very interested in seeing where it goes.  Slade also ends up with his teenage stepdaughter staying with him.  I loved seeing her and her interactions with people.  Slade is trying to curb her rebelliousness with work and rules, while Shea tries to get away with what she can.  She also seems to have no filter between brain and mouth and says some pretty interesting things to both Joslyn and Slade.  There are also some good scenes with the dog who adopts Slade and the cat that adopts Joslyn.  The dialogue in the book is great, with sarcasm and humor and tenderness all there. While there wasn't any really intense conflict in the book, there was enough emotion to really suck me in.  I'm looking forward to book two, which is Hutch and Kendra's story, and book three I expect will be that of Boone and probably Tara.

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