Meanwhile, Hutch Carmody has grown up as the pampered legitimate son of the same man and he fully expected to inherit everything so it was something of a shock when his father's will was read and the property was passed to both men. Given the different ways that they were treated by their father there was already quite a difficult relationship between the two men and this development does not make it any easier!
Now Slade is the local town sheriff. He has always grown up having to watch all his pennies and so to suddenly be independently very wealthy is a nice problem to have. Unfortunately though, he has a few other things on his mind. Firstly, he isn't sure if he wants to continue as Sheriff but doesn't really like the only other person who might want the role. His ex-stepdaughter has also decided that she needs to come and live with Slade and given that he currently lives in a one bedroom apartment that means finding somewhere else to live .... quickly! And the final complication - the gorgeous woman who has just returned to town after years away who he can't keep out of his mind.
Joslyn Kirk grew up in Parable but left town following a huge scandal when her stepfather ripped off many of the locals in a dodge investment scheme. Whilst Parable has always been 'home', she feels very uncomfortable returning to town to stay with her best friend because she knows that she will meet up with many people whose lives were ruined by her stepfather. She has, however, been doing her best to make amends.
When Slade and Joslyn meet up again, sparks fly and it is almost inevitable that they will come together. I must say I was surprised how long it took for the two of them to act upon their attraction to each other.
It is not uncommon for me to enjoy reading the hero's story more than the heroine and this was no exception. I loved reading about Slade. He was a quiet man, careful in nearly every regard, a man of honour who loved fully as evidenced by the fact that he was more than willing to be Dad to his former step-daughter, Shea and to bring her into his life when she needed him.
Joslyn was a little more problematic for me. I understood why she felt the need to make restitution to the victims of the investment fraud despite the fact that it really wasn't her responsibility. She had built up a successful computer business which she had supposedly sold which is why she had the money to do what she was doing, but it didn't make sense to me that she would coming back to the town with no plan other than to temporarily work as the receptionist in her friend's real estate business.
Speaking of the friend, Kendra, there is a definite story between her and Hutch and I look forward to reading their story in the next Parable, Montana book, Big Sky Mountain.
Recently I posted about one of the latest popular trends in Australian publishing which is known as either rural lit or even chook lit. I also recently read one of these books and so as I was reading this one I found myself contemplating what are the differences between rural lit and books like these which could be seen as the American equivalent. One of the big differences would appear to be the way they are marketed as the rural lit books here are being promoted as mainstream fiction rather than romance, so whilst a rural lit book would be found in the fiction section of the bookstore whereas this book would be relegated to the romance section if the store had one.
Another marketing difference is the fact that pretty much all of the rural lit books here have women on the cover whereas all of the contemporary western romances I have read by this author have had men on the cover.
In terms of the content of the book it is probably unfair to compare Linda Lael Miller to someone who has just had her second book published and also the whole genre given that I have only read one rural lit book in the last few years.. There is definitely a smoothness and confidence to Miller's writing, and definitely differences in the voices with the Australian author trying very hard to make sure that the voice is unmistakably Aussie, maybe trying too hard. I have a few more books here to read in the rural lit genre so I will be trying to compare the two different types of books a bit more in future.
To summarise, this is another solid read from Linda Lael Miller, and was a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours without being completely exceptional.
The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller is back with a new series about Parable, Montana-where love awaits. 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.