Genre: MM Romance, Explicit
Title: Crooked Tree Ranch
Author: R.J. Scott
Release Date: 16 November 2015
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.
What I Liked:
At 193 pages, this book is fairly short, but the the author really gets a lot done! The characters are fully developed, and the plot moves along at a nice pace. The romance isn’t insta-love, but rather builds on the instant attraction and chemistry of the leads. Jay and Nate have a sort of opposites attract story, but they aren’t so opposite as to be an unbelievable couple.
I liked that this book didn’t get bogged down in angst. In a story dealing with employment troubles, financial troubles, learning disabilities, and past abuse, enough is said to get the gravity of these situations across without becoming depressing. Sometimes romance novels forget the ‘romance’ bit and turn into a series of sad, angry, despair-filled scenes followed by love magically fixing everything. This book manages to avoid that by having very logical, no-nonsense characters and taking a realistic view of how the problems presented in the story could be handled.
What I Didn’t:
I wish that Jay’s sister, Ashley, was given a bit more on-page development. It would actually be a nice bonus if the author were to write a novella chronicling her side of the story.
It was kind of cheesy that all 3 brothers (Nate, Gabe, and Luke) got together with people in the Sullivan family. I mean, it was cute and I liked it, but it was cheesy and sappy, and I hate that I liked it.
Also, the bit about the old, problematic ranch hand seemed to be fixed a bit too easily. Maybe adding a few more pages to deal with that situation more thoroughly would have helped.
This was a really sweet story. I liked the characters, and I liked that they didn’t make stupid decisions or have an overabundance of miscommunication. I like romance novels dealing with children, and it was great to see Jay helping to raise his sister’s children, since you pretty much only ever see single parents with no support system in these type of stories. This book was pretty short, but it definitely wasted no time getting hung up with too much of the oh-so-common romance-angst while still keeping a engaging plot and a satisfying romance.
My Rating: 3.5/5 (definitely reading the sequel)