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Title: Three River Ranch
Author: Roxanne Snopek
Publisher: Entangled – Bliss
May Contain Spoilers
Needing a fresh start from her two-timing fiancé, Aurora McAllister answers a realtor’s ad for a guesthouse on the beautiful, serene Three River Ranch. She shows up at Three River tired, heartbroken, and with no one but her trusty Labradoodle as a companion. Cowboy Carson Granger has enough trouble in his life without adding a woman and her dog to the mix. There’s the untamed mustang he’s prepping to release into the wild, not to mention his father’s crazy will, which stipulates that if Carson wants to fully inherit Three River, he’ll need to find a bride. Carson wants nothing to do with love and especially not a marriage of convenience. But he soon realizes Rory, and everything she represents, might just be exactly what he needs. Sometimes love arrives on your doorstep when you least expect it…
Ah! A series romance with mustangs! How could I resist? Especially when Three River Ranch is a launch title for Entangled Publishing’s new Bliss line. I was most eager to start reading this one!
This is a nice introduction to the Bliss line. The story moves along at a rapid clip, and it reminded me of a Harlequin Romance. Just enough angst to propel the plot forward and softer sex scenes. A feisty heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and a slightly socially awkward hero to challenge her resolve to not get involved with men. I am not a big fan of baby books, so I wasn’t totally charmed to learn that Rory is pregnant, but her situation made her character more interesting. After being dumped by her two-timing fiancé, she is left to fend for herself, pregnant and jobless. When she rents a house on a ranch, she thinks her prayers have been answered. She’ll take a little time for herself, have her baby in a less stressful setting, and then make a life for herself and her child, all by herself. Men are heartless jerks and she’s better off without one.
It is with a great deal of dismay that Rory first sets eyes on her new home. The place is a complete dump, and it’s not fit for her to live in. Then she discovers that she actually rented the other dwelling on the property, which has been kept up since the death of the ranch’s owner, but that his estranged son, Carson, is back in town and he intends to living in the house. Oops! Perfect set up for lots of conflict between the protagonists. Like Rory, Carson wants nothing to do with a relationship. Women are too much trouble, and he has to focus his energy on his dream of establishing a mustang sanctuary. He doesn’t have the time or the money to waste on women. Well, except for that stupid clause in his father’s will. If Carson wants to inherit the ranch, which he desperately need for his horses, he has to get married. Pronto. So maybe Carson and Rory can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement what will get them both what they want. The land for Carson, and financial security for Rory.
I liked how large a part the animals played in the story. Rory has a service dog, and because of a heartbreaking event in her past, she wants to help families with children with disabilities obtain service animals, because she is firmly convinced that they make an impact on the lives of those families. Carson has rescued a pregnant mustang from certain death, and he is determined to nurse her back to health so she will be strong enough to deliver a healthy foal. The animals interacted with each other, which guaranteed that I remained engaged in the plot. Whenever an animal was part of a scene, the story rocked for me. When they weren’t, things got a little bogged down. Why? Because Carson could be a jerk. I had a hard time feeling any sympathy for him when he was acting like a spoiled child. He took his frustrations out on Rory, and if I were her, I would be running as far away from him as I could get. When even his best friend had to tell him he was a thoughtless douchebag, one had to wonder at how quickly he could turn over a new leaf. Carson constantly shifted blame for his bad behavior to his emotionally distant and demanding father. I wanted him to take ownership of himself and his actions, and it just took too long for his light blub moment.
Overall, I did enjoy Three River Ranch, with the reservations mentioned. This is the first Bliss title that I have read, and I am looking forward to sampling more of them.
Review copy provided by publisher