Title: Wyoming Tough
Author: Diana Palmer
May Contain Spoilers
A cowboy through and through, ranch owner Mallory Kirk knows what it means to put in a full day’s work. But does his new cowgirl? He has his doubts that Morie Brannt will be able to pull her own weight, even if the petite young woman does seem to have a lot of spirit.
As they spar over events at the ranch and a past that threatens their hopes for the future, sparks begin to fly, and Mallory can’t help but notice Morie in a new light. But is this tough Wyoming man ready to love?
I haven’t read a Diana Palmer book in ages, so when I saw this one, I was eager to check it out. When I was younger I loved her books, and I think I have read most of her series romances. I fervently hunted down her backlist, and devoured every one that I found, so I was sad that this new book left me disappointed. Most of the characters were flat and one-dimensional, and the age difference between Morie and Mallory turned me off.
Morie is the daughter of a wealthy Texas rancher, and all she wants to do is work on the spread with her father. Her father forbids her from doing any ranch chores because that’s the job for a man, so the strong-willed girl packs her bags and takes a job in Wyoming. Working for Mallory and his brothers, she keeps her real identity a secret, in addition to keeping her parents in the dark as to where she’s working. She’s afraid that if her father tracks her down, he’ll drag her back home, and she doesn’t want to kiss this chance at independence goodbye.
I liked Morie, and I wanted her to be successful in her quest to discover herself. She gets sidetracked by her gruff boss, Mallory, who lets her know quite plainly that she has a lot to prove to him before he’ll cut her any slack. Since Mallory didn’t treat Morie with much respect, I had a hard time liking him. His girlfriend, Gelly, led him around by the nose, and that gave me another reason to hope that Morie would hook up with one of his brothers instead. Mallory didn’t come across as a very intelligent, or compassionate man, and at the beginning of the book it seemed that he allowed Gelly to form all of his opinions for him. I quickly grew frustrated with his inability to see his girlfriend for what she really was; a fortune-hunter who was only interested in him because of his money.
Because of Mallory’s less than ideal treatment of her, I had a hard time getting behind Morie’s attraction for him. Mallory and her father were cut from the same mold, and since she went to all of the trouble to get away from one domineering man, I didn’t understand her willingness to fall for someone who was going to make her miserable. Since Morie showed more common sense than Mallory, I was surprised when she was willing to pursue a relationship that went against everything she set out to accomplish for herself. It also irritated me that Mallory was so compliant where Gelly was concerned – he is supposed to be a savvy rancher, but he was on the verge of making several disastrous business decisions just to get Gelly to shut up. Dude, get a clue!
Even though I found the story very predictable and the characters one-dimensional, I still found it hard to put the book down. I was curious to see how far Mallory’s train-wreck of a relationship would go with Gelly, as well as how Gelly was going to get her well-deserved comeuppance. While parts of the story had me rolling my eyes in disbelief, other parts were compelling and kept me engaged in the book.
Review copy provided by publisher