I’ve once again done that “pick up a book from anywhere around the house and see what happens” thing. This time worked out a little better than the laI’ve once again done that “pick up a book from anywhere around the house and see what happens” thing. This time worked out a little better than the last couple, but I still had a problem or two with it. First, the title should actually be “A Hard Woman to Love”. Yeah, I know, it’s not quite the same, but it sure does describe this book much better than its current title.
I realize that Montana has reasons for being so fierce about her independence, wanting to succeed and make it on her own. But the attraction between her and Steele is instantaneous, they’re going at it hot and heavy with minutes of meeting, which I found to be a little much, even for me. And though his presence comes at the right time and he does nothing but good for her and her business, she still resists letting him any further into her life. Sex is as far as she’s willing to let it go. For me, she takes it all too far and the wait for her change is too long, especially when she keeps enjoying the sex as much as she does. I felt she could have loosened up much sooner, because I don’t know that that many men would wait around nearly as long as Steele does, no matter how great the sex. And when her attitude adjustment does happen, she’s a totally different person and those last remaining pages are fun to read. She’s an intelligent woman. All of this should have occurred to her much earlier in the book.
Steele is the best part of the story. He comes to the dude ranch/spa as manager of the ranch under mysterious circumstances, but we learn that he’s not following his usual course while scoping out the place. Montana learns the same thing, but she just feels betrayed and refuses to listen to him. Just another reason for her to continue in the same vein against Steele, even when his efforts are all in her favor. I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Zeb and Helen and Steele’s brother, Sloan. The brothers’ parents, Rake and Angel, are also a lot of fun and boys’ reactions to them and their circumstances is a lot of fun.
I do want to read Sloan’s book, Wicked Night Games. I’m willing to see how things go there. As an aside, Ms. Lawless, please have someone work on your site. There’s some broken links and the continuity, especially with excerpt links, is so confusing, in different places on the page for each book though the pages are set up exactly the same. I didn’t look any further to check out other potential mishaps due to becoming somewhat frustrated with those things.
Without Montana’s turnaround coming sooner in this book, I just couldn’t grade it any higher.
Finally we come to the wedding couple who have been prominent figures throughout each book up to this point. Well, maybe not in the disaster of Book 2Finally we come to the wedding couple who have been prominent figures throughout each book up to this point. Well, maybe not in the disaster of Book 2, but close enough. Julia and Roman fell in love very quickly, which is what brought her sister to Texas to begin with. He’s nearly broke, sinking all of his money into the family winery while hoping everything works out. That’s exactly why Sydney thought he was after Julia for her money.
But after falling in love so quickly herself and getting to know Roman more, Sydney now realizes he’s a good man and her sister is lucky to have him. It’s Julia herself who is now having doubts. She thought they knew enough about one another to get married, even though she’s never told Roman more about her parents. He does a little about them, considering their fathers have a shaky past. Though she loves her mom and dad, they are quite classless and tacky, and the scenes that get this point across are actually pretty hilarious and priceless.
On top of this, Roman doesn’t seem to listen to Julia when she tells him what she wants and likes when it comes to the important things between them. The next she knows the entire wedding is on a downhill slide and it’s five days until the big day. They both have secrets they’ve never shared, feeling those secrets would be the deal breaker in their relationship. but when they finally come clean, only more doubt settles in. Choosing to postpone the wedding, Julia feels it’s better to wait, to really get to know each other, but will their love survive a longer engagement?
While I did enjoy this book, I was a little surprised at the direction it took after Julia being so stalwart in the first three books on how much she loves Roman and knows him plenty enough to get married. I kind of felt I’d wasted my time in all the previous reading. But I ended up being okay with it all because of the way Roman took care of things and gave me a fairly good ending. The other characters are still present a good part of the book, excluding Kiki - thank goodness! - so I’m pretty happy overall with this last book in the series.
When Cassie’s secret is revealed at the most inopportune time, her world crashes and burns one more time. Will is caught off guard and reacts in a wayWhen Cassie’s secret is revealed at the most inopportune time, her world crashes and burns one more time. Will is caught off guard and reacts in a way you’d expect when hit with such information. Determined to not let their breakup affect their business partnership, Cassie throws herself into managing their new restaurant, which has become the newest hit in the city. Slowly she reacquaints herself with the gentleman she left behind when it looked as though her life was finally headed in the right direction before everything went to hell.
S.E.C.R.E.T.’s latest recruit is Solange, a local news anchor who is divorced, living for her son and her job. As with Dauphine’s story, I’m happy to say the fantasies are still new and imaginative, and Solange welcomes the reawakening she experiences with each one. What I haven’t told you so far is that the women receive a charm to attach to a bracelet they receive from the S.E.C.R.E.T. committee when they agree to become part of the association. There are ten charms in all for the ten steps necessary to achieve the desired goal. They take pride in gaining each charm, especially when they realize what the fantasies do for them, as well as take pride in wearing their bracelets as they fill it with the charms. A very nice touch to remind them of their time with S.E.C.R.E.T.
As for Cassie and Will, yes, the man finally comes to his senses, realizes what he’s so effortlessly thrown away. I really like his resolution to end the distance between him and Cassie, showing her how wrong he was in the best way possible. My only nitpick is I feel this is left a bit too late. We don’t get much of Will and Cassie together throughout the story arc, so I would have liked them together a bit more before the end. But we have come to know them quite well through the pages of each book, so that’s only a small nitpick.
We get to know a number of the women of S.E.C.R.E.T, and my favorite is Matilda, the woman in charge. She’s upfront, knows herself and what she wants though she has restraint when it comes to those wants, and she’s a shrewd businesswoman. Cool under pressure when things go wrong and a friend you’d want at your back throughout life. I also like that in this book, Ms. Adeline trips up a fantasy, making it quite realistic when the characters have to improvise. Though even if that hadn’t happened, S.E.C.R.E.T. does their homework and prep work to make sure all fantasies go off without a hitch.