She’ll do anything to get him to see her as a woman…
Feisty, fearless Ellie McFarlane has tried forever to get cattle station manager, Rick Drummond, to notice she’s not another cowhand. So when her gal pals talk her into glamming up for an Outback Bachelor and Spinster ball she’s eager to prove she’s all woman, all the time, and leave her boneheaded cowboy eating dust.
Sexy wrangler Rick is crazy about Ellie just as she is but her father – his boss – told him long ago that his daughter was off limits. Even though she’s all grown up now, Rick still feels it’s his job is to protect her, not seduce her. Plus, he’s finally got an opportunity to buy back his family farm, which means moving far away.
Ellie’s transformation from Cinder-Ellie to belle of the ball has Rick’s jaw dropping – and all the other cowboys falling at her feet. Ellie tries to revel in her new-found sex-pot status but without Rick it’s a hollow victory. Has Rick left it too late to claim the only woman he’ll ever truly love…
It was a given that I would really like this trilogy, considering three of the best contemporary romance authors around collaborated on it.
It’s sort of a dream come true for a lot of readers to have Joan Kilby, Karina Bliss and Sarah Mayberry do a series, as their stories FEEL contemporary, their characters are so realistic, and they’re not trying to package younger adults into the neat little rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes corner of the genre the way too much category romance does.
It must be a nightmare trying to figure out a collaboration, especially with the characters in this one so closely linked, and the stories happening at the same time!
These are shorter stories, and this one involves two people who have known each other since adolescence. It’s a friends to lovers story, but with two people who have wanted each other for a long time. Our heroine, feeling rejected, has spent the past six years working in the United States, but now she’s home for good.
The great things about these stories, and apparently particularly about authors writing stories set in Australia, are numerous. One is that they have rounded lives, which involves close friendships with people of their own gender – and how wonderful to have a series that is based on female friendships rather than a gang of interchangeable studs!
Another is that the characters speak like people of their age, even when that means they’re a bit cruder. This is believable dialogue.
In this case, yes the heroine is returning to her roots, but not because she failed in the big city, or because she has a desperate need to open a quilting shop (see: pretty much all contemporary romance at the moment). She has ambitions that take her home, instead of her needing to go there because she failed elsewhere.
Also nice to read about familiar places and to see references to places like Gundagai, which is just down the road from me.
I have my usual complaint about the language, which is a direct result of the romance industry being so US-centric. It is a terrible balance authors are always trying to strike, making the thoughts and dialogue realistic without alienating American readers. Even so here, with Australian and Kiwi authors writing a series set in Australia, things have been changed!
It’s an arse, and it’s a mobile phone. Petrol goes in cars. We have the metric system, and I’m the same age as the hero and I have NO idea what distance a yard is. No way would either character give distances in yards or miles!
However, I really have nothing negative to say about the story, the characters, the anything. Novellas are hard to pull off, because they require a shorter timeframe, which means much less time to convince us of the relationship. I think I was convinced here.
Now to move onto the other two in the series.
Review copy provided by the authors.