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All of this author's books under the Anna Jeffrey name were really good reads, especially her "Love Of A Cowboy" and "Love Of A Stranger". Both books I have read several times and found them enjoyable. "Man Of The West" was good, but not in the same class as the books under the Anna Jeffrey name. Some how I could not connect with the main female character and the Jake Strayhorn just never seemed to develop for me. I was never quite sure what all his issues were and how he was handling his life. Yes, the author mentioned some issues, however I could not seem to understand what he was really all about. The romance was a bit tepid too. Just not the book I expected.
First of all, I DESPERATELY wanted to LOVE this book. I pre-ordered it the minute I read the synopsis. It had everything I love in a romance: cowboys, lawmen, and did I mention cowboys and lawmen? Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of romance between Jolie and Jake. It was more that she had a girlish crush on him and he kept yammering on about wanting to protect her. In Chapter 27 of a 30 chapter book she "thinks" he likes her. Umm, if she don't know at that point, forget it. Another thing is their conversations were just boring. One was like, "Nice apartment. You keep it clean." There was no sexual tension between the two of them, Jake didn't spend his time sexually fantasizing about her, just about how she brought out the protective instincts in him. *Yawn*
This book is way too convoluted. There are storylines with four different couples going on! I don't feel Maise and J.D.'s relationship was really settled, she just moved on. Also, from the cover you were led to believe that Jake had no idea what Jolie was running from. In the book, near the very beginning, he states that her cousin told him Jolie was running from an abusive ex, so he does know. Even with all of that, I can't give the book a high rating because Callahan committed the one cardinal sin of romance: Jolie actually uttered the words "is it always that good?" after sex. UGH! Has she been channeling Diana Palmer?
Another problem I had with the book was the constant mention of the return of Jolie's ex. The foreshadowing began almost from the beginning of the book, and we knew Billy would be back. Yeah, he came back, got hit over the head with some groceries and was arrested. Whoopee! Danni, the child of a supposedly abusive environment had no trouble making friends and everybody loved her. I don't know how realistic that is. And it annoyed the chaw out of me that EVERYBODY LOVED Jolie's cooking. Why I bet she could make a delicious, family sized casserole out of rice and a copy of Cosmo! I did get a huge laugh out of the fact that Jolie described her bleach blonde hair as looking like a "haystack". How attractive. I did like one couple, and that was Pat and Suzanne, and I liked the fact that there was a romance between older folks in their 60's. I started out liking Maise and J.D., but she manipulated him and that ruined it for me. Callahan needs to stop writing characters that are instantly loved by all. It's not realistic and it's incredibly boring.
I agree with previous reviewer. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of this author's previous books, this one fell flat for me. There was very little really centered around the two supposed main characters. Too much other storyline devoted to other characters in the book. Jolie was supposed to be on the run from an abusive husband but the story was not very believable. At times she was secretive yet at other times she was very open about her past life. It took too long for the relationship between Jolie and Jake to develop and then was not very smoldering. The back cover was deceiving. I was so looking forward to the release of this book and was really disappointed.