Monday, 3 May 2010

Review – Six Pack Ranch Bk2: Rocky Mountain Haven © Vivian Arend

 

Rocky Mountain Haven
Author: Vivian Arend

Publisher – Liquid Silver

Genre – Contemporary western

Buylink

Welcome to the Six Pack Ranch, where learning to live again takes some sensual twists.
Beth Danube has escaped to a small Alberta town to make a new start for herself and her three little boys. Her emotionally abusive husband may be dead and buried, but so is her heart. What she doesn’t want is another man in her life—not now, maybe not ever. Yet when her libido reawakens after ten years of unsatisfactory sex in the missionary position is any woman strong enough to turn down sex-in-boots, Daniel Coleman?
The middle child of the rowdy Coleman boys, Daniel’s the quiet one who has always subdued his desires and acted as peacemaker. His powerful attraction to the young widow takes him by storm, and he’s willing to pursue her until they both find satisfaction—in and out of the bedroom.
Only Beth isn’t sure she’s ready to cross the line. Becoming friends with blazing hot benefits means she’s still the one in control. Letting her heart trust again? She isn’t that brave—or foolish. Daniel is going to have to be mighty convincing to help her overcome the past.

 

Fingers fleetingly brushed her thigh, and she took a quick breath.
"Our problem?"
"Getting alone."
Another stroke, higher this time. She shivered in spite of the heat of the pool. "Daniel, what are you doing?"
He leaned back, resting his head on the tiles. "Trying to decide what I'm going to do to you first." His dark grey eyes bore into her and she swallowed. Her libido kicked up a few notches.
"First? Here?" The words squeaked out of her. Shit, shit, shit. "Daniel, we're in public. We can't..." He grabbed her foot and tugged it into his lap, rubbing her insole hard with his thumbs. "Oh damn, that feels good." She adjusted until she sat across from him, propping her other foot on him without any hesitation.
He chuckled. "You mean I just needed to offer a massage all this time to get you into my evil clutches?"
She returned his grin and winked. "Yeah, I'm easy that way." The instant heat that smouldered back made her sex ache. Beth closed her eyes and sank into the water, enjoying his touch far more than any massage she'd gotten since the accident.
The last couple of times they'd come to the pool Daniel had been all about the kids. Oh, he'd been courteous and helped her get where she needed to go, but he'd kept most of his attention on the boys, enticing them to try a few floats and swimming strokes. Playing tag and generally wearing them out. She'd relaxed in the warm water of the kiddie pool, clapping and nodding when the request 'look at me, Mommy' rang out for the millionth time.
Something warm had sprouted in her heart as she watched him with her sons, seeing him move without an agenda except to have fun and enjoy their company.
It gave her hope, far more than she wanted it to.

Rocky Mountain Haven © Vivian Arend

 

Review

When Beth Danube packs up her family and moved to small town Rocky Haven the last person she expects to see there is Daniel, the man who made such an impact on her a few month ago in a nightclub.

Needless to say Beth was surprised but had no time to dwell on it, because Daniel Coleman is not a man to be thwarted twice and soon makes clear to Beth that he is interested in her and he is not willing to hide or be her dirty little secret.

With a start off like that I was spinning through the pages of ROCKY MOUNTAIN HAVEN as fast as I could read. Beth comes as a packages deal, three boys, some issues and a whole lot of doubt about her sexuality. She knows the road to trust is not easy and with the boys as well as a move to a new community she had a lot to take onboard and knows a relationship with Daniel would only complicate matters. 

Daniel is as pleased as punch to find Beth right in his backyard and he does not intend to let her get away again from him a second time. The road to Beth’s heart is not as easy as Daniel would like and before long they come to a compromise but on Daniels terms, because there are just some things that Daniel is not going to do.   

The two together are fun, add in the boys and the circus that is Daniel’s family and I was loving this small town linkup. Not every thing is as rosy as it seems, because Beth is not ready to commit and is having fun with the status quo, while Daniel is feeling trapped as the middle child in a large family.

I will admit right off that I dragged my feet on getting this on release day, much to my regret. What a treat of a book this was, book one ROCKY MOUNTAIN HEAT didn’t have me jumping up and waving the flag but I loved the ranch setting and the mixture of personalities that Ms. Arend introduced me to there. I was eager to see what she did with the next brother’s path to love and she pulled out all the stopped and made this a great read for me. 

What Worked for me

I really liked the characters – alot. Daniel, I knew from book one, Ms. Arend further developed on his strengths and showed me that he was the perfect man for Beth. Assertive, a straight up guy who tackles things head on - even the stuff that he has no experience with and most importantly he is willing to take a chance on a long shot.

When I initially met Beth, I immediately knew I would like her, just for the fact that she knew her limits – she accepted that she had outgrown certain social aspect of life and wanted more, even from mere conversation and she also had her priorities right.

I really loved the fact that the relationship between Daniel, Beth and her Kids was not a rush job, while the book rounded out at 93 pages, the story covers about a year worth of detail and I was very very impressed with the pace the author gave them to fit the pieces of their lives together.

She didn’t leave the old faces out either, with four unmated brothers left – Ms. Arend individualises them in this book. The little nuance that made them different or the goofiness that made them a joy to be around. That said the brothers and the going ons of the ranch was regulated to a back seat position in ROCKY MOUNTAIN HAVEN, which I thought was a good thing.

I am a sucker for books with pets or kids and ROCKY MOUNTAIN HAVEN was no different, with three little boys underfoot at every turn I was very keen to see how they would be dealt with in light of the fact that they were caught in the middle of an abusive relationship and now moved to a new environment. Ms. Arend got it right in my opinion, she did not trivialise any of it – she gave each boy page time and dealt with their fears and their pleasures in due time and I was most impressed 

There were some serious issues dealt with in ROCKY MOUNTAIN HAVEN, mental and physical abuse, trauma, confidence issues and the matter of knowing when to move on. I thought all point were dealt with, with tact and in a timely manner. I will mention that everything told in hindsight is summarised, so readers who are averse to graphic details of abuse or readers who are turned off by reliving the tale – the retelling wont be a problem for you.

The importance of family can never be mentioned enough, and the author showed what a healthy family dynamics can bring about. She opened up the relationship between Beth and her mother as well as Daniel and his relationship with his father and his brothers to me and I fell more in love with the Coleman’s and their brood than ever before. 

When I stepped back from this book to sort out the impression that the book made on me – one of the first thing that came to mind was how the author moved the scenes around (really good pacing). I saw the main protags at play, at work, with family and in some respect at their best and at their worst. This really made me see more than the obvious and could invest in them as a unit.

I have left the best for last – The sex was creative to say the least. Where this aspect of the book shines is how assertive Daniel was about making the whole experience a pleasure for Beth. I loved the fact that Beth was gamed for a lot of things Daniel introduced and although inexperienced to a lot of the more risqué’ adventures, she knew when to give it up and just enjoy. Be warned Daniel is fantastic at phone sex – you may just want to steal him. 

What didn’t work for me

As I mentioned before some serious issues were dealt with in this book and one area was Daniel’s decision to up sticks so to speak. I would have loved to see how that conversation went as the Coleman’s are ranchers throughout their family history and I would have loved to see how the immediate family took Daniels decision.

 

Bottom line

With series I generally accept certain realities, some of the books will be heavy on the world building or the character development, while some book in the series may not even come up to scratch. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HAVEN is the full package, not only did I meet two people who were willing to work for what they want, but were mature enough to know that a relationship entails more than how often they can get in the sack. Ms. Arend hits all the base and this second book in the SIX PACK RANCH series is head and shoulders above the first book.

I have read a few books by this author across different genres, without a doubt this is the best so far.

7 Speak To Me:

Mandi on 3 May 2010 at 16:55 said...

Nice review..I have been seeing a lot of this author around..I def want to try her out!

Cecile on 4 May 2010 at 02:23 said...

Great review honey!
Great to see you again!!!
Hugs to you and hope all is well!

Erotic Horizon on 4 May 2010 at 12:18 said...

@Mandi..

Thanks hon.. This was such a surprisingly good read..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 4 May 2010 at 12:19 said...

@Cecile..

Hi babes.. I am getting there..
Enjoy the day..

E.H>

ErotRomReader (Janna) on 4 May 2010 at 20:40 said...

I'm glad this second book worked for you! I have the first book on my tbr and I'm reading it soon when I'm in the mood for the cowboy setting :)
Nice review!

Erotic Horizon on 4 May 2010 at 21:08 said...

@Janna..

This quality of this book was so unexpected - and I loved it..

Hope you like it as well..

E.H>

Tracy on 5 May 2010 at 21:35 said...

I'll have to look into this series. I've really enjoyed Arend's Wolf series and like her writing. Thanks for the heads up.