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★★★★ Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott ★★★★

Yippee – A new series!

The Montana series:

  • Crooked Tree Ranch (book #1) – in this review
  • Book 2 – due for release July 2014
  • Book 3 – due for release September 2014

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Crooked Tree RanchCrooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

On the spur of the moment with his life collapsing around him Jayden Sullivan answers an ad for a marketing expert on a dude ranch in Montana. With his small family he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life.

Foreman and owner of a third of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Todd has been running Crooked Tree Ranch. His partners in the business convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the ranch survive. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow – he just isn’t prepared for how much.

So what did I think?

Crooked Tree Ranch is the first book in the new Montana series by R.J. Scott. Those of you who read my reviews regularly will know that I have a definite soft-spot for R.J. She’s one of those authors who’s on my must-read list and I have yet to be disappointed. I love her characters and I love the stories and I adore the way she builds a series. Without fail I get emotionally invested in the characters and love to see them appear in subsequent books.

This series is a winner because of it’s cowboy theme – who can resist a gorgeous cowboy! “Nate was a cowboy, all yee-haw and camp fires and macho crap. It was unlikely there would be any Brokeback action anywhere near Crooked Tree.” How wrong Jay was!

This book had a nice contrast with city-boy Jay and country-boy Nate. Most of the story takes place on the ranch but we spend a bit of time in New York when we first meet Jay. Jay is a marketing executive who is retrenched and circumstances lead him to taking a job on the ranch owned by Nate and his brothers.

It may be financial pressures that prompt Jay to look beyond New York for a job, forced to widen his net when he can’t get a job, but it is his love of family and his desire to provide for his sister and her children that results in the big decision to relocate.

As in most R.J. Scott books, there is a strong family theme. In this case, we have a focus on two families, where the brother has taken on a role as head of the family. Firstly there is Jay’s family, where Jay takes a role supporting his sister who had been abused in the past and acts as a father figure to her kids. There is also Nate’s family, where Nate had been the head of the household since his parents were killed when he was eighteen. Most of his decisions have been based on keeping the ranch running for his younger brothers. Both our main characters put their family first and are supportive and protective.

Nate hasn’t really had a relationship beyond a one night stand and Jay’s last relationship was a disaster with a selfish, two-timing boyfriend.

On one hand I loved the slow development of the relationship between Nate and Jay, particularly Nate’s desire to take his time and not treat Jay as a one-night stand. But on the other hand I wanted them to get together faster! I think it was midway through the book before there was any substantial action.

Not a huge amount of drama but a nice start to what promises to be a great series. I can already sense (or hope) that we will get a book about
the missing Justin (son of Marcus who lives on the ranch), or maybe his brother Ethan the cop, and definitely Sam the chef.

The second and third books are due in July and September next year – something to definitely look forward to!

Thanks so much to R.J. who provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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To find out more about R.J. Scott and her books visit her website (or check out my other reviews).

Buy Crooked Tree Ranch from Totally Bound.

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