Everything is bigger in Texas—
For attorney and Texas Cattleman’s Club member Roarke Perry, Annabel Currin is about as forbidden as it gets. A just-jilted bride, gorgeously sexy, tender-hearted…and the daughter of his father’s nemesis. The sexual currents crackling between him and his client should have been warning enough. Now they’re both playing with fire. And someone’s gonna get burned…
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Juicy, soapy goodness!
This is the first book I've read in the TEXAS CATTLEMAN'S CLUB: HOUSTON series, and I am here to tell you that you can absolutely read this as a stand alone novel. That's because Reese Ryan can do more character development in 20 pages, than most people can do in a 300 page book. There are story arcs that run over from earlier books, but Reese deftly explains their origins, so you don't feel left out of the narrative. This book is chock-full of juicy plot twists, walks on the beach, forbidden romance, fashionable galas, and long-held family hatreds. Otherwise, a soapy delight!
It's an enemies to lovers romance, with Roarke Perry and Annabel Currin as our two main characters (MC's). Their fathers are bitter rivals, so of course their children are attracted to each other ;) Roarke is a civil defense lawyer who represents underserved clients, and Annabel is a fashion blogger with dreams of opening a vintage clothing store that includes space to give full makeovers to underprivileged women trying to reenter the workplace. Their desire to help others is one of their main attractions to each other. That, and they are both smokin' hot. I mean LOOK at this gorgeous cover!
I love that Reese treats the world of fashion blogging seriously, showing you what kind of work goes in to making and producing content and videos. I love the banter between the two MC's. It's teasing, sexy, and snappy. Most importantly, it feels very real. The families of the two MC's are very fleshed out (with some of them appearing in their own books earlier in this series). Reese Ryan excels at writing fascinating, complex family drama, so it's no surprise that she delivers again.
My one criticism is that I had a hard time believing Annabel, who was engaged to another man but a few days ago (with the wedding being only 2 months away), could have her feelings turn around so fast towards Roarke. The time from her engagement ending to her first kiss with Roarke is 3 days. And the time until he asks her to marry him is a few weeks. I understand why this has to happen, in order for the narrative arc of the 9 book series to flow properly, but I had a hard time believing that she'd be ready for a new relationship so quickly. She was with the other man for 2 (or was it 3?) years. And they were two months away from being married. She had her wedding dress for goodness sakes. That usually requires weeks, or months, to grieve what you've lost; at least in my personal experience.
Overall, I really enjoyed my look into the world of the TEXAS CATTLEMAN'S CLUB: HOUSTON series. Reese Ryan's writing has me invested in all the secondary characters, so much so that I've gone back to the beginning of the series and started reading from book one! I HAVE TO KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT BOOKS!!! So, job well done Reese, you've sucked me in. Is there a bigger compliment for a writer? p.s. I've never had or heard of Lemon Icebox Pie or Texas Pecan Fudge Pie, but oh boy, do I ever want to try them after reading about them in this book -- yummy!