Everything's bigger in Big Sky country, including the hearts of the Montana Men
Wide open sky, rolling green hills . . . Gillian Tucker could get used to life in the country—one far from the violence she left behind in San Francisco. Warily accepting an invitation to the Montana ranch that belongs to her grandfather, a man she's never met, Gillian hopes this is the haven she seeks. A sexy, overbearing cowboy who shines a light on her well-hidden dreams is not at all part of her plans.
Blake Bowden's reckless past is far behind him, and as a newly named co-owner of Three Peaks Ranch, he's not taking any chances. Until a beautiful, haunted woman arrives, igniting a desire he shouldn't feel. His partner's granddaughter is strictly off limits. But the longer Gillian's there, the stronger the pull grows between them. And when a new danger surfaces, Blake will do anything to keep her safe…even if it means risking everything for her heart.
Ryan excels at whipping up totally sympathetic characters. That's why it is no surprise that even though petite Gillian Tucker kills her father at the start of the second Montana Men entry (after At Wolf Ranch), she stands out as a truly likable heroine. Rancher Blake Bowden finds her downright lovable from the moment she arrives at Three Peaks Ranch in her '57 Chevy, younger brother Justin in tow. Caution is the order of the day, because Gillian is badly damaged both physically and emotionally: the former after a fall from a second-story window, the latter thanks to her abusive father. Life has dealt Gillian a very bad hand indeed, and she wants nothing more than to stay at the ranch, earn her keep, and mend. As romance builds between Gillian and Blake, she also has to keep a pushy ranch hand at bay. Readers who enjoy strong women and tough men will relish this story.
Customer ReviewsSee All
New beginnings, romance, & hope
Gillian has spent her life barely getting by, just trying to protect her little brother Justin from their violent, drug-addicted father. So when she has to pull the trigger to save them both, the last thing she's prepared for is an invitation from her grandfather to live a better life on his ranch, surrounded by the kind of family she's always dreamed of. Slow to trust, Gillian finds herself with no other option, and she apprehensively begins to settle into a life without fear and violence. What she didn't count on, though, was the sexy, patient cowboy who is willing to do anything to keep her safe and happy.
But... The character of Ken was not only unnecessary but also detracted from the story. Too often, romances resort to these two-dimensional, would-be rapists to add drama where it's lacking or, as in this case, where it's not even needed. There was simply no point to his part. Gillian's past was plenty to overcome, and Blake proved himself time and time again. Ken served merely as an unneeded threat, and resolving his role didn't do anything to further the plot. Without him, the story would have been perfect, and I don't understand why the editor didn't nix him at first read.
The Verdict: While I'm not too thrilled with the fact that Ken even exists, I have to say I'm still in love with this series.
Gillian is a tough girl, having survived a lifetime of fear and abuse at the hands of her father. She's been doing odd jobs since she was fourteen to make sure her baby brother Justin has enough to eat and a roof over his head, but until one awful incident changes everything, she's been unable to secure their escape to a better life. Her final moments with her father leave him dead and her severely injured, and if she doesn't have help, she's going to lose Justin to the foster care system.
Bud's always wondered what became of his granddaughter, but she disappeared years ago with her father, leaving only her mother's ashes behind. A fortunate twist of fate has Bud seeing news about the girl who killed her father in self-defense, and he immediately reaches out to help his long lost granddaughter. Gillian is, of course, reluctant. She knows nothing about her estranged family, and she's wary of walking Justin into a situation even half as dangerous as the one in which they lived for so long. But she's facing eviction and fees for property damage, is too injured to work, and has no choice but to take a chance on the man who leaves money with a simple note, Please come home.
Everything about Gillian's reclaimed family was wonderful. Bud's a gruff old cowboy, but it's clear he loves his granddaughter, and Dee is simply amazing. They're shocked to meet Justin, a boy they didn't even know existed, but they welcome him just as easily as if they'd raised him themselves. The awful life that Justin and Gillian have lived is apparent, though, in their interactions with everyone around them, and while it's heartbreaking to witness, it's certainly understandable.
Blake is just wonderful, too. He immediately feels protective of them both and vow to make sure they are always protected and safe as they start their lives over. He's attracted to Gillian from the start, but he's not foolish enough to try anything except being a friend, and it's clear his every word and move revolves around making sure they're both comfortable and happy.
I though the subject of abuse and recovery was handled really well throughout the story. Both Gillian and Justin were understandably affected by everything they'd been through, but it was made more their past than their present, and the book didn't gratuitously throw in unnecessarily hard-to-read details. It was also made clear that despite their past and their general wariness of pretty much everyone, they weren't really broken, and they both desperately wanted something more for themselves.
The romance that bloomed between Blake and Gillian was slow to develop, with good reason, but once it really sparked, they were on fire. It was great to see Gillian open up and let go of her fear — and finally get a chance to live the life she always wanted. Blake's patience and consideration for her was admirable, and I loved the way Justin still had a central role in everything about their lives. In a pretty big way, it was Blake's attention to and care for Justin that really revealed to Gillian just how worthy of a man he was, and it made any declarations from him that much more believable.
When It's Right is quite a bit different from the first book in the series, At Wolf Ranch, but it's no less entertaining. In this one, we get to see a lot more secondary characters, and they all (except that damned Ken) add something integral to the story. From Dee to Jeff to Uncle Lumpy, they add a great extra dimension to the story and keep Gillian and Blake from existing in an unrealistic bubble. Despite the initial dark premise, When It's Right is a story about new beginnings, romance, and hope for a brighter future, so if you love your romance with a big dose of awesomely ever after, this is the book.
***FicCentral received this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss) for free in exchange for an honest review.
Hard beginnings and smooth finishes
Loved this book, unbelievable beginnings forcing survival for these characters then finding love on so many levels. Awesome book filled with romance, suspense and intrigue.
Life is stubble but Gillian goes through more then most, but it also makes her VERY strong. It a wonderful story and great addition to the series, now onto book 3 Dane!