Title: Rough Creek by Kaki Warner
Brides of Rough Creek Series Book One
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 364 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A cowboy with a troubled past and the woman he can’t resist find love and second chances in Rough Creek, Texas, from the beloved and award winning author of Western romance, Kaki Warner.
After serving eighteen months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dalton Cardwell is looking for a fresh start. What better place than Whitcomb Four Star Ranch? He doesn’t regret the decisions of his past–he’d choose the same roads again. But now all Dalton wants is to keep his head down and focus on the horses–and on Raney Whitcomb.
Raney is outraged when she learns her mother hired an ex-con. Raney has worked hard for the ranch, sacrificing her personal life for the dream of building on her family’s legacy. But as Dalton breaks down every misconception and even wins the good opinion of her sisters, Raney is forced to rethink her stance–and finally free herself to explore the heart-pounding tension that simmers between them.
Rough Creek by Kaki Warner is an angsty novel of starting over and love.
Raney Whitcomb took over running the family ranch after her beloved father’s sudden death. Nine years later, she is working hard to make the recent changes to the ranch successful. Raney is also conflicted and a bit judgmental about her mama’s new hire, Dalton Cardwell. He is fresh from serving a prison sentence and she cannot seem to let go of the fact he is an ex-con. Raney is a frustrating woman who is not exactly likable as she tries to move past her fear that she will give her heart to the wrong man again.
Dalton is more than ready to leave his past behind him. He has done his time and wants nothing more than to begin the next phase of his life. He is pleased with his new position at the Whitcomb family ranch and he is even more delighted with the progress he is making with the horse he is training. Dalton is patient and laidback which is a good thing since Raney runs hot and cold for much of their burgeoning relationship.
Raney and Dalton’s romance is slow moving and often takes two steps forward and one step back. Raney is overly cautious but she finds it virtually impossible to commit to Dalton. For his part, Dalton freely admits to his feelings and he works hard to give Raney the space she needs. He is eager to take their romance to the next level and he occasionally gets irritated as Raney sometimes intentionally manufactures problems when she feels uncomfortable with their relationship.
The Whitcomb family is a bit of a mixed bag. Matriarch Coralee is somewhat overbearing with old-fashioned beliefs. Raney’s sister Joss is an aspiring singer/songwriter with a bit of wild past. When she suddenly returns home, she brings plenty of drama and tears as she tries to figure out her future. Older sister Len is married with two children but there seems to be trouble afoot as her kids grow up and her husband seems more devoted to his career than his family. KD is newly commissioned into the military and everyone worries about where her service will take her.
The first installment in the Brides of Rough Creek series, Rough Creek is a drama-filled romance with an interesting storyline. The characters are relatively well-developed but some are more likable than others. The romance between Dalton and Raney moves in fits and starts due to Raney’s issues. Despite late in the story conflict, Kaki Warner brings this slow-burning romance to a heartfelt conclusion.