DIRTY LITTLE SECRET – Jennifer Ryan
Wild Rose Ranch , Book 1
December 18, 2018
Ranches in Montana and Nevada
While the Montana ranch where Noah, our hero, lives is a horse ranch, the Nevada ranch just outside Las Vegas where Roxy, our heroine, lives, is a whores' ranch. Make no mistake, Roxy is not in that profession; her mother is. Even there, at the Wild Rose Ranch, Roxy and three other such girls she calls sisters manage to stay out of that life. They live in a small house away from the big one where their mothers earn their livelihood on their backs. At least Roxy no longer goes hungry and suffers no more physical maltreatment.
The worst part of Roxy's life now is being her father's “dirty little secret.” While he sends her money and an occasional horse—she's a champion barrel racer—he doesn't otherwise acknowledge her while he lives with his adopted son and daughter by ex-wives on a Montana ranch. Roxy aches for a family to love and be loved by. She feels cheated by those children who are living the life she should have.
But suddenly her father, John Cordero, dies, and her world is forever changed. Roxy is invited to his home and funeral and to the reading of his will where she finds out she is left a major portion of the estate. Roxy is John's only blood relation, so she's not really related to Noah or his other adopted child, the teen age Annabelle, whom she will take under her wing. There are several stipulations in the will. She must move to the family home in Montana for instance; she now owns half of it after all. Roxy is in her twenties and has mixed feelings, especially for Noah, her father's major heir. She tries to think of him as a brother, but he's somewhat resentful. How will he feel when he learns the world believes she's a prostitute?
Roxy and Noah eventually come to be friends, maybe more, as they share custody of Annabelle and protect her from her terrible mother. Lisa, her mother, is not the only one who works against Roxy. If all this sounds complicated, I must say it is, but it fully grabbed me as it moved along. Something interesting, good or bad, was always going on, especially among the major players, Noah, Roxy, and Annabelle. Secondary characters besides these three add interest and some will most likely star in ensuing books in this very captivating and moving series.