RESTLESS RANCHER – Jennifer Ryan
Wild Rose Ranch Series , Book 2
Montana, Present Day
This is a busy novel with a large and varied cast of characters. Before starting with them, I will first explain the origin of the series name in case some of you haven't read book one, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET. Wild Rose Ranch is a brothel in Nevada where it is legal. It is run by a surprisingly kindly woman who allowed four daughters of her prostitutes to stay out of the business and live in their own quarters. The four girls formed their own family and called themselves sisters. One of them, Roxy, is a supporting character in this book.
Now to RESTLESS RANCHER. The hero, Austin Hubbard, has his own family problem: a mean, selfish father. Things were alright until this wealthy father, Walter Hubbard, suddenly fired Austin and disowned him. Austin did, or once had, other family. His late mother had a kind father, now both long gone. But his grandfather's will left him a ranch in the neighborhood. It's rundown and no longer a working ranch, but it's his only chance. Austin is sorry he didn't take better care of his grandfather, and his girlfriend, Kelly, who left him and is now living with his father! Depression sets in and he nearly succumbs. Luckily, he still has friends whom you might have met in the first book. One of them is Roxy who offers to be a partner in renovating the house and ranch. Then she asks one of her not-by-blood sisters, Sonya, to go to Montana to help Austin clear out the house. She finds him asleep with an empty bottle or two and wakes him with a splash of cold water.
Austin and Sonya begin working together along with hired workers. Besides the house, there is the barn and records to go through and the land to get ready for animals some day.
Suddenly Austin's father demands Austin sell him the land . . . or else!
Ms. Ryan is very talented at bringing life and individuality to her characters. The plot is also intriguing as they all have motives and desires, often conflicting with those of others. The book quickly captured me until I had trouble putting it down. What with a tantalizing ending and a taste of the next book in the series, TOUGH TALKING COWBOY, I'm eager for that to come out next spring.