Branded as Trouble

Rough Riders, Book 6

India operated tattoo pallor. She didn’t look like your typical rural western woman with tattoos and piercings. Still she is a big hearted woman who wants to be part of the town where she lives. She does have friends in the community and her sister and her family live close by. India also is also a recovering addict and attends AA meetings. She’s been the sponsor of one of the son of one of the town’s leading family’s, Colt McKay for the past 3 years. They’ve gotten to be best friends though there are times that India wishes it was more but she treasurers her friendship with Colt too much to risk it on a different type of relationship. India’s never been too good with relationships.
Colt has dreams the include India and not as his best friend or AA sponsor. After 3 years of waiting, he’s gotten to the point of making his move or giving up. When India has a date with his cousin, Colt finds that he is jealous and instead of wooing India, he gets in a fight with her. When they make up, Colt finally asks India out for a date and even though they both desire sex, Colt is insisting that they do the date thing correctly with no sex… least for 2 weeks. 
Can they make this transition from best friends to lovers? Can Colt’s family accept a woman who isn’t like any other that they’d met before? And is it proper for an AA sponsor to date their sponsoree?
Things heat up even more when Colt’s brother Cam forces their family to recognize that they don’t really know each other. Colt is a recovering addict but his family can’t seem to understand that he’s not the person he was before. They also don’t understand that there isn’t a time limit to recover from an addiction. Can the McKay family come to grips with the new Colt or will they resist the changes that everyone sees but them?
This is the 6th book in Ms James’s Rough Rider series. While this book can stand alone and you don’t need to read any of the previous books to enjoy this one, reading the previous books will give you a better insight on the main characters in this book and the secondary characters. Besides, all of the characters in this series are fun to read about.
The book has many real life issues in it. One of the main ones is the difficulties recovering addicts have. Ms James explores this somewhat touchy subject with compassion and realism that touches the reader. India and Colt’s desires to backslide are gripping and any one who has ever had a craving can relate to the thought just a little bit. The way Colt’s family acts around him and thinks about his addictions is perfect. No parent wants their child to be an addict and for them to want it to go away is a common response. But this book addresses more issues than just addictions and their impacts on lives. India is different so she is somewhat of an outcast in her small rural town. How often do people judge others by their looks and not by their deeds or thoughts? A wonderful group called Little Buddies is prominent highlighting the need for role models in single parent households. This group is similar to Big Brothers.    With all these real life issues and themes lased throughout this book, it’s almost as if you live in this town.
Even though you are reading about some serious issues, it’s with done with some humor and heart felt emotions. Ms James gets you so involved with her characters that you end up laughing at points and you are reaching for tissues at others. 
Overall though, this is a love story. India and Colt aren’t perfect but they are wonderful characters. Their interactions while not always loving are always intense. When they finally do move their relationship to one of lovers, the graphic sex scenes are done with sensitivity and such feeling that you want to be India or someone like her receiving this raw desire. 
The secondary characters are even well thought out and fun. They range from twin infants who love their Uncle Colt and drive their Aunt India nuts to Colt’s parents who are having to reassess their relationship with Colt and India. And it’s not only immediate family that become part of this story but members of the town like the local café’s cook and the young children in the Little Buddy’s program. All of these characters add dimension to the story and give readers some hints concerning future books.
Ms James has written another awesome book about her McKay family. It’s no wonder that loyal fans count down until the next release and buy her current book as fast as they can. This family with their drop dead cowboy looks and their loving ways has many a reader dreaming about a cowboy of their own.

Book Blurb for Branded as Trouble

It’s hard to trust the future when you’ve been branded by the past.

Rough Riders, Book 6

As a walking advertisement for the tattoo shop she’s set up in a small Wyoming town, India Ellison is well acquainted with preconceived notions. Despite the odd looks and off-color comments about her off-color hair, life is good. She’s clean and sober, dotes on her sister’s kids and, best of all, spends most of her free time with her best buddy, cowboy Colt McKay.

Reformed bad boy Colt never expected three years of sobriety to lead to three years of abstinence. Curbing his craving for booze and random sexual encounters is nothing compared to the ever-increasing craving for his hot-tempered, hot-bodied best friend, India. Too bad she’s his A.A. sponsor. Too bad she hasn’t a clue that Colt’s been head-over-bootheels in love with her from day one.

After an unexpected, steamy interlude, all India can think about is riding the sexy cowboy instead of her motorcycle, even when Colt is determined to show her a slower ride is worth the wait.

Or are they risking their friendship for a fling that could burn them both?

Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2009 5.00