Lang Thompson isn’t in the best of moods. He lost his ranch and his horses due to a nasty divorce. Now, his truck has lost its brakes and he’s plowed into someone’s barn! This was not what he wanted and he wouldn’t even be here if his cousin hadn’t talked him into checking out the Perez ranch to possibly buy and start over. Lang just wants to head to Mexico, get drunk and forget. Unfortunately, before he can do that, he has to see this rancher about fixing the barn he just put a big hole in.
Victoria Moore recently purchased a ranch in Cactus Junction and is following her dreams. It doesn’t matter that her father doesn’t have faith in her or that she’s under a strict deadline to get the ranch into tip top shape. Victoria is opening a dude ranch within the week. She’s been advertising for help but no one is applying. When Lang crashes into her barn, she’s able to make a deal; he fixes the barn and does some other maintenance in exchange for room and board.
It sounded straight forward but there’s an attraction between Lang and Victoria that can’t be ignored. Lang wants nothing to do with a rich, pampered woman who’s playing at making a ranch work. Besides she’s a marrying type of woman and Lang wants nothing more to do with marriage. Victoria has never played around but she’s listened to her friends and has decided that it’s time to have fun. She can’t afford to get married even if she wanted to but she’d sure like to get a bit closer to Lang, if he’d let her.
But with trying to get the ranch together, buy the trail horses she needs and generally get ready for the guests coming, Lang and Victoria only fantasize about what could be. Then, Victoria’s father and stepmother show up to see how things are going. Victoria’s dad doesn’t understand why she’s doing this and worries and while Victoria has never gotten along with her stepmother, she wonders if its because they’ve never tried. When they’re stuck at the ranch, Victoria has to get them to believe it’s all under control, even when it’s not!
And the ranch Victoria bought……it’s the one Lang was coming to check out to buy. His cousin has him do a few things to try to get Victoria discouraged and sell out to them. When she finds out, she’s crushed but her feelings towards Lang are still there.
I think most people will be able to relate to Lang and Victoria. They both have or had dreams that they were or are striving for. Victoria is going against everything that she was taught was proper as she doesn’t want to be just another society matron. She wants to make something on her own without help from her family, who she is sure will take over. Lang had a dream and was making it happen until it was taken away by someone he thought he loved and trusted. Now, he’s leery to try again and thinks it would just be easier to give up. Can either of them see what the other does and is it possible to share their dreams?
The settings were written so you could almost visualize them. The buildings were described as so you got a feel for them but you weren’t bogged down by each little detail. The barn was large enough to house several horses and had a cement floor. What more do you really need to know about a barn? The ranch was done equally well. You now that there is a hill a couple of hours ride by horseback that gives you a view of the whole ranch. There is a stream up there, a few trees and space to camp. This gives you an idea of the size and features of the ranch. The auction and just about every other place was done with enough attention to detail to give you a feel for the place.
I enjoyed the interaction between Lang, Victoria and the rest of the characters. It seemed real and not forced. The only thing I wasn’t real thrilled with was the need to give details of Lang relieving his sexual tension. It didn’t really add anything to the story and could have been left out or not as detailed. But overall, this was a fun book to read full of dreams and real life.
Anxious for adventure and the chance to prove she’s not the spoiled socialite her friends and family believe her to be, Victoria Moore buys The Circle Cat ranch, rolls up her sleeves, and begins the repairs that will turn the ramshackle place into the best dude ranch in Arizona. One thing she didn’t plan on was a dark, down-on-his-luck cowboy smashing into her barn. But when he does, she turns the problem into an opportunity. Armed with limited experience, but a lot of determination, Victoria sets out to get what she wants from the wandering cowboy.
The last thing Lang Thompson wants is to get tangled up with a woman. Especially one who’s used to getting what she wants when she wants it. He knows what rich girls like her expect and he isn’t interested in playing games. But he’s no match for Victoria’s hardworking determination and sexy brand of innocence.