This book started off pretty good and I saw some great potential, but it went downhill. I couldn't wait to get to the end just to call this one 'done'.
I realize this is a debut, but I really don't think the author had this story well plotted out before she wrote it. Much of its potential was left undeveloped and meandered. The characters were also sporadic, I never knew what mood they were going to be in -- nice, mean, horny or wallowing. I never felt the romance, understood their attraction, nor cared when their self-inflicted point-of-conflicts tore them apart. Which is too bad, as the core story really had potential.
Tara pretends to be engaged to Luc's 89 y/o filthy rich father, a game meant to bring Luc and his sister Victoria to heal and back to Texas. Luc and Victoria rightfully disowned their abusive asshat father many years ago, but somehow (which I never understood) the news of a gold digger getting their inheritance becomes too much. In one chapter Luc swears he doesn't care, and in the next chapter he is in Texas with his sister trying to help her out so she can win her part of the inheritance.
That was just one of many actions these guys make that left me both confused and underwhelmed. When they get their chance at a reunion with their dad, neither Luc nor Victoria make any effort what so ever. I didn't understand all the drama that led us to this point, only to have nothing really happen. I guess they believed their mere presence would be enough for the dying old man to reverse his will? And if they really did care about the money (cause they certainly didn't care about the old man), you think they would have tried harder to stop the fake wedding. (Unless you count their snotty remarks lobbed at Tara -- repeatedly.)
I also assumed the old man would redeem himself and be a good guy. But no, he was just an ass. Then he dies. The rest of the book is about Luc trying to live out a crazy stipulation in the will, one that would ensure Victoria gets a sizable inheritance and he control of the ranch. Meanwhile, Luc's professional hockey playing career is on skids. He has had so many concussions that doctors don't want him to play anymore. Of course, he doesn't listen to any of that.
Then there is a bad guy from Tara's past. Again, I didn't get where the story was going and this character just pops in and out with threats. He makes for a climactic ending, but otherwise I never fully understood just why Tara felt compelled to capitulate to his demands.
I really wanted to like both Luc and Tara, and at times I felt I really could. But then suddenly they would say something awful or do something mean, and it kept me from really connecting with them.
There were also a bunch of unlikable and undeveloped secondary characters. There is Luc's sister Victoria who was a snotty, spineless, spoiled bitch. Eli the ranch hand who shows up from time to time but otherwise seems pointless in the story. Celeste, Luc's mother who also makes odd appearances and had little purpose to the story.
In the end, I was underwhelmed and not particularly feeling the romance. However, since this is a debut and I did see some great story potential, I would be compelled to read more by this author to see how her style develops. But it will not be Victoria and Eli's story, which is next. I didn't like them in this book, and I don't see why that would be any different if they had their own story.