Falling for the Rancher by Tanya Michaels

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Kat M. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Romance category.

The summary:

A CHANCE TO HEAL 

Jarrett Ross’s freewheeling lifestyle nearly cost his family everything. So he’s sworn off the rodeo and women, and not a moment too soon. When he hires stunning redhead Sierra Bailey to be his sister’s physical therapist, he knows she’s off-limits…and yet somehow twice as hard to ignore.

City gal Sierra dreads small-town life and insists her new job in Cupid’s Bow, Texas, is only temporary, although being around a sexy cowboy is an unexpected perk. There are so many reasons Sierra should keep her distance from Jarrett. But as they work together to help his sister heal, it’s obvious they’re a great team. Will Sierra and Jarrett follow their hearts and make this temporary arrangement permanent?

Here is Kat M’s review:

Falling for the Rancher is someone’s catnip, but it was definitely not a book for me. Overall, I liked the relationship between the hero and heroine well enough. I believed how they came to care for each other and in the things keeping them apart. I have issues with Jarrett, but I liked Sierra enough to believe that she would kick his butt if needed. The sibling dynamic was real and painful and beautiful. I am an older sibling and Jarrett’s guilt about the accident his sister Vicki was in felt truthful.

Jarrett blames himself for a car accident that caused his sister Vicki to be temporarily in a wheelchair. He was supposed to go out to dinner with her after a rodeo, but he decided to hook up and told her to go home without him. On the way home, she was hit by a drunk driver and shattered her pelvis and wrist, which left her unable to attend classes or play softball. She is missing out on college and has sunk into depression because of the accident. Jarrett has given up his rodeo career to help out on his parents’ ranch out of guilt. His parents decide to take a vacation from the ranch when his father has a heart attack, so they hire Sierra to come live with Jarrett and Vicki for a month to help Vicki recover, both mentally and physically. Sierra had been fired from her physical therapy job because she doesn’t play nicely with others and was recommended for the position by a different rodeo cowboy she had previously helped recover from an injury.

Jarrett has a tendency to jump from woman to woman and promises himself and Vicki that he won’t sleep with the woman that is going to help Vicki heal. Sierra, of course, is way too pretty for that and he falls into instalust. It felt rather duh that this was going to happen, but it wasn’t completely off-putting to me. The more I think about it, the more “meh” I am about Jarrett. He doesn’t show interest in Sierra outwardly until she goes on a date with a different man and most of his issues would be solved if he would use his damned words. He needs his butt kicked.

One of the most unbelievable bits to me: Sierra is petrified of horses as a result of a fall and hates being anywhere near them. This is solved by Jarrett in two days (totally believable…) and she goes from panicking in the presence of horses to cantering through fields in two lessons. I’ve been riding since I was 10. I’ve had some nasty falls. You do learn to get back on a horse, but a phobia like hers is going to go away like that. The fear that she exhibits isn’t that easily conquered and going from not having been on a horse in years to cantering through fields is something that I would NEVER recommend to anyone, let alone someone who is overcoming a phobia. There’s way too much that could go wrong, regardless of how bomb-proof that horse is. He’s a terrible cowboy for doing that to her.

The sister was probably my favourite character in the book. Her arc didn’t surprise me in the least, but I enjoyed her all the same. I like snark and she and Sierra had some fun banter. She’s angry and frustrated and takes it out on those around her. I was a bit annoyed with one scene because it felt way too obvious, but when her friends from college show up, it reminded me of all the times that my friends have rallied around me and made a situation better with bad movies and ice cream. It’s totally predictable, but also feels good. And I definitely had a brownie sundae just because of this scene. I blame any recent weight gain on this book.

This might make the book a one-click for some people, but the thing that annoyed me the most was the sex. I fall more on the Kit Rocha end of things when it comes to the amount of sex I look for in a book, but I do still enjoy books that fade to black. Basically, I want authors to pick – either there’s no sex or you’re giving me explicit details that are physically possible. The sex scenes in this book were one page long on my e-reader. From starting kiss to post-sex cuddle, one page. I told my coworker that if Jarrett was an old-West cowboy, he wouldn’t be the “Fastest Gun in the West”, he’d be “The Fastest Orgasm in the West”. At one point, he kisses Sierra and immediately (without any other foreplay) decides that she’s ready for him. I mean, if that’s how fast she gets her engine revved, ok, but now I’m curious how the horseback-riding scene really went. That’s a lot of direct stimulation. How the hell did she stay on the horse?

The reason for their fight makes sense and is, in my opinion, 100% Jarrett’s fault. If he’d used his damned words, there wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place and he would have healed his relationship with his sister a lot sooner. Some readers enjoy tension created by people not knowing how to talk to one another (and I totally get that), but it made me want to scream at him for being an idiot.

Show Spoiler
As far as I’m concerned, the grovel was wildly insufficient. It felt like the entire hero’s grovel was done as internal monologue or talking with his sister rather than by actually talking to Sierra. I wanted more from him, because his grovel with his sister was great.

Vicki and Jarrett hashing out their issues was exactly what I want – both people admitting their faults, talking about their fears, and forgiving themselves as they forgive the other person.

Overall, this book was fine. I enjoyed my time reading it and don’t regret that I paid for it, but I probably won’t buy another book by this author. She writes great sibling relationships and the hero/heroine relationship was good enough, but it was just fine.

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Falling for the Rancher by Tanya Michaels

April 1, 2016

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