I got an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
TITLE: Big Sky Country
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Pub Date: 5/29/12
The “First Lady of the West,” #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller is back with a new series about Parable, Montana-where love awaits.
The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father-until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable, Montana. That doesn’t sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody. Including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen-whom Slade has never forgotten
But Joslyn is barely holding her head up these days as she works to pay back everyone her crooked stepfather cheated. With a town to protect-plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter-Slade has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she’s responsible only for her own actions. Such as her effect on this lawman’s guarded heart.
Linda Lael Miller is know for her cowboy stories and for good reason…She does it better than anyone else writing today. With this book she starts a new contemporary western series set in Parable, Montana. The local sheriff, Slade Barlow, dreams of another life…one with days of riding the range, raising cattle, fixing fences, and going home every night to a loving wife and a passel of kids. But being the illegitimate son of the town richest man hasn’t done anything to help him fulfill his dream or make his and his mother’s lives any better. His father denies parentage until the day he dies, but in his will, finally steps up the plate by leaving half of his sprawling ranch, Whisper Creek Ranch to Slade and the other half to the legitimate Carmody heir, Hutch. Needless to say, this doesn’t sit well with Hutch. The two men have never gotten along and the idea of sharing half of everything he considers rightfully his colors everything that Hutch does throughout this book. But this isn’t his book. This is Slade’s book. Inheriting this ranch has definitely had a sudden and unexpected impact on Slade life. What else can life hand him? How about a 16 y/0 step-daughter? She isn’t legally his step-daughter as he never adopted her during his marriage to her mother, but their relationship remains strong. When the daughter becomes too much for his ex-wife to handle, he agrees to take her for the summer. So now add a hormonal teenager into his life. But that’s not all…
Joslyn Kirk is back in town. Joslyn was the rich girl we all had in our class…the one who had everything–the clothes, the car, the good looks–the one who was clueless how all that impacted those around her. But now she’s back to the town that her step-father swindle out of millions of dollars…the dollars that kept her in clothes, shoes, cars and the fancy mansion. Dear old step-dad didn’t get away the scam, landing in the slammer and proceeding to die there leaving Joslyn to pick up the pieces. She is a talented computer software designer. She has sold her company and used the money to repay much of the money stolen by her step-father… anonymously of course.
She and Hutch have always been friends and never more than that. Slade has always “worshiped” her from afar knowing that he didn’t fit into her rich world. But now she’s back and not so rich. Fate keeps throwing them together. The attraction keeps growing and simmering under the surface until it explodes into some sexy bedroom scenes.
I enjoyed this story a great deal. I confess that I don’t miss reading any of this author’s contemporary westerns. They set the standard for all others in the genre. Ms. Miller’s fans are in for a treat.