by H.J. Bellus
Release Date: July 19, 2015
What a great read this was! If I could give it more than five stars, I would!
Merek Slatter and Challis Jones are gunpowder and fire, and it doesn’t matter if they’re living, loving or fighting, their sparks ignite a blaze that is intense!
World champion rodeo star, Merek, is home for a break from the circuit, and to help his brothers, Maverick and Marvel, in the ongoing battle to save their grandfather’s legacy – the Silver Star Ranch – from their father’s ever-increasing gambling debts. Challis, also a champion in her own right, leaves school after the sudden death of her rodeo legend father to raise the money to buy back Wine Cup Ranch – her home – from her skanky, money-grubbing stepmother, Lola. When these two meet, Merek is instantly smitten. Challis is instantly repulsed by the infamous manwhore. And, YET, she’s attracted too!
Circumstances continue to throw these two together, and egos and attitudes keep them at odds. However, when they finally fall, they fall hard! That’s where the great part of this story begins. Merek and Challis heat up the sheets, but they’re also falling in love. Though surprised at himself, Merek has no problem with it. Challis is another story entirely.
Challis has emotional walls built higher than Mt. Everest. After learning her backstory, the reader will understand why…mostly. I liked and admired Challis…most of the time. She’s strong and fierce, but she could also use an anger management class or two. The average woman in Challis’ position – dealing with the loss of her father, having to drop out of school, and having to deal with skanky Lola – probably would have fallen apart. However, Challis Jones is made from stronger stuff, and she runs with the hand dealt her. BUT, when things are not under her control, Challis’ anger explodes and she takes it out on the one person on the planet who would do anything for her – Merek. To his credit, Merek deals with it in his own way, and despite his own family’s situation, he’s still determined to help Challis. Gotta love a man who’s committed even when the odds are against him.
To her credit, even at her worst, Challis knew she was wrong. She didn’t try to whitewash it or run from it, and she knew SHE had to make it right…especially the second time. Merek’s going to do anything Challis wants whether she chooses him or not, but protecting his own heart, he lays down some rules – and he’s right to. Challis knows he will never walk away, but her issues may push him out the door.
In the midst of trying to be together, Merek and Challis deal with betrayals, sabotage, debt, bad guys, sick animals, rodeo shenanigans, brother drama, a lovable grandfather, a father who doesn’t know when to quit, and of course, skanky Lola. All of this makes for an enjoyable read that is unputdownable! I give it my highest recommendation! (My mind works in mysterious ways, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I also already own book two – Maverick’s story, “Rules of the Ride!”)