Rough Creek

Rough Creek by Kaki Warner

Expected publication:  July 7, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

After serving eighteen months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dalton Cardwell is looking for a fresh start. What better place than Whitcomb Four Star Ranch? He doesn’t regret the decisions of his past–he’d choose the same roads again. But now all Dalton wants is to keep his head down and focus on the horses–and on Raney Whitcomb.

Raney is outraged when she learns her mother hired an ex-con. Raney has worked hard for the ranch, sacrificing her personal life for the dream of building on her family’s legacy. But as Dalton breaks down every misconception and even wins the good opinion of her sisters, Raney is forced to rethink her stance–and finally free herself to explore the heart-pounding tension that simmers between them. (publisher)

My take:  I’m always happy to get in at the start of a series so I didn’t hesitate to read Rough Creek – book one in Kaki Warner’s Brides of Rough Creek series. It’s a contemporary series about a Texas family who own a ranch that specializes in breeding horses. 60 year-old matriarch Coralee Whitcomb decides its time to travel and see the world. Daughter Raney is in charge of running the ranch but before Coralee leaves for a cruise she hires a new horse trainer, Dalton Cardwell. Dalton is fresh out of prison after serving eighteen months for a crime he didn’t commit but chose not to challenge when charged. Raney is appalled at her mom’s decision to hire him but decides to give him a chance. Both Raney and Dalton notice an attraction almost from the start so it was  amusing to watch that situation play out as Raney tried to deny it. Dalton was easy to cheer on – such an honorable man. And Raney was just as honorable if a bit more stubborn. I enjoyed their story and the setting. There’s a lot of horse competition detail so readers who love horses will find that aspect interesting. I’ll be on the watch for book two! 


 

Open Country by Kaki Warner

Open Country coverart

When Molly McFarlane arrived in Savannah to visit her ailing sister  what she found was a surly brother-in-law (Fletcher), a terrified niece and nephew, and her sister at death’s door.  Before she took her last breath, her sister begged Molly to take the children and get as far away from Savannah (and Fletcher) as possible.  Fletcher and a group of men were searching for a book of valuable information that could lead to another war between the north and south.  They were convinced Molly or the children took the book so they sent a search team to find them.

A few weeks later, traveling west through Texas, their train derailed.  The train company paid out death benefits to the dead passengers’ families.  Feeling desperate, Molly claimed to be engaged to a man who was barely alive.  Told she must be his wife to collect the money, she arranged a deathbed marriage and found the local minister to bless the union.  The patient (Hank Wilkins) didn’t die and Molly used her nursing skills to help him recover.  Hank’s brother Brady arrived to bring him back to the family’s New Mexico ranch.  Upon hearing about his brother’s marital status Brady convinced Molly to come to the ranch where she could continue to help with Hank.  This sounded like a good idea to Molly because she and the children needed to be protected until she could figure out her next move.  She was certain that Hank would want the marriage annulled once he regained his memory and realized he didn’t know her, much less propose to her, before the derailment.

Kaki Warner takes us back to Rosa Roja Ranch – home of the Wilkins brothers.  In Pieces of Sky we met  Brady, the oldest brother, and his English wife Jessica.   Open Country is the story of Hank, the second brother, and Molly, the woman he doesn’t remember marrying.  Hank is the intelligent, quiet brother – a man you want on your side.  I enjoyed the story of Molly and Hank.  Both are used to being self-reliant and are slow to back down when they feel tested.  They each feel a duty to family and that shines in this book.  The author wrote touching and emotion-filled scenes for these two vibrant characters.  It was nice to see minor characters from the first book, especially Dougal.  He added perfect comic relief.

This novel has action, drama, romance and humor.  I look forward to the third and final book in the Blood Rose Trilogy (Chasing The Sun – January, 2011).

I recommend Open Country to fans of (Western) Historical Romance.

Review copy from Jennifer at Crazy Book Tours

Show Me 5 Saturday – Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner


[SHOWME5.jpg]
now hosted by Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here


1. Book title:
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner

2. Words that describe the book:
Western, suspense/romance

3. Settings or characters:
* Jessica Thornton – a long way from her home in England, she’s seeking a new life and hoping to find her brother.
* Brady Wilkins – a cattle rancher who runs the RosaRojo ranch.
* The New Mexico desert location

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
* liked the author’s descriptive writing. I could imagine the gorgeous sunsets and the odors and aromas of the ranch.
* Jessica and Brady are opposites so it was fun to watch the attraction grow. The pace of the story was great.
* I liked that the minor characters (passengers on the stagecoach, for example) didn’t distract from the story. They were a bit over the top but they served a purpose.
* I’ve never read a historical western novel so I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the second in the Blood Rose Trilogy.

5. Stars or less: 4.5 stars

Library copy

Pieces of Sky

Goodreads synopsis (not my review):
On a stagecoach traveling through New Mexico Territory, Jessica Thornton is a long way from the cool mists and lush gardens of her native England. An authoress and milliner, she carries the weight of a scandalous secret-a horrible shame that has brought her to the West on a desperate search for the only family she can trust: her brother.


No one prepared Jessica for the heat and the hardships. And no one prepared her for a man like Brady Wilkins. For, despite the rancher’s rough-hewn appearance and her own misgivings, Jessica must put her life in his hands after their stagecoach crashes. And she begins to see the man behind the callused hands and caustic wit. A man strong enough to carve out a home in the wilderness, brave enough to fight for his own, and passionate enough to restore her faith in herself-and in her heart.