Saturday, December 9, 2017

Rugged Texas Cowboy by Lora Leigh

Two HOT cowboys. Two tough-as-spurs heroines. These two previously published, newly revised and expanded, smoking hot stories by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh will leave readers breathless and begging for more!


Melina is one of two gorgeous twin daughters, the clever and considerate one who always spared her parents the humiliation of what her sister Maria had wrought. But now, Melina is finally ready to stand up for herself and seize control of her life—until she is kidnapped by a cowboy, named Jardin, who is dead-set on settling the score with her family. There’s only one catch: In capturing Melina, this tough, rough, hunk of a man has actually found a way to unleash her greatest fantasies, body and soul...


Beautiful, spirited Angel Manning has always longed to experience the power of her ancestors’ most precious heirloom. Her mother once told her that the legendary Irish torque would lead Angel to the one man worthy of possessing her heart. But when Angel learns that her father, now a widower, has sold the torque to the notorious two-timer Jack Riley, she is furious. Of course she plans to take back what is rightfully hers, by whatever means necessary. But the fate of the ancient Druids works in mysterious ways... Could it be that this slick, smooth-talking cowboy was destined to satisfy Angel’s deepest desires all along?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

This was not what I was expecting when I picked this short story up. Melina has had a difficult life. Because her twin sister, Maria, has always gotten in trouble and then had Melina to help her get out of it. After a horrible experience for Melina in jail, where her parents ignored her, and Maria once again skated by without being punished, Melina decides it's time to stand up for herself – she refuses to take Maria's place again because serious prison time is expected.

Jardin is doing what he believes is the right thing. At the direction of Maria's and Melina's brother, Jardin believes that he is doing what is necessary to get Maria off the drugs that are destroying her life and the lives of those in her family. I had a difficult time with Jardin because despite the author's attempt to paint him as a victim, he was very harsh and mean to Melina and threatened her in a very questionable manner. Even when he started to realize that perhaps he was wrong about her, it didn't really stop.

I wish that Melina's brother had gotten more involved – he set everything up and then kind of disappeared. When it all comes to head, it will pit family against family. The question becomes whether or not blood is thicker than love.

4.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Angel has always had a high spirit. She was sent away when she was young in order to learn how to control her spirit. Now that she's all grown up, it's up to her dad to fulfill his dying wife's last wish – help Angel find her soulmate.

That's where Jack comes in. Despite his philandering ways, Angel's dad believes he might hold the key to his daughter's heart, and he is going to have to break Angel's heart a little in order to get her to see that.

Angel can't seem to understand why her dad would warn her away from Jack, but then give him the most precious piece of her mother's history. She's heartbroken and determined that Jack doesn't deserve it and she will get it back somehow.

This is where the story gets interesting. Jack manipulates Angel into his bed and house and they find themselves in each other. However, Angel realizes that she was the unworthy one of her mom's torque and she leaves it with Jack.

It's up to Jack to convince Angel that they belong together. However, with Angel resigned to leave it behind, can Jack catch her?

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
These are classic Lora Leigh stories. Fast-paced and high-octane romance.

In the first story, we meet Melina and Luc, two people who come together under the less than best of circumstances and find a way to overcome the obstacles placed in their path. It’s not easy, with Luc being stubborn and "knowing what he knows" and Melina being the victim of mental and physical abuse most of her life.

In the second story, Jack and Angel meet under somewhat normal circumstances, until Jack purchases a family heirloom from Angel's father, one that under the family lore, he had no right to sell. Seeing thievery as the only way to retrieve her rightful property, Angel follows Jack to Texas, where he promptly spots her breaking into his house.

Angel has to let herself love, but she believes she's destined to fail, to fail to live up to the legend associated with the torque, to be alone for the rest of her life. Jack doesn't know her story, all he knows is that this is one woman he can't seem to get off his mind, or out of his bed.

I have to admit that I didn’t get on terribly well with either of these two stories.

The first story starts with a betrayal, a shootout, and a kidnapping. It’s a complicated yet exciting premise that still doesn’t completely make sense to me. Beyond the complex plot and overly simplistic characters, it was the whole matter of dubious consent/non-consent that really turned me off of this book. Luc kidnaps a traumatised Melina, a woman who was previously abused in prison, and he immediately pursues a sexual relationship with his prisoner. Call me a snowflake, but the whole situation made me squeamish.

The second story starts with Angel and Jack on a more equal footing, but the slightly exaggerated Irish setting and characters didn’t quite work for me. Back in Texas, Angel’s behaviour is childish and pretty bizarre. Jack’s behaviour is less palatable and his ultimatum (sex or jail) made me really uncomfortable. Outside of a consenting BDSM relationship, his threats of physical punishment for her perceived infractions left me cold.

I may be overreacting, but I feel #metoo stories coming out of both of these situations and we do young women no favours with romance writing that glorifies kidnapping, coercion, violence, and infantilized women.

I remember reading some paranormal romance by Lora Leigh some years back. I think the romance genre has changed a great deal over the past few years and this traditional, more simplistic style of romance now feels incredibly dated. In 2017, I expect interesting, empowered women in romance writing.

These two novellas feature best friends, Luc and Jack.

In the first, Luc skirts a very fine line for me, but I trusted that he would redeem himself. I liked the plot of the set-upon twin, and would happily have exiled her terrible parents. It was undoubtedly hot and steamy, but I think some readers will be affected by the early scenes. Jack has some role in the story, but there is no overlap.

Jack is now a lone wolf, as Luc is happily settled. On a visit to Ireland he may also have found his match – not that he has any intention of acknowledging it. When the time comes, they have an incendiary encounter, from which they may never recover. It has a similar tone to the first book, but there is some fun repartee between the two of them.

#1 New York Times bestseller, LORA LEIGH is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.
"Lora Leigh writes compelling, red-hot romance." – Sacramento Book Review

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rugged Texas Cowboy (Cowboys and Captives #1-2) by Lora Leigh to read and review.

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