Monday, June 25, 2018
TLC Tour Review - - The Last Rodeo
The Last Rodeo
By Delores Fossen
Wrangler's Creek - Book 9
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Reviewed by PJ
There's a reason the people of Wrangler's Creek call rancher and businessman Lucian Granger "Lucifer." Nobody would ever accuse this hard-nosed workaholic of having softer emotions, not even his family. Throughout this series, Lucian has been at the helm of his family's business, estranged from one of his younger brothers, and engaged in a land feud with his cousins. The only person who isn't ready to toss him off a cliff is his assistant of several years, Karlee O'Malley. But now, when the father who abandoned both the Granger family and the family business, returns with nefarious plans, when Lucian needs her more than ever before, Karlee resigns and announces a plan to start her own business.
Karlee O'Malley has been in love with Lucian Granger since she was a teen. Pretty much everybody in Wrangler's Creek knows how she feels...except Lucian. Since being dumped by the woman he planned to marry several years ago, Lucian's love life has been a revolving door and Karlee has had a front row seat. It's time to cut the cord but, hopefully, keep the friendship. Things take a turn when Lucian's absent father, who still owns the majority shares of the family business, returns. In a bid to save the ranch and family business from his father, Karlee and Lucian pretend to be an engaged couple on the verge of settling down. Karlee is determined to keep her emotions out of the role she's now playing while Lucian's emotions have been on lockdown for years. But one kiss is all it takes for Lucian's eyes to be opened. And the more time they spend together as a "couple" following that kiss, the more both of them start wondering if they should ditch the pretend engagement and start planning a real future together.
I wasn't expecting to like Lucian - he's not been portrayed in a positive light at all in the previous books of this series - but I was intrigued by him. As I suspected, there was much more to his story. Once the events of his past began to be revealed, it shed light on the reasons for his actions, both of the past and the present, and I found myself warming to him and cheering for him to win his battle...and his love. I was in Karlee's corner from the start. I appreciated her strength, her compassion, and her willingness to fight for what she wanted. Neither she nor Lucian realize it at the beginning, but she's his perfect match in every way. I enjoyed watching both of them bring out the best in the other on a journey to love that is not without its challenges.
As with most Delores Fossen books, there's a fair amount of humor sprinkled throughout as well as deep emotion and conflict. I don't think you have to read the entire Wrangler's Creek series to fully appreciate Lucian and Karlee's story but I would suggest at least reading Lucian's brothers' stories in the previous two books, Texas-Sized Trouble:Cowboy Dreaming and Lone Star Blues (though I've enjoyed all the books in the series). The Granger family dynamics are complex and, as all members of Lucian's immediate family have key roles in The Last Rodeo, you'll have a deeper understanding and appreciation for this final book with the broader base of knowledge provided in the earlier stories.