Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana #1)
by R.J. Scott
Expected publication: December 13th 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing (early download)
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
On the spur of the moment with his life collapsing around him Jayden Sullivan answers an ad for a marketing expert on a dude ranch in Montana. With his small family he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life.
Foreman and owner of a third of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel 'Nate' Todd has been running Crooked Tree Ranch. His partners in the business convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the ranch survive. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow - he just isn't prepared for how much.
I was very excited to see that R.J. Scott had made available this book on early download! I have always loved the stories this author cooked up - maybe because her cowboys are just, oh so, irresistible. And yummy. And sweet. And just plain sexy.
Crooked Tree Ranch is the first of a new series, Montana. It is set in a ranch deep in that state owned by three families. Somehow, this ranch is being run by only two, the other one having disappeared. And this is really the heart of the arc: the mystery of that disappearance.
In the meanwhile, we have Jayden finding himself just another statistic in the economic debacle the country is currently in. His stable job managed to poof! and disappear from right under his feet and he has a family to keep safe and warm. Desperately looking for a job that would somehow fit his expertise, he spots an unlikely job opening in Montana and one of the perks is a horse.
Nate is desperate to keep the ranch afloat. It is a dude ranch and somehow it was slipping away and the only solution is to market it the right way in the digital world. Something that he nor his partners know how to go about. Agreeing to post an ad, he hopes this may just work. But after months and still no takers, he is prepared for the worst.
Jay's decision to take on the job offer in Montana means he needs to uproot his whole family. This is not met with enthusiasm from his niece but his sister and nephew are all for it. Meeting the Todd brothers was good eye candy but it is the older brother, Nate, who sets his heart pitter patter.
The romance between the two men did happen, but only after a whole lot of time learning about each other. Nate likes to take things slow and courtship-like and Jay is okay with that. What was important for both is the relationship has to be exclusive and honest.
The whole story is fast paced and yet the plot moved slower than I am used to. There were also a mystery that was hinted at and left for the next installment. The introduction of a few more secondary characters who are most likely going to be the main ones in the succeeding installations set this book as the prelude to the Montana Series. The best part was really that Jay's family found in the ranch a home and a family. There was a lot of love in that ranch.
This is obviously the first part and it ended with some things left unanswered until the next book. With these in mind, I cannot but help to look forward to what happens next.