Rocky Mountain Miracle by Christine Feehan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Someone has been spreading rumors that, to get his hands on millions of dollars in inheritance money, Cole Steele killed his father and intends to kill Jase, his fourteen year old brother. Itinerant veterinarian Maia catches Cole's attention when he hears her defend him to the locals, and he starts hanging out in the bar watching her play drums several nights a week. Cole is doing his best to convince her to sleep with him when he gets a call from Jase, frantic because his favorite horse has been severely injured. Cole insists Maia go with him to the ranch. As they drive through the increasing snowstorm, animals swoop down from the darkness and run into their path, frantic to warn Maia of danger ahead--men and blood and violence.
However, between the snowstorms, the injured horse, and a wounded mountain lion, Maia isn't leaving the ranch any time soon. Thank goodness for Jase's presence because Cole gets sexier as his secrets come to light and barriers soften and collapse. When she learns Christmas is a traumatic time of year in the Steele household, Maia is determined to do what she can to banish the hateful ghost that permeates the house. But it isn't a ghost causing the dangerous accidents, and Cole soon realizes that whoever killed his father is still out there.
Seriously, I got it the first time--he's a sexy bad boy inexplicably obsessed with the traveling vet, and even though she knows better, she's attracted to him, too. Despite the obnoxiously repetitious beginning, I eventually enjoyed this story of abused brothers learning to trust each other and heal with the help of a vet who can communicate with animals. I kind of wanted the mountain lion to have a bigger role in the story, though.
For readers' advisors: story doorway is primary. There is a fair amount of swearing; some pretty explicit sex scenes; and a ridiculous number of descriptions of the main characters' potent attractiveness destroying all good intentions of self control, liquid fire of desire, careful defenses not working, branding kisses, yada yada yada.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I really wish all romance authors would take Alison Armstrong's Queen's Code workshops (see www.understandmen.com) before they wrote any more novels. Lust does NOT equal love, and too much sexual chemistry is a bad thing, not the fire that keeps a relationship going as so many people seem to believe. Which is not to say that attraction isn't critically important, just that both parties need to feel comfortable enough to be their true selves in order for a relationship (of any kind, really) to grow and strengthen over time. Desperately twisting oneself into a pretzel in an effort to be what one thinks the other wants never works in the long run, and neither does invading someone's personal space with blatant sexuality. Ms. Feehan does eventually get her characters to the point of showing their true selves to each other, but I almost didn't read far enough to find that out because the beginning of this novella was so full of raging lust and hormones.
I received a free eGalley copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Apparently this novella was published a decade or so ago as part of a couple of story collections and is now being repackaged on its own in ebook format.
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