Author: Linda Lael Miller
Publication: Dec 31, 2013 by HQN
Reviewed by: Taryn
Rating: 3 stars
Reason for Reviewing: Ebook provided in exchange for an honest review.
Self-made tycoon Landry Sutton heads to Hangman Bend's Ranch to sell his land to his brother Zane. Though he's got cowboy in his blood, Landry plans to return to city life before the dust even settles on his boots. Of course, he didn't count on falling for Big Sky Country…or Ria Manning.
Ria's starting to settle into country life herself…until she has a close encounter of the terrifying kind with a buffalo. Turns out the peeping monster belongs to the cowboy next door—and he has her running even more scared than his bison. She wants a home where the buffalo don't roam, and the men don't either. Could Landry's homecoming be her heart's undoing?
Landry Sutton and his older brother Zane each own half of Hangman’s Bend, a ranch outside Three Trees, Montana which they bought sight unseen a few years ago. Previously, Landry had been living in Chicago and working his way up the ranks of Ingersoll Investments. After his failed marriage to the boss’s daughter, Susan, he moved out to Montana.
Ria Manning, a widow, bought a flower farm and moved to Montana around the same time as Landry. She has disliked him from the start, thinking him arrogant and a little too full of himself. Yet she can’t deny her strong physical attraction to him any time he comes around. She just has to be careful not to let anyone get too close to her. In addition to dealing with the loss of her husband, she’s struggling with the fact that he betrayed her trust by cheating on her. She isn’t sure she’ll ever love again.
One day Landry’s buffalo herd tramples Ria’s flowers, and when he comes over to assess the damage, he kisses her out of the blue. He convinces her to go out with him, despite her hesitations. There actually wasn’t much else going on plot-wise between Landry and Ria. They went on one date and Ria got drunk, which caused a bit of a scandal and gossip, but that was all cleared up quickly. Most of the plot seemed to revolve around issues with each of their families. Ria’s 16-year-old niece, Quinn, shows up unexpectedly and stays for the summer due to problems at home with her mom. Landry’s father shows up asking for money after getting into trouble while gambling. So when Landry and Ria are suddenly declaring their love for one another, I wasn’t sure what had happened to make them fall in love. It was clear that they were magnetically attracted to one another, and I loved their playful banter, but I just didn’t believe that they were in love so quickly.
I’ll admit that I have not read the previous books in the Parable, Montana series, but I think this one, the series finale, actually stands alone pretty well for new readers. I wasn’t confused at all while reading, and while characters from previous books made cameos, this book was focused on Landry and Ria plus their families. The secondary characters were interesting, and I may go back and read some of the earlier books in the Parable, Montana series to get their stories.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the lush descriptions of the landscape. Right away, I was swept up in the descriptions of the beautiful Montana setting, and I could picture it very well despite never having traveled there myself.