Release Date: Dec 18, 2019
Series: Wild Rose Ranch
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
Dirty Little Secret is the first book in Jennifer Ryan’s Wild Rose Ranch series. The novel is set in both Montana and Nevada and follows the story of Noah Cordero and Roxy Cordero. Noah is your typical cowboy on a ranch, he works hard for his step-father and loves to ride horses and loves his sister. When his step-father passes away unexpectedly and quickly, Noah finds out that half of his ranch was left to a woman that looks somewhat familiar but he has never met. Roxy is the only legitimate child of Noah’s step-father, she was estranged from her father her whole life and left with a mother who seeks only her own pleasures at the famous brothel where she works. Roxy had to grow up fast during her childhood and carries resentment over not receiving the full extent of her father’s love. When she inherits the ranch her first instinct is to refuse, but her step-father has put stipulations into his will that essentially give her no choice and she is forced to move in with Noah and his sister.
I was pretty hooked on this book from the first chapter, there is a lot of background and depth to the characters which really feels like the reader is taken on a journey to get to know them. There is a real complexity to the relationship between Roxy and Noah, and both feel some resentment towards the other. Noah because he had never even know that his step-father had a child, and loved her enough to give her half of the ranch. Roxy because Noah got all of the love and the carefree childhood that Roxy never had. After the initial reactions, they both handle themselves very well and like adults and make a real effort to become good guardians for Noah’s sister. I really enjoyed both of their personalities and was happy to see Roxy being such a confident female who is comfortable in her own body and does not let others define her.
The romance that develops between Noah and Roxy is very predictable but still sweet. They are both described to be extremely attractive and have immediate chemistry. Their feelings for each other slowly develops through the first half of the book, and then it’s like someone snapped their fingers and (bam!) both of them were in love. I thought some of the conversations in the book were a bit long-winded, someone would say something rude and Noah or Roxy would come up with a long and logical response which I just didn’t believe. It almost seemed like neither of them ever said something rude in the heat of the moment, but always had well thought-out responses which to me was just not realistic. Even in some of their conversations to each other I was like “people don’t talk like this!” For example in one scene Roxy says to Noah: “When you smile at me, my stomach flutters with a thousand butterflies. When you touch me, your warmth spreads through me like a wave of heat that’s a fire that doesn’t burn. When you look at me, I see how much you want to be with me. But when you kiss me, I feel your patience and need and how much the moment means to you.” Like honestly, who talks this way in the heat of the moment???
Other than those long and somewhat cheesy conversations, I really did enjoy this book. There was a good set up for the next book featuring one of Roxy’s sisters and Noah’s best friend, I am excited to continue with this series and see what happens to all of her sisters.