Release Date: Jan 26, 2021
Series: Wyoming Cowboys
Heat Level: Scorching
Publisher: Penguin Group
Jack Watson, along with his two brothers, moved to Painted Barrel, Wyoming to help his Uncle with his ranch. Although they had planned to return to Alaska, his two brothers fell in love with local women and decided to permanently relocate. Jack is happy for his brothers, but he feels unsettled. He loves Alaska, but as a people person going back alone holds no appeal. If he chooses to say he is uncertain of whether he can follow his dream to start his own ranch.
Layla Schmidt moved to the small town of Painted Barrel several years ago, straight out of college. As an accountant she was drawn to working in a state with no state income tax which provides less paperwork and hassle. She also liked the idea of moving away from Kentucky and her over-bearing, narcissistic mother. Unfortunately, her mother soon followed her out west.
When a small bachelor auction is planned to help fund a new animal shelter, Jack’s sister-in-law convinces him to be auctioned off. How could he say no to family??? Layla’s friends, who are running the auction, recruit her to lend emotional support by attending. Of course, if she could also bid on Jack that would be nice, too.
This is the story of a young women, who has deep insecurities. Layla characterizes herself as a messy nerd who loves to crochet, knit, cross-stitch, and play board games. She sees Jack as all rugged masculinity, so she does not think she is his type at all. Jack knows he is attractive and never had a difficult time meeting women. He thinks of Layla as being cute and easygoing, a combination he finds very attractive. They have immediate chemistry at the auction. Once they start seeing one another they quickly develop a deep relationship. No sooner do they find themselves realizing they are in love when a huge problem crops up. To fix the problem, Layla must figure out if she can move past her insecurities or resign herself to walk away from love.
So often characters seem unrealistic because of circumstances or personalities forced in a story but Jessica Clare brings the characters to life with relatable traits I find very appealing. Her side characters are adorable; there are best friends, siblings, an eccentric old lady and an irritable dachshund. I am a huge fan of humor and she writes some funny scenes. I found myself laugh/snorting many times while reading this story. I also love that these characters handle each other, and difficult situations, by using real world solutions unlike many stories where, magically, every problem is solved. I think the story was really good because the author made it believable. She took the time to develop the story by giving the reader relevant background information without rushing it. I also really liked that she writes in a way that brings the reader into the emotions of the situation which allows us to connect with the story.
This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I will be seeking out the other books in this series and probably return to these books from time to time. And even though Layla is a virgin, the love scenes are scorching hot.