Rocky Mountain Rivals by Joanne Rock

Posted May 21, 2022 by Marsha in 2022 New Release Challenge, ARC, Booksprout, Contemporary Romance, Harlequin, Harlequin Desire, Modern Western Romance, Series, Sexual Content, Small Town Romance / 0 Comments

The man responsible for ruining her life…

just made her an offer she can’t refuse.

As heartless and irresistibly attractive as ever, bull-riding champion Drake Alexander says he has his reasons for wanting control of Fleur Barclay’s family ranch.

And Fleur is torn by her warring feelings for him—Drake is her ex’s brother and totally off-limits.

Yet she gives in to his powers of persuasion…and their sizzling chemistry.

But secrets and a devastating betrayal could turn these lovers back into bitter enemies in a heartbeat…

Titles in the Return to Catamount series include — Rocky Mountain Rivals -♥- One Colorado Night -♥- A Colorado Claim -♥- 

This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.

Title:  Rocky Mountain Rivals
Series:  Return to Catamount #1
Author:  Joanne Rock
Genre:  Modern Western Romance
Published:  May 24, 2022
Publisher:  Harlequin Desire
My Rating:  4.5 stars

Rocky Mountain Rivals begins Joanne Rock’s newest series, Return to Catamount with a romance that is full of emotions, and not always the happy ever after kind. The only important thing I did between starting this one and finishing it was sleep – and I probably could have forgone that but it’s awkward to read with your eyes closed, ya know?

Fleur Barclay is back in Catamount for her grandmother’s memorial and to see to her estate.  Her return came at a time when she’d left her job in Dallas over troubles with a fellow employee, so she was the one sister who was free to tend to her grandmother’s home tenderly while holding conflicting emotions about her return deep inside.  She deeply regretted that she’d not returned often to visit with the one person who gave her unconditional love, all because she could not, would not face her nemesis, her neighbor, Drake Alexander.  A man who was at the center of the most pain-filled time of her life.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to run into Drake once again and to realize that his opinion of her hasn’t changed one whit over the passing years.  And that he has the audacity to think he can come along and buy up her grandmother’s property without question.  They have a history, one where neither will admit that they might have been wrong about past events, while wish that the past could stay behind them and not be brought back to life every time they run into each other.

To say that Fleur’s family is a mess would be an understatement.  Her parents divorced, and her power-hungry father shunned any of his children, and even, his own mother if they didn’t side with him in the divorce.  Fleur tried to straddle the middle ground between her two sisters and her parents, but she was firmly on her grandmother’s side… and that meant she was shunned as well.  If there is a true villain in this story, it would be Fleur’s father, in my opinion.

Drake and his younger brother, Colin, and sister, Emma were left to tend to the ranch when their parents died.  Drake became head of the household simply by being the oldest at the time and his overprotective, heavy-handed way of dealing with life soon brought tensions between the brothers.  And the eventual estrangement when he stepped, unwanted, into his brother’s business surprised only Drake.  Now that Fleur is back in town, and Emma’s upcoming wedding will reunite his family, temporarily at least, Drake is about to have many of his preconceived ideas rocked on a very unstable foundation.

I loved Rocky Mountain Rivals so much.  Yes, there is a bit of world-building, there has to be in the first story of a series, but it blended in completely in the dialogue and narrative of Drake and Fleur’s story.  My heart broke for these two stubborn, determined people on several levels.  Drake for his inability to see beyond his own opinions, Fleur for the heartache she had to endure, pretty much on her own.  Watching them face the past, to finally understand exactly what was happening, and acknowledging the affection that has always been there under the surface of what they would admit to was an emotional journey.  They’re both good people who have faced difficult situations and come out the other side stronger.  They were believable as adversaries, and even more so as lovers who could find a lifelong love together.  If you love an enemy-to-lover romance, with realistic situations, some laughter, some tears, and definitely some sizzle then you’ll want to get started on the Return to Catamount series.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel through Booksprout. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent. I was not financially compensated for this review and no expectation of a positive review was promised.*

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Available in print or for your favorite e-reader

 

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