When Shannon Cafferty thinks of Declan Morris, all she can remember is the passionate under-the-mistletoe kiss she planted on him when she was a teenager. And the soul-crushing look on his horrified face. That was all it took to break her heart…
But now, Declan is back in town working for the local veterinarian in the hopes of taking over the retiring vet’s practice. Shannon knows Declan never saw her as anything more than his friend’s little sister. But the more time she spends with him, the more she wishes that her teenage crush could turn into something real.
Declan never forgot that kiss. But Shannon is special, and the last thing he wants is to screw everything up by letting passion cloud his judgment. Because he needs this job to work out—needs to be able to stay in town, close to his family—and getting distracted by romance could blow his chances.
Right now, his focus has to be on his career. But as their mutual attraction grows, Declan is left wondering. Maybe just this once, he should let passion take control after all…
This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: Rugged Love
Series: Cafferty Ranch #3
Author: Leslie North
Genre: Modern Western Romance
Published: June 2, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Rugged Love completes the Cafferty Ranch series with the romance between two stubborn, determined people who, frankly, frustrated me in their choices (in a good entertaining way).
Declan has returned home planning on buying the local, retiring vet’s practice. First, he has to get Gertie’s approval, which isn’t going to be easy, by working side by side and often taking over the various calls she would have made to the ranchers in the area. He has several reasons for needing this sale to go through, all are personal, all equally important, but perhaps there is also the hope that not only his professional future but his romantic future is tied up in this town by Shannon. She might have been his best friend’s little sister as they were growing up, but that didn’t stop the attraction that ignited between them. Oh, sure, there had been that one awkward kiss under the mistletoe one year – but now they were both adults, with solids careers and time will tell if that spark still can set them aflame.
Shannon runs the horse breeding side of the family business/ranch. And right now, she’s in trouble with keeping her operation profitable enough to not have her big brother shut her down or at least block the purchase of a horse that could be the guaranteed future of her stud business. She’ll have to prove herself to Jake, make choices that aren’t easy, and perhaps the last thing she needs to divide her attention is the return of her childhood crush, Declan.
I enjoyed Rugged Love so much. There is definitely a flaming spark between Shannon and Declan. Yet there is also their stubborn streak that comes into play almost from the start. Declan is making mistakes, and eventually, one huge one that threatens everything he’s dreamed of. Not only with Shannon, but with his intention to buy the vet practice. There’s a nasty little vixen who adds a lot to the mistakes and the tensions that are happening between Shannon and Declan. One final, seemingly insurmountable mistake may cost this couple the future that should be theirs without question. There were so many times I wanted to either shake some sense into these two or sit them down for a very stern conversation. Frustrating, but the good kind where you know that eventually, the couple will finally have that moment when they step back, change direction, and realize that they are the one standing in the way of their own happiness. I had fun here, and if you like a solid romance, with realistic situations, a couple that you want to cheer on as much as you want to shake your head at, and some sizzling chemistry then Rugged Love and the entire Cafferty Ranch series would be a perfect match for you.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from 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.*
Available for the Kindle (as this title will be in KU)