Synopsis: When single attorney Steven Creed becomes guardian of an orphaned five-year-old boy, he trades his big-city law firm for a ranch near his McKettrick kin in the close-knit community of Stone Creek, Arizona. Taking care of little Matt and fixing up his run-down ranch house with its old barn loosens something tightly wound inside him. But when Steven takes on the pro bono defense of a local teen, he meets his match in the opposing counsel—beautiful, by-the-book county prosecutor Melissa O’Ballivan. It’ll take one grieving little boy, a sweet adopted dog and a woman who never expected to win any man’s heart to make this Creed in Stone Creek know he’s truly found home.
My Review: Ugh, what can I even say about this book? I didn’t fully hate it, but I really really didn’t like this book. Since this is the second book of Miller’s that I’ve read, and I’ve disliked them both, I think this genre is really just not for me. So where do I start with the things I disliked?
- Why does seemingly every single person have to have endured so much tragic loss of life or abandonment? I can accept the reasoning behind Steven adopting Matt, but nearly every adult in this book has some sort of serious death in their past, or a family member who up and ran off. That totally sucks, don’t get me wrong, but it’s annoying to read it over and over with every new character.
- Despite all that tragedy, I didn’t find myself crying once when reading any of this. And I would have liked to feel something when faced with all that horrible stuff.
- Melissa O’Ballivan, rather than being a charming leading lady, just annoyed me. She seems to be a lawyer just so she can get “the bad guy”, and kind of disregards the whole equal rights to a trial/lawyer thing. I mean, even if someone is caught red handed, they still deserve a fair shake in the eyes of the law! And what is with being willing to not have anything to do with someone just because they have a different viewpoint from her? Blah!
- Matt is supposed to be 5, but he talks like an adult, or at the very least a teenager. I know that five year olds can talk, but I found myself thinking, “Seriously?! Kids don’t talk like that!” It annoyed me to no end. You want a kid that talks like a teenager? Make the kid a teenager. There’s nothing appealing about a youngster who acts a decade beyond their age, unless we get some kind of explanation like the kid is Doogie Houser Part 2, which this kid was not.
- Since this is a romance novel, I would have expected some romance. Instead, Melissa and Steven see each other and both of them are instantly undressing each other with their eyes. I didn’t feel any warming up to attraction, and the whole thing felt forced. I like to be able to fall in love with the male lead along with the heroine, and I just didn’t do this. Maybe it’s because Melissa was so irritating to me, I’m not sure. Steven seems attractive, but adopting a kid and doing pro bono law work isn’t all it takes to get me all buttered up. I could be too jaded, but I really would have liked a little more coercing to get me to the point that I understand why these two are interested in each other.
Aside from those things, I felt like the plot was entirely too predictable. It could be that I read too many mystery romancey kinds of books, but I would have liked to wonder, even just for a little while, if these two were going to get together. Instead, we have what feels to me like fabricated fights and people who don’t even explore each other before deciding to dive headfirst into their relationship. It’s just a little boring, and on the whole, not what I was hoping for.
Read this book if: I’ve heard that fans of Linda Lael Miller enjoy this book, so if you like her other work, you’ll probably like this. If you’re not a romance person in general, I don’t recommend picking it up, you’ll likely be disappointed.
My Rating: 2.5/5 – Did I fall asleep?