Friday, October 26, 2012

Can't Hurry Love by Molly O'Keefe

From award-winning author Molly O'Keefe comes a wonderfully written contemporary romance about second chances at life and at love.

Victoria Baker, the penniless widow of a disgraced financier, is ready to stand up, be counted, and make a new life for herself and her beloved son in Texas.  She's taking over Crooked Creek ranch, her birthright, and turning it into something special.  All that stands in her way is Eli Turnbull, a rugged, too-handsome cowboy who wants the land just as badly.

If Victoria want a fight, Eli will give her one.  He's devoted his life to Crooked Creek, and he's not about to let some pampered city girl--even as brave and beautiful as Victoria--turn it into some silly spa.  But Victoria's and Eli's burning anger and frustration only fuel heat of another kind; uncontrollable passion.  And soon they each realize that the person standing in their way is the one they can never do without.

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Can’t Hurry Love is the second book in the Crooked Creek Series.  Even though this book is part of a series, I don’t feel it is necessary for you to read the first book in order to understand what’s happening.

I love reading series because I tend to get invested in the characters and series give you the opportunity to revisit them in other books.  Which leads me to what I DON’T like about Can’t Hurry Love.  In the first book, Can’t Buy Me Love, the main characters were Luc Baker and Tara Jean Sweet.  I liked those characters and I was looking forward to revisiting them a little bit in this book.  They were barely mentioned.

Can’t Hurry Love focuses on the love story of Victoria Baker Schulman and Eli Turnbull, who at one point in their lives were childhood friends.

Victoria is the daughter of Lyle Baker, the deceased former owner of the Crooked Creek Ranch, and his mistress.  Victoria was born a year after her brother Luc, whose mother is Celeste and was married to Lyle at the time.  Victoria was always treated as a burden and someone unimportant her entire life.  While he was alive, her father, Lyle was emotionally and verbally abusive.  Victoria met and married Joel Schulman a New York financier.  Joel was involved in a Ponzi scheme and stole a lot of money from people, including people who were supposed to be their friends.  Instead of facing the legal consequences of his actions, he committed suicide and left a big mess for Victoria to have to deal with.  Victoria was left in financial ruin and moved in with her brother Luc and her son Jacob.  After Lyle died, Victoria decided that the ranch was as good a place as any to make a home for herself and her son.

Eli Turnbull is the Foreman of the Crooked Creek Ranch.  Several decades earlier, the Crooked Creek Ranch actually belonged to Eli’s family.  Over the course of time, the Turnbull family sold the land to the Baker family in order to pay off various debts.  When Lyle Baker passed away, Eli thought Lyle would leave some of the land to him as he promised.  Being the true butt that he was, Lyle only left Eli the Angus herd, with the stipulation that half of the proceeds from the sale was to go back to the Baker family.

Eli asked Victoria to sell him back some of the land.  Victoria refused and in turn wanted Eli to teach her how to run a ranch.  Eli’s first reaction to her was to sell all of the herd, except for fifty head.  With not much of a ranch left to run and with the realization that she needed to generate monthly income, Victoria comes up with the idea of transforming the Crooked Creek Ranch into the Crooked Creek Resort and Spa.  With help of Celeste and Ruby, the cook/housekeeper, Victoria set the wheels in motion to have her dream come true.

Even though this is the second book in the series, it is probably my favorite of the two.  If you read my review of Can’t Buy Me Love, then you know that I did not care for Victoria at all.  With Can’t Hurry Love, I came to love and respect Victoria for the woman that she became.  While reading the first two books, I could not for the life of me understand why Celeste, Lyle’s ex-wife, was still at the ranch.  This book gives a little of Celeste’s background and made me realize that Celeste and Victoria are alike in some ways.  Celeste has probably always loved Victoria, but had a problem with her, because she was living proof that Lyle cheated on her.  Celeste blames herself for not protecting Victoria from Lyle and Victoria’s own mother like she should have.

I love books where you get to watch the characters grow into the people they should be. Eil’s mother left him with his drunken, abusive father, when he was eight.  Twenty-seven years later, he’s still carrying around the scars of being abandoned and refuses to let anyone get close to him.

What was supposed to be just two adults enjoying each other’s company, slowly but surely turned into something more.  Something neither Eli nor Victoria expected or were looking for.  Both are tortured souls due to bad childhoods, but with the help of each other they are able to overcome all of the negativity in their lives to find the good in themselves and in each other.  I can not think of anyone who deserves to be truly happy, in love, and have a happily ever after more than Victoria and Eli.

I don’t know what kind of journey the next book in the series, Crazy Thing Called Love will take me on, but I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

I received the book from NetGalley, in exchange for my review.

Rating: 4

Can’t Hurry Love can be purchased from Amazon. For other retailers, please visit Molly O’Keefe website.

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