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Monday, June 30, 2014

ARC Review: Riding Home by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Perfect is good.

Imperfect is even better…

City-slicker lawyer Jeannette Trenton is about as welcome at the Last Chance Ranch as a rattlesnake at a square dance. She's there to atone for one major mistake. But Jeannette's pretty sure righting her big wrong does not include thinking lustful thoughts about the ranch's new cowhand….

Zach Powell knows Jeannette's type—a wound-up-tight perfectionist with one eye on her email at all times. Heck, that used to be him. She needs to shake it loose, face her imperfections and allow herself to make mistakes. There's definitely no mistake about the wickedly sexy vibe between them. This gal is gonna have to "cowboy up"…or miss the ride of her life!

After arriving at Last Chance Ranch to mend the fences with her friend Drake and her ex-fiancé Regan, Jeannette Trenton doesn’t expect much of a welcome from Regan’s extended family, nor does she expect to find someone like Zach Powell working as a ranch hand. Jeannette knows she’s there to fix things with Drake and Regan so romance should be out of the question. Right?

I’ll say this for author Vicki Lewis Thompson, she’s got balls. Big brass ones!



Why?

Because while Riding Home is part of the Sons of Chance series, it also is the conclusion to a love triangle that began with Riding High. In that book, readers were introduced to Regan O’Connelli, a man looking to heal after his best friend slept with his fiancé. Then in Riding Hard, the author took said cheating best friend Drake Brewster, made him the hero and redeemed him.

Now, in Riding Home, Thompson is trying to bring the triangle to a close by giving Jeannette, Regan’s ex-fiancé the spotlight as the heroine.

I’ll be honest, I was surprised that Thompson didn’t leave Drake and Jeannette as the villains in Regan’s story since that’s the usual way of the “best friend sleeps with fiancé” theme. I didn’t know what to expect from Jeannette and I really didn’t know if she would become “likable” in my eyes.

In the first few pages, Jeannette seems so out of place with her designer duds and almost perfect everything that I disliked her on principal. I kept thinking: “Well she certainly doesn’t dress or carry herself like someone who is looking for forgiveness.” I was pretty harsh on Jeannette based on those first pages and it took a character like Zach to point out one big thing: Jeannette freely and knowingly admits what she did and that it was very wrong and she does it without sounding arrogant or defensive, just weary and sad. That’s when I started really listening to Jeannette and I had to admit, she wasn’t the villain I thought she was.

Riding Home takes its time showing readers who Jeannette is, a very intelligent, humble, and overall good woman who made a terrible mistake that cost her two of the people she cared about most. She wasn’t a martyr by any means but she did have enough sense to be ashamed of her part in losing Regan and Drake. She also had the courage to put herself in uncomfortable situations with Regan’s family all in an effort to earn a chance to show she wasn’t the heartless cheater they all thought she was.

I thought Zach was an odd but great choice for Jeannette. He’s actually part of her world back home. A former entertainment lawyer, Zach is taking refuge at the Ranch in order to gain some balance he felt he lost in all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. He’s a fair minded man who isn’t going to judge Jeannette and condemn Jeannette based on what other people are feeling towards her. Though I did share Zach’s confused feelings whenever he was around Regan, Drake and Jeannette. The elephant in the room never really left in those scenes and even know it’s still difficult for me as a reader to wrap my head around the fact that Regan and Drake repaired their friendship so quickly and were even able to joke about Drake’s platonic love of Regan’s new fiancé.

While Riding High worked hard to bring all the loose ends together between Regan, Drake and Jeannette I never felt that the romantic angle suffered. Zach and Jeannette’s romance may have started off fast and passionate but about halfway through the book it slowed down but was no less passionate and I think that gave the two characters a chance to get to know each other and help each other with their private baggage.

Final Verdict: Odd but satisfying, Riding Home did what it set out to and that’s redeem Jeannette Trenton and give her a happy ending. It was definitely different than what I expected in a good way and I always love being pleasantly surprised and wrong about characters in romance. I can’t wait for the next book to come out and I hope that Vicki Lewis Thompson allows readers to check in with Regan, Drake and Jeannette in the future.



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