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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Branded by Laura Wright

Format: .mobi (Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: June 3, 2014

In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers...

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.

First of all, I love, love, LOVE Laura Wright’s Mark of the Vampire series to death (no pun intended) but I also have the hots for cowboys. So naturally when I found out she was writing a cowboy series, I did a happy dance. It was a bad, bad dance, but it was a dance. That’s all that counts. That and the cover for Branded is just soooo pretty *pets*

Painful memories doesn't even begin to describe what happens to Deacon Cavanaugh whenever he thinks about the Triple C Ranch, and now that he's returned for his father's funeral he's even more determined to destroy his childhood home and hopefully purge all the secrets, rage, pain and helplessness that the ranch represents. There's only one thing standing in his way: The ranch's foreman, er, forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd. Deacon's known her most of his life and the two are bound together by more than just their childhood years, they're bound by grief and loss yet it doesn't dim the attraction that begins to grow between them as they each fight to get their way.

Let me start with Mackenzie "Mac" Byrd. I loved her, and I loved that Laura Wright made her the forewoman of the ranch. It's a heavy job for any one and to give it to the heroine told me more about her than any verbal description could have. Her job told me that Mac is one tough cookie that can handle any situation at any time and not utter a single complaint. It told me that she could run with the boys and beat them at their own game, all without losing her femininity. After all, a woman can work like a man and still be a woman. Mac is the kind of woman that I would love to have as a best friend, but better yet, she is the type of woman I would have idolized as a teenager and done my best to emulate. Strong and tough when she needs to be, compassionate and vulnerable when every one least expects it.

Then there's Deacon. *fans self* Honestly, all the Cavanaugh brothers are sexy as hell but since Branded is Deacon's book I'll focus on him. Sorry James and Cole, you'll have to wait your turns.

Deacon certainly has an axe to grind at the beginning of the book and it seems that nothing and no one can sway him from his decision to tear down the Triple C Ranch. Maybe it might not sit well with other readers how single minded he is in this task but I completely understood him. I connected with him through his rage and bitterness at the past and couldn't fault him in the least for what he felt he had to do. In fact, after learning more about Deacon and his brothers' lives I was surprised that there was any humanity in them, let alone any softer emotions like love and hope. He's a deeply wounded hero and really, is there anything more delicious than that?

Aside from the so thick you can cut it with knife tension between Deacon and Mac, there's a really solid story going on in Branded. There are several mysteries that need unraveling, one of them heart breaking and explains a lot about the Cavanaugh brothers' pasts and what made them into the men they are. Branded brought a lot of emotions to the table. Strong, sometimes volatile emotions that propelled the story forward and in directions I didn’t expect.

Final Verdict: Branded made me want to buy a pair of cowboy boots, a Stetson hat and a horse to go looking for my own sexy cowboy. Texas has never sounded more appealing… And I've been a resident for over 15 years! The Cavanaugh brothers can lasso and tame me anytime! Bring on book two ASAP!

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  1. You should really read this book Felicia, it's pretty darn good. Of course Laura always writes some sexy stories.


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