Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Sent
When it comes to business, Avery King always comes out on top. So after a very public breakup, work is the perfect excuse to flee the Windy City for the gentle breezes of Aspen, Colorado. Her mission: acquire the land of a rundown mountain ranch. Avery expects an easy win . . . until she meets the rugged and irresistible rancher who won’t give up his property without a fight.
Bryce Walker is stunned by the stubborn beauty determined to get what she wants. But what she wants is his last connection to the life he used to have. Bryce has plans to return the ranch to its former glory and no way will he sell his family home. Yet the more time he spends with Avery, the more her sweet touch makes him forget his painful memories. Now Bryce must decide whether living in the past is worth losing his future . . .
This is a great start to a new series by a debut author. I enjoyed the beautiful setting of the Colorado mountains, the adventurist characters that will hopefully be featured in future stories and of course the hero and heroine who find their attraction can’t be denied.
Avery King works for her father Edward; she is a hard worker who has just gone through the most humiliating experience of her life that was played out on national TV. Her father decides that it is the perfect time for her to complete a business deal in Aspen, acquire a ranch that is in danger of foreclosure, the site of a future luxury resort.
Bryce Walker is picking up the pieces of his life, a widower who is recently out of rehab for an alcohol addiction; he is bound and determined to keep the Walker ranch in the family. When he spiraled out of control after his wife died, the ranch also suffered, now with a foreclosure notice in the mail, he is trying to find the means to keep it. When Avery comes to town, all cute and fun he is taken back, the attraction is there but he also knows why she is in town and wants no part of the deal she is proposing.
Avery is surprisingly delighted with the ranch, town and people who live there. Even the standoffish Bryce has her enjoying her stay as the sparks fly when they are together.
What a charming romance, I enjoyed it from the start. Avery is a hoot; I thought she was going to be this city gal that would have a hard time fitting in to the ranch life but she surprised me from day one. She wanted to play in the baseball game and talked smack with teammates, she even enjoyed the beauty of the ranch on horseback, when she can’t ride. Her relationship with her father is a bit strained, but it has not always been that way, just since her mother died and he poured all his energy into the business. You could feel the need to get closer to her father in her every move, and wanting to please him drives her in the business world.
You can get a read on Bryce from the beginning; he is hurting on several levels. Not only from the death of his wife, but also from the potential loss of the ranch and it is all bottled up inside without an outlet. The meaning of the ranch is interesting, it is as if he let it go, the strings holding his fragile world would break and when he made a comment about the ranch and his wife, you can feel the guilt and pain within.
Avery and Bryce are attracted to each other immediately but neither can believe it, so they back away. Not to mention they are on opposite sides of the fence about the ranch. It is only after they spent some time together did they start to believe in their feelings, but still the past keeps them apart. He needs to deal with the death of Yvonne and she needs to deal with her father.
Secondary characters fit in perfectly with the story, Aspen is a playground of many adventurers and most of Bryce’s friends work in the industry and I am looking forward to reading more about them. Next up is his childhood friend Paige and Ben’s story, they met recently and could not take their eyes off each other. I also love Bryce’s mom Elsie, she is a kick and I hope to see more of her and Vanessa, Avery’s friend and her father’s assistant; she always has Avery’s back and helps with her father when needed.
The pace works well as the two go from adversaries to lovers with one common goal in the end. The next book will definitely be on my radar and Ms. Richardson will be added to my list of authors I enjoy reading.
I give No Better Man by Sara Richardson 4 stars!
Ah, hell. Not this. What was it with women, anyway? Why’d they have this burning desire to get to the bottom of absolutely every feeling they had? Why couldn’t they sit in silence, enjoy the scenery? “I don’t know you well enough to be upset with you,” he finally said, increasing his pressure on the gas pedal. The cops were notorious for pulling over speeders on this section through town, but tonight he was willing to risk it.
“Look.” Avery’s hands sliced the air in front of her. “I understand why you don’t want to sell. Trust me. I get it.”
Ha. Trust her. He didn’t trust her any more than he trusted her father. At the end of the day, she worked for the infamous Edward King. She might be smokin’ hot and nice, and, like she insisted, a good person, but she still had a job to do. He wouldn’t forget that.
Instead of answering, he leaned over and flicked on the radio. Nothing like a little Brad Paisley to tune out a woman.
Avery shot him a fiery look, topaz eyes blazing, lips thinned into a warning that tempted him to test her.
That didn’t help things. She looked even better when she got mad. His grip on the wheel tightened until his knuckles ached. Mom was right. He had to get out more. Start dating again. Any woman besides Avery King…
She hunched forward and fiddled with the radio until he could hardly hear Paisley. Fine. That was fine. Five more minutes and they’d be back at the ranch anyway. He’d be free of her.
“You need to listen to me, Bryce. Please.” She launched into yet another impassioned monologue about how selling the ranch could change his life.
Yeah, well. He’d had enough changes in his life over the last few years. So sue him if he wasn’t interested. She didn’t seem to pick up on his lack of concentration, though. She went on and on until he pulled the truck into the driveway and parked in front of the office.
“Are you listening to me?” She leaned over the console between them and got in his face, close enough that he could smell oranges, that he could trace the sexy curve of her upper lip with his tongue if he’d wanted to.
“Have you heard anything I’ve said?”
The throb started again, deep in his chest, invading his body until it occupied all of him.
“Seriously, Bryce this is—”
Screw it. He cupped his hand around the back of her head and roughly brought her lips to his, totally unprepared for the impact it would have. Shock waves coursed through him, unleashing a craving stronger than he’d ever felt.
Avery squeaked in surprise but he didn’t let up. Need thundered through him and it was a helluva lot louder than the logic he’d spent the last several hours beating into his thick skull. Her lips were soft and moist and everything he’d hungered for during the last three lonely years. He gentled a hand up into her hair. It felt like silk against his skin.
A small moan purred in her throat and her upper body relaxed, lips melding to his in a pulsating heat. She ran her hands up his chest, and that was all he needed. He bent
forward, halfway over the console, gathering her closer, kissing her harder, deeper. If it wasn’t for that console, he’d pull her right into his lap…
“Wow. Just…wow,” she whispered against his lips.
He answered by parting her lips with his tongue. There. That’d take care of her chatting problem.
Avery gasped a sharp intake of air, her chest rising against his.
Taking it as an invitation, he commanded her with his lips, opening and closing them in a sensual rhythm. A dull ache resounded in his chest. God, he’d forgotten the depth of a kiss…
He shifted to get a better angle, more access, but that console…
She pulled back with a small smile, lips grazing his in a tease, then she pressed in again and proved that she could make out as well as she could talk.
A scratching sound scraped the window. Moose whined, then barked.
Great timing, as usual.