Big Sky Country by Linda Lael Miller (Swoon Worthy Cowboys #1)

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: HQN

My Copy: Sent

The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father-until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable, Montana. That doesn’t sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody. Including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen-whom Slade has never forgotten But Joslyn is barely holding her head up these days as she works to pay back everyone her crooked stepfather cheated. With a town to protect-plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter-Slade has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she’s responsible only for her own actions. Such as her effect on this lawman’s guarded heart.


Big Sky Country is my very first Linda Lael Miller book…ever….I know! I’m as shocked as you are. I think she has such a large backlist that it can be daunting trying to figure out where to jump in at. I was asked to read this one, which happens to be the beginning of a series and thought there was no better time to try her work then right now.

Sheriff Slade Barlow has always known that his father was the wealthiest man in town and he’s also known the man didn’t care about him at all. Slade grew up with a single mother who tried her best to make ends meet by doing hair for every woman in town. She was a great mother, and Slade obviously adored her, but rich they were not. Slade watched as his half brother Hutch got handed everything by the man who only a father to one of them.

There was definitely no love lost between the two brothers Hutch and Slade. Or so they would have had each of them believe. Glimpses of more come through their stoic emotions and so I think there may be more beneath the surface. After their father dies and the leaves Slade a rather large sum of money in addition to half the family ranch he isn’t sure what to think about the man who fathered him as well as his brother who suddenly is showing up everywhere trying to get him to sell him his side of the ranch.

Joslyn slunk out of town years ago as  teenager under the cover of night when her step father swindled half the town out of their retirement funds and savings accounts. Anonymously she has been studiously paying those families back and has decided to come back to the one place she ever felt at home. It’s extremely important to her that no one knows that the money that has been showing up in their mailboxes is from her. She bares the pain from the nasty stares and the mumbling behind her back never once letting on that she is affected by it.

I loved both Slade and Joslyn but I thought the actual love story was lacking. There wasn’t enough heat for me to believe these two together would be a good thing. I was much more interested by the evolving relationship of the brothers and Joslyn separately. It felt like the author was as well because for a romance book there wasn’t nearly enough interaction between the main characters. There was also a ton of set up for the second book, Big Sky Country, in which Hutch and Joslyn’s best friend, Kendra. Much more than I would think would be needed and time that could have been given to making the connection between Slade and Joslyn more believable.

So while I enjoyed the book as a whole I thought the romance was lacking and not well thought out. I will definitely be reading the second book anyway because…well…COWBOYS, need I say more? Ok ok and I want to see the brothers come to peace with their past and move on. The scenery is totally picturesque and well wrote and it’s somewhere I’d love to experience myself.

I give Big Sky Country by Linda Lael Miller 3.50 stars! 

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