Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ballentine Books
My Copy: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Pam
Sweeping passions, family drama, and searing scandal play out at the magnificent Silver Creek Ranch as the heirs to a powerful dynasty seize their legacy of love. Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.
Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.
What if you wanted to move cross country and start a new life? Tess Casari wants to move as far away from New York as possible and has selected California as the place to go, her friend Anna is going to help her pick a destination. Two months ago she received a phone call from her estranged husband, David; he was in a hospital in Boston, soon to have brain surgery. Tess made it to the hospital just before he went in for surgery and as he looked at her he said “sorry” before he was wheeled away. That was the last thing he ever said to her as he lapsed into a coma after surgery, he survived two months before he died and because of his parents (not in a good way), she stayed by his side.
Six months ago, David had walked out of their marriage after belittling her from the beginning of their short time together. He actually baffled her from the beginning, as he proposed weeks after they met and he never wanted her to meet his parents and then soon he became so angry. She was confused and hurt, however this move to California is going to help her in many ways.
She barely reaches her destination with the excuse of a car she is driving and then has a hard time finding a job. She hears about a ranch called Silver Creek Ranch, it is not only a working ranch but also a guest ranch with events, spa and a restaurant, something just up her alley. She works as the assistant for awhile and then gets a chance to plan a wedding with a possibility to move up.
The owners are a wonderful bunch of people and one particular man is attracting more attention from her than others and the feeling is mutual. Ward is the oldest son and they hit is off after only a small bump in the road. The bride and groom are enjoying the planning of the wedding with Tess, until the bride’s step-sister tries to help. The step-sister also happens to be Ward’s ex-fiancé – can you spell trouble? This is where the fun starts and it was definitely a great war of wills between Tess and Erica, the ex. Tess was great and handled herself perfectly. Her only problem was she kept her secrets too long.
This is a great emotional romance about a woman finding a new life far away from what she experienced in the last year. Tess had a tumultuous experience, she met and married and man who emotional abused her and then left her, she receives a phone call before he dies and also has to deal with his parents who hate her on sight. She is ready for a change and I like that she has this take charge approach and is rising above what happened to her even though her husband tried to tear her down. She meets some wonderful people in Acacia and they are all very welcoming and help her along her journey.
The story flowed well and the plot was interesting as Tess gains her independence and finds a new lease on life. I liked how she held her ground in front of the step-sister who wanted to control the wedding and Ward, in more ways than one. The only thing I did not get was that as strong as she appeared, she did cave when Ward questioned her about her past, not willing to fight like she fought Erica, maybe her insecurities that came from David emerged when things got tough.
The characters are fun and entertaining and all have their own interesting personalities, I like Quinn and will look forward to the man who will be the match for her. Not sure which character will be in the next story but I enjoyed both of Ward’s siblings and will enjoy reading both as they find their HEA’s.
I give Once Tempted by Laura Moore 4.0 stars!