Pursued by the Rich Rancher (Diamonds in The Rough #2) by Catherine Mann
Pursued by the Rich Rancher is like a warm summer’s breeze.
You will enjoy this second book of Catherine Mann’s Diamonds in the Rough series. It follows; One Good Cowboy and takes place at the same hobby ranch named, Hidden Gem. The wealthy McNair family owns and runs a successful jewelry design company and have recently opened up the HorsePower Cowkid Camp; a camp for children with special needs. Johanna and Stone, the popular characters from the previous book, are back and are about to get married on the ranch. But be prepared fans, this is not their story. Pursued by the Rich Rancher is about Stones cousin, Alex who is ready to do what he can to earn his portion of his family’s estate…even if it involves pursuing an innocent, single mom. Nina Lowery.
This book touches on common and uncommon family issues and societal problems without becoming preachy. From the struggles of autism and being a single mom, to the utter heartbreak of losing a loved one to cancer, to issues with overbearing parents and more, Mann layers her characters without overdoing it. This is a hard line to draw. She made me care about her characters (especially Nina) without feeling sorry for them.
Nina is a gorgeous, red haired woman with a heart of gold. She is a hardworking, single mother of four year old Cody; a happy little cowboy in training with autism. Nina is not a martyr, nor is she naïve to life. She dusts of her boots and takes each day for each day. It is nice to see an imperfect, yet realistic mother… just doing the best she can, like most mothers! I found her dedication to her son courageous and heartwarming.
Nina’s cold, unsupportive and distant in-laws have made her life difficult. Since Nina’s ex-husband recklessly died in a motor-cycle accident, they have threatened to take Cody away from her. Her in-laws also hold on to an archaic belief that Cody (an heir to the Lowery Resorts fortune) should be institutionalized. This infuriates Nina and drives her to advocate and look far and wide to discover more opportunities and therapies for her son. So when she receives a “free” week of therapy and fun at the camp, she happily drives her little cowboy to the McNair ranch. Little does she realize is that Cody has an important stake in the McNair’s business portfolio…that he is a shareholder of Hidden Gem. Little does she realize…is that a certain cowboy is ready to lasso that share out from under her in order to protect the ranch from being bulldozed into a theme-park/ranch/resort.
We are first introduced to this plot line by Mariah, Alex’s Grandmother and McNair matriarch, who is succumbing to her terminal cancer. On her death bed, she sets Alex up with a test. In order to protect his inheritance: he must secure the last available stocks from Nina to save the ranch. Alex is conflicted. He is very reserved and finds it easier to communicate with animals, than people (an interesting parallel to Cody, who similarly shares his interests). When Alex instantly falls in love with Nina, he becomes troubled with telling her the truth. Will he wait until it is almost too late?
As one who has experienced love at first sight, I found the instant attraction and love that forms between Alex and Nina rather enticing and realistic. Insta-love can happen; it does happen! I also liked the paradox in Nina’s description. She described as being immune to cowboy lore, but then finds herself lured by the cowboy. You will find yourself being lured by the cowboy too!
Alex is smooth, smart, sweet, strong and sexy: a perfect package! Speaking of package… let’s take a minute to talk about the sex scenes. The first one will leave you feeling a little sweaty (but in a good way) as it takes place in a sauna. A Hot. Steamy. Sauna. With the scent of cedar, perspiration and eucalyptus, their building lust for each other reaches a climax! It is in this private sauna where their slick bodies experience erotic and steamy satisfaction. The sex scenes are enjoyable. Alex makes sure to satisfy his cowgirl and it’s nice to see that a single mom can get some good lovin’!
The only two things that kind of annoyed me in this book is 1) the description of Nina’s purring… (In a book about horses, cats, dogs, etc., the image of our heroine purring like a cat in moments of lust was a little off putting) and 2) everyone in the McNair family and their animals are all named after gemstones. We have Amy (Amethyst) - Alex’s extremely likeable bohemian, cat-loving twin sister then there’s Garnet McNair their conceited father, there are also the horses named, Zircon and Diamond Gem and many more! Ha-ha! When I found out that Alex’s name is short for Alexandrite, I almost choked on my coffee I was laughing so hard. This naming thing was just a little too cutesy for me. I also must admit that when I first read the title, “Pursued by the Rich Rancher” I laughed. The next book in the trilogy isn’t much better: “Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO” (Quick! Someone get this book a new title!) It makes me cringe, but alas we cannot judge a book by its title (I am still looking forward to reading more about Amy anyway…)
You will enjoy this sweet story about love at first sight. There’s somethin’ in it for everyone: betrayal, jewelry, massages, snakes in the grass, mechanical bulls, cowboy chic weddings, cute kids and puppies, romantic horse rides and saunas! And don’t forget… a lotta heart and a lotta lovin’. Enjoy!