Grace is a makeup artist who has worked in the movie industry. Fresh from a messy break up with a boyfriend who she owes money to, and recently fired from her job, she lands in Jackson Hole, Wyoming looking to make a little money and then eventually move on to Vancouver to try to find work as a makeup artist. Jackson Hole seems an odd temporary stop, but she’s penniless and she has a great aunt there who can help her out with a place to stay for a while. Grace sticks out like a sore thumb in the small town with her goth makeup and purple hair. She has major trust issues and a bit of a chip on her shoulder as well, and she uses her “look” to keep people from getting too close, literally and figuratively.
Upon moving into her new temporary home, Grace meets Cole Rawlins, a local cowboy who happens to be pretty hot. He is recovering from a serious injury that keeps him from riding a horse and that could destroy his dream of eventually owning the ranch he works on. Years ago, when Cole was a young buck, Hollywood came to town and he met a young actress/director who swept him off his feet and broke his heart. Still bitter from the humiliation of being lured by the Hollywood lights and having to crawl back home after it all went bad, he wants nothing at all to do with the movie industry or anyone in it. But because of Grace, his past comes back to haunt him in his hometown.
It took a while for me to warm up to Grace. She blows into town and is basically accepted by everyone but her trust issues made it impossible for her to accept the small town hospitality at face value. She slowly works past that and begins to fit in, but it was hard to figure out why people were so accepting of her since she made such an effort to keep people at bay.
I understood why Cole would want to keep his distance from the Hollywood scene and why he wouldn’t want a Hollywood film crew filming on land he works on and intends to buy someday. But wow, was he angsty about his failed love affair. It just didn’t seem to fit his tough cowboy personality and the whole situation felt forced. I liked the conflict with Cole’s worlds, past and present, colliding but his angst and pain over the failed relationship just didn’t work for me.
Two things that I always look forward to in a Victoria Dahl book are the insanely hot sex scenes and the way her stories are laced with crisp, witty humor. No worries on the steam department, the sex scenes are smoking hot. Although there were times when I found myself questioning why Cole wants anything at all to do with Grace since she represents all that he dislikes, their sexual chemistry is enough to keep them going until they work out all their other issues. It worked for me. I missed the humor this time though. This one was a little more serious and didn’t make me laugh the way I’ve done while reading other books by this author, which is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just expectation based on earlier books.
Overall, I was entertained but not wowed.
PS: Where is the cowboy on the cover? Not a Stetson in sight. What a shame.