I guess I should have read reviews before picking up this book. Then again considering there is just one review with 1 star, I would probably pick this because there are a lot of 4 and 5 stars.
First chapter gave you an excellent picture of Clay McKettrick - a perfect cowboy with adoring and loyal family and nursing a slightly broken heart. Although, for me who read every cowboy story in the 1700s to the present, it's a common enough character. I don't mind that, maybe the author will give more UNIQUENESS on Clay's character as the story goes on. NOPE, he is just like any other golden-hero cowboy character. He goes around the town checking on his responsibility, rescue an stray dog, marry the heroine to save her from another man's hands, make their Christmas a happy one, a perfect father to the heroine's children, you get the picture.
The heroine, Dara Rose Nolan, is introduced as plain rude to the hero who escorted her wayward - though charming - daughter home. I keep reading hoping to find why did the author introduced her as a shrew but all I read was because she was just a hair thin away to the poor house and scared. (I think that's just a bull excuse to make those barely scraping people appear rude.)
Anyway, Dara is the widow of the last marshal in town and left with two kids to support she is just a step away from either marrying a man she cannot stand or selling herself. Then when told that she only has two weeks to stay in a borrowed place she married Clay, for the sake of the children, and then they live HEA.
So that's it, Clay come into town to be a marshal first, before becoming a rancher and then he met a rude Dara - and by the way he never mind being treated rude because just like any other man he only noticed that Dara heats his blood (I wonder what men readers think about that)- learned of her hard situation, offered a marriage-in-name-only, and they rode into the sunset.
I was waiting for the scorned guy to act since they made it clear he is a man who hold grudge but no, nothing came, except that he married another widow in the same place as Dara.
I don't mind reading the same plot, I just hope there is new twist that can surprise me. I don't mind meeting the same character again and again, as long as they will lead me into a merry chase and put me on the edge of my chair a time or two. I don't mind short story, as long as when I put down the book I smile thinking it was a good hour or two.
If you like easy and uncomplicated plot this is your book. The characters really are perfect neighbors, with the town gossip, the town bully, cute kids, obedient dog, perfect horse, and loving family. More than half the book was spend cataloging Dara's activity as a poor widow.
If you are looking for story that will intrique, worry, and pull you in then skip this book. For the price, I think it's a ripped off.
I don't exactly hate this book, I just think it's not worth two or more to those paying readers who expect their book the way I do.