Book Review: Rescue at Cardwell Ranch & Wanted Woman by B.J. Daniels

May 28, 2014 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Rescue at Cardwell Ranch & Wanted Woman by B.J. DanielsRescue at Cardwell Ranch & Wanted Woman by B.J. Daniels
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Harlequin on May 27, 214
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads

Saving her once was risky. Rescuing her again may be fatal.

In Rescue From Cardwell Ranch , when Hayes Cardwell arrived in Big Sky, Montana, for his brother's wedding, the Texas P.I. didn't expect to play hero, but ever since he saved her from a brutal abductor, he can't get McKenzie Sheldon out of his mind and heart. 

McKenzie was drawn to Hayes from the moment she awoke and saw the tall, dark cowboy who'd saved her like some Western fantasy. But can he protect her from a danger that's much closer than they think? 

In the reader-favorite Wanted Woman , Maggie Randolph was searching for something and running from someone. But she didn't plan on meeting a man she could…trust. Except Timber Falls Deputy Sheriff Jesse Tanner had to catch her before it was too late.

Also by this author: Wild Horses, Lone Rider, Reunion at Cardwell Ranch

This is a two-for-one offering with Rescue at Cardwell Ranch the fifth in the Caldwell Ranch series while Wanted Woman is a standalone story.

I did receive this as an ARC from the publisher.


Rescue at Cardwell Ranch

This is the fifth in the Cardwell Ranch romance series revolving around the Cardwell family with this story taking place in Bozeman, Montana. The couple focus is on Hayes Cardwell and McKenzie Sheldon.

My Take
What is it with men (and some women!) who think a woman is “asking for it” when she dresses sexy? So what? If a woman enjoys dressing in a tight skirt or a low-cut blouse, that’s her option. You can enjoy the view or ignore it. That’s your option. Let’s reverse that point-of-view. Let’s say you’re a guy wearing tight jeans and a form-fitting T that shows off your muscles. Does that mean you are asking for it? Or do you simply enjoy showing off your body? Perhaps you simply feel comfortable dressing that way.

And ladies, you might want to read this if only to get a good scare in. A reminder to not let your guard down in a parking lot of any sort. Pay attention to your surroundings ‘cause I never want something like this to happen to you. God knows we wouldn’t all be lucky enough for a Hayes Cardwell to be there to rescue us! Dang it, *grin*. I “like” the point this jerk makes about men with money too. That women are less afraid of a monied man. Don’t you believe it. It’s too easy to create a pretense of wealth. And watch those hairstyles and cellphones.

And the word no. Make it a practice to accept that when a woman says no, she means no. Even if she’s stupid enough to just be playin’ some stupid game. Be safe. Accept no as an answer and go find someone else. Yes, this applies to women as well. If a guy tells you no, accept it.

In his case, there’s no rhyme or reason for his choice other than an easy snatch. He may have chosen her at random, but being a realtor means her picture is everywhere in town.

What is with us women and not being able to say what’s wrong? It’s like some universal thing we learn: “If you don’t know…” I hate that. And I’m just as guilty as the rest. What I really needed to do back then was read Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus to understand how different men are from women — and vice versa *grin*.

Man, I’d forgotten how many cautionary tropes are in this. There’s also the one in which the person being threatened starts threatening back. Never tell the bad guy that you’re going to tell or that you’re going to the cops. Just pretend to accept his/her version and get to the cops as fast as possible.

Then there’s the white knight or gentleman’s trope with Hayes feeling the need to protect. Of course, it could also be he’s feeling more than he wants to. Of course, there’s my pet hobbyhorses of parental licensing and stopping the bullies. I wonder if someone like this serial killer could have been prevented from becoming if his parents had been decent people who actually wanted a child. If the bullies at school — and I’m including the women in this! — had been stopped. Yes, I know there’s always a chance that someone like him will become without any help, but how many might not without the extra “training”?

We’ve all met someone like Gus Thompson, and his path was foregone in this.

Other than that…I know, I was pontificating…Rescue at Cardwell Ranch is a cozy suspense with a sweet, protective romance. And you might want to have some barbecue with coleslaw standing by!

The Story
It’s been too long for him. He needs to take someone now and this parking lot has possibilities. Good ones when McKenzie Sheldon comes walking out of the store too caught up in employee harassment issues. Thinking too hard on problems that distract her attention. Problems that do not find her ready to use those self-defense classes she took.

Hayes has his own family problems. In spite of the family resolve, Tag wants to open a branch up in Montana, and it’s Hayes’ job to dissuade him and…maybe break up his new relationship.

The Characters
The independent-minded McKenzie Sheldon is a realtor, a successful one who has to fire an employee. Shawna is McKenzie’s oldest sister (of nine!).

Hayes Cardwell is a private investigator up from Houston, Texas. Jackson is another brother, soured on marriage — his wife wanted nothing to do with their newborn son, Ford. Austin, he’s a sheriff’s deputy, and Laramie are more brothers. Harlan Cardwell is Hayes’ father, but he never spent much time with the man nor his Uncle Angus (both are retired from the various government agencies for which they worked).

Tag is the brother who wants to open a Texas Boys Barbecue restaurant. He’s fallen in love with Lily McCabe, a math professor at Montana State University, and wants to stay with her in Montana.

Dana Cardwell Savage is his cousin (Angus is her dad), and she’s married to Hud, a local marshal. They have four kids now.

Realty
The selfish and self-absorbed Gus Thompson is the son of the previous owner, and he’s one of McKenzie’s best salespeople. Cynthia is her receptionist. Jennifer Robinson and Rafe are more of her salespeople.

He travels a lot, gives him lots of options and no ties to an area.

Officer Pamela Donovan will help Thompson out at the office. Bob Garwood and Jason Mathews and his wife, Emily, are some of the viewers at McKenzie’s open houses. Eric Winters.


Wanted Woman

This story of romantic suspense is a standalone taking place outside Seattle. The couple focus is on Maggie Randolph and Jesse Tanner.

My Take
The suspense starts right away with a mystery meeting and a lady clad in black leather on a motorcycle. It’s something of a soap opera revolving around the Dennisons. They have a bad past and a bad present, and it seems rather convenient that their worst nightmare is still making the papers.

Oh, man, I want Jesse’s cabin! It sounds so gorgeous with that view and those windows!

The soap continues with Jesse’s worries over his father’s affair all those years ago with Daisy Dennison. He’s falling for Maggie and if she were his half-sister…it could be so bad. It certainly adds a tension to the story!

Okay, I’m really confused over why, if Daisy is so worried about Wade trying to kill her, she’d give him a gun. Why would Bruno be invited to Roz’s party?

I liked this the best of Daniels’ stories so far. It’s got an unexpected twist that I enjoyed and when combined with a feisty heroine, well, it’s a fun read but not cozy. Tension, suspense, and plenty of drama.

The Story
What Drake has to say — and the ambush that follows — sends Maggie fleeing Seattle. She has to know the truth, even if it is truth that has destroyed her life.

It’s a close encounter with a convertible that brings Maggie to Jesse’s attention. That Desiree Dennison is a menace. Now her daddy’s locked up and her mama is fighting against his making bail.

And Jesse needs to know if Maggie Randolph could possibly be his half-sister.

The Characters
Maggie Randolph is the only child and heir of her now-deceased adoptive parents: Mildred and Paul Randolph. She was a miracle they received, considering their circumstances. Not such a miracle when her father was murdered after he learned the truth.

The wild and artistic Jesse Tanner is temporarily tamed, helping his brother out in Timber Falls. Mitch is the sheriff in Timber Falls and is engaged to Charity Jenkins, an intrepid newspaperwoman, editor, and publisher of the Cascade Courier. Mitch is also out of operation for a while with that busted leg. Aunt Florie is a self-proclaimed psychic related to Charity. Lee Tanner is their not-always-sober dad. Ruth is the mother who couldn’t wait to leave them. Matthew Brooks is Lee’s attorney. Art Fellers is the man Ruth married.

Desiree Dennison is the wild child daughter of Wade and his estranged wife, Daisy Dennison. Wade’s been buying Desiree out of trouble for years. Angela is the daughter who was kidnapped years ago. Zinnia is their housekeeper. Lydia Dennison Abernathy is a widow and crippled from the car accident that killed her husband, Henry. She runs the Busy Bee antique shop. Angus Smythe is her live-in help.

Bud Farnsworth was the production manager at Dennison Ducks. Frances Sanders is the new manager.

Liam Sawyer is single again and could be interested in Florie. Roz is his daughter, and she’s engaged to Ford Lancaster. Sissy Walker is the sheriff’s clerk. Betty runs Betty’s Café. Bruno, a.k.a., Jerome Lovelace, has a long list of minor crimes. Mary Jane Clark. Blaine is the high school kid who works for Charity. Albert is a friend at the Portland lab.

Norman Drake is not your usual informant; he’s simply a bookworm-turned-law-student-turned-law-assistant on the run. Clark Iverson was her father’s attorney. Detective Rupert Blackmore with the West Seattle PD is the cop in charge of the murder investigation. Teresa is the wife he adores. Williams is another cop. Wayne Dixon was Blackmore’s partner years ago.

The Cover
The cover is the plains with an unshaven blond cowboy atop his horse, straw Stetson in hand, weaving between railings, and silhouetted against a soft sunset.

The first title is true enough, for there is a Rescue at Cardwell Ranch while the second, Wanted Woman, does find Maggie with an APB issued for her. And, well, Jesse’s got his own, ahem, APB on her, lol.