Saturday, October 4, 2014

Leanring the Ropes

Rule #1—Don't lose focus...

Barrel racer Alicia Kanani has had a long road to the top – and she's not quite there yet. Finances have always been tight, and in the glitz and glam world of professional rodeo, that means that second best is probably the best she can hope for. With the National Finals coming up, she's certainly not looking for a pair of cowboys to distract her.

Rule #2—Don't gamble what you can't live without…

Playboy Chris Thomas is sure Alicia's the perfect woman for his level-headed team roping partner, David Greenly. It seems like a match, until Chris realizes he wants Alicia for himself. The stakes have been raised; David and Chris are supposed to be a team, and this time, they're on opposite sides.

Can Alicia rope this playboy's heart, or will they find themselves too tangled up to let true love in?


T.J. Kline became a quick favorite of mine in RomanceLand after I read the first two books in her Rodeo series. We are welcomed back to this wonderful world of rodeo with 3 familiar names. You met Alicia in Rodeo Queen (book 1) when she was crowned Princess. You get to see her perform for a brief moment in The Cowboy and the Angel (book 2) When I learned this book was Alicia's - I was over the moon. Alicia is kind, hard working and one of the most deserving people. Her obvious crush on Sydney's playboy brother, Chris is where I was sure we were going. And have no  fear, Chris will make your heart go pitter patter in this page turning third installment, but T.J. goes and throws a wrench into the rodeo.  

Alicia and Chris haven't seen each other in a couple of years since their last run-in at his sister's wedding. Her eyes did a quick survey of him, realizing the past couple of years had been very good to him. Chris has other intentions when he sees his old friend, Alicia: Set her up with his stick in the mud roping partner, David. Watching Chris and his jealously as it blossoms while watching his partner and longtime friend date is an eye opening look into the incredibly human side of this cowboy. Now there was nothing he could do but cowboy up and ignore this jealously until it faded again. 

Friends to lovers is one of my favorite reads due to the friendly and comfortable banter that comes with knowing someone for a long time. That, and you find  yourself looking for glimpses of the early on feelings. It is like a mystery of WHEN did he/she finally know? Alicia's comfort with Chris's ways and her reactions to them are some of my favorite lines in this book. 

"Really, Chris? I can buy?" she feigned excitement, rolling her eyes skyward. "Such a gentleman." She covered her heart with both hands before fanning her face. "Be still my heart."

Alicia laughed quietly and shook her head and Chris felt the relief course through him. At least he'd made her laugh. "You never change, do you?"
He shrugged. "Why mess with perfection?"

I felt for Chris because his intentions were placed in the right spot. He loves Alicia, always has, and wants her happiness. He didn't think he could give her everything she deserved. The way Alicia affected him though was something he couldn't control. (Or handle!) "You've got to realize what you to do a guy when you look at him that way, with those big brown eyes, and bite your lip?" 

This is an overwhelming wonderfully detailed and full story. You find a love triangle worthy of a punch or two, family shame, friendships that stand even the hardest test - a woman, dreams falling apart, dreams coming true, buckle bunnies and a cocky cowboy or two drinking beers. Oh man, and the grand fixture gesture at the end - HELLO to the ultimate swoon in this book. But, you don't get to that moment without some stubborn moments and a few misunderstandings. That's the fun part of a romance book after all, right?
"Damn, if you aren't the most stubborn woman I've ever met. If I tell you to walk, will you still do the opposite and get in the truck?" She fought the grin she knew he was trying to worm out of her. 
When Chris is explaining all of his shortcomings, I laughed out loud when David and Derek felt inspired to join in with their contributions: "Don't forget self-indulgent." ..."And reckless." Even after the grand gesture, Ali lacks the confidence in her ability to keep him from getting bored, and his reply made my heart melt. 
He smiled against her lips. "Oh, Ali. It's always been you. Every other woman has been me trying to find my way back to you. I once told you I could only be with a woman who could outride and out rope me. Honey, you're the only woman who's ever done that," he teased. 

Before I let you go to give TINA some LOVE, let me remind you that the best way to keep your favorite authors writing is to give reviews! Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and everywhere else! 

This is how I see Alicia telling Delilah how she feels
Now let's give Tina some LOVE! 

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