When the recently incarcerated Hope Jackson knocks on Kade McKune’s door, with three boxes of Girl Scout cookies in her hands, he has no clue his bitter, distrusting rancher’s world is about to be turned upside down.
Lied to and taken to the cleaners by a beautiful blonde, Kade has learned a hard lesson and slams the door to any possibility of a woman in his life. Aren’t they all liars? And Hope, with her lie of omission about her background, unknowingly fits that description.
Kade isn’t about to give her a chance to win his love and to convince him of her innocence. His beloved Double K ranch is doing just fine with the help of his seventy-eight-year-old Gran—the only woman he can trust. He sure doesn’t need Hope Jackson, a recently returned brother and baby girl, and three abused boys complicating things and resurrecting feelings long dead.
Uncaged Review: Kade McKune runs the Double K Ranch and doesn’t trust women. Spurned once, he is distrustful of all females. He has no intention of being lied to again. All he needs is his beloved Gran, his ranch, and his family. No women needed. Then Hope Jackson shows up, reluctantly pushed into a position of nanny for Kade’s infant niece. She omits the tiny fact she has recently left jail—for drug possession. Sparks of interest soon erupt between Hope and Kade. Unfortunately, Kade has his hands full with one chaotic mess after another and Hope lives in fear he will learn about her past. Matters of the heart, however, do not care about the past.
Ms. Smallwood has a gift for writing stories with genuine characters who don’t need a lot of talking to make their presence felt. Kade is an immediately likeable hero, albeit he’s a reluctant hero. He is a man who is easy to fall in love with; strong, capable, dependable, and flawed. Maddy is precious. With no words at all, she can steal a scene with a smile or a giggle. Gran is the type of person one would want to visit with over a cup of tea and Hope is the sort of girlfriend every girl wants to have coffee with. Jesse and his brothers are boys just begging for a hug and a cookie.
The vivid imagery takes the reader directly to the Double K Ranch in all its wild Wyoming splendor.
What holds this marvelous story back are two things: frequent minor punctuation errors and Point of View. It could have greatly benefited from another round of editing to catch the numerous punctuation errors of missing punctuation and similar items. It is enough to slow the reader down as they search for where the speaker stops or began. The other drawback is two, three, and sometimes four characters all sharing point of view in scenes and within the same paragraphs. No one character owned a scene, readers were given everyone’s thoughts simultaneously. It lead to confusing situations in a book where action and internal thoughts happened more than verbal dialogue.
It would be well worth the reader’s time to search out other books by Ms Smallwood, especially the second book in the Wyoming Brothers series, to see if punctuation and point of view issues have been addressed. Reviewed by Ryan Jo