Sandy M’s DDS Review of The McKettricks of Texas by Linda Lael Miller
Historical Western Romance published by HQN Jan, May, Jun 10
Darn that Sybil. You can’t argue with her. And she forces you to look at things differently than usual. I’m a very within-the-box type of reader. I go with what an author gives me, very rarely thinking outside that box. Sometimes I have to look outside, however, when something is too silly, too dark, too lame, too whatever even for me. So when we discussed this trilogy, she pointed out a couple of things that never occurred to me during my reading. While I still maintain my enjoyment of the books versus her dislike of them, I do see her point here and there. But not enough for me not to like this new generation of McKettricks.
26 Jan 10
Tate and Libby were high school sweethearts, on their way to a happily ever after until one liquored-up night Tate strays, finds out he’s going to be a father, tries to do the right thing and breaks Libby’s heart in the process. Of course, the marriage doesn’t last and Tate has joint custody of his twin girls, which reduces him to pieces each time he sends his children back to their mother.
He and Libby have seen each other over the years, there’s no totally avoiding seeing or interacting with the other in such a small town, but little by little they begin to talk and then when Tate gives her an opening, she hesitantly takes it, and then feelings and wishes begin to happen again for them both. Libby is afraid he’ll go back to his ex-wife if only for the kids. Tate fears she hasn’t forgiven him for leaving as he did six years before.
I like both of these characters. They have their vulnerabilities, but when push comes to shove, they do what they need to. Syb didn’t like the fact there’s not enough groveling and/or apologizing on Tate’s part for the way he treated Libby. I felt he showed that in deed rather than the spoken word. And, hell, he’s a McKettrick. They do their own thing, including their own brand of apologizing and whatnot. I know that won’t satisfy a reader like Sybil, but for me it works. It never entered my mind that Tate didn’t explain to Libby why he did what he did until my talk with Syb. Maybe it should have. I don’t know. I do know it still doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story.
There’s mystery surrounding cattle rustling that spreads out over the three books, a come-home again mother whose efforts are too little too late, and death that affects them all. I enjoyed the interaction between the brothers, the teasing, competitiveness, and fighting but having each other’s back when need be. The same goes for the sisters, they’re just as fearsome when it comes each other. The children are also a hoot, though a lot can be said for the fact that children don’t speak the way these do. But they were fun, so it didn’t really bother me.
A good start to the trilogy for me. It made me want to pick up the next one.
For divorced dad Tate McKettrick, there are barely enough hours each day to run the Silver Spur ranch, do the suit-and-tie thing for his business and run herd on his beloved six-year-old daughters. But time stands still at the sight of Libby Remington. When they were high school sweethearts, the wealthy McKettrick made a mistake that cost him the love of his life. But now they’re both back in Blue River, Texas. And cattle rustlers, a manipulative ex-wife and a killer stallion can’t keep Tate from trying to win Libby again.
Libby has her hands full caring for her mother and running the Perk Up Coffee Shop. Caffeine she needs. Tate McKettrick—with his blazing blue eyes and black hair. No way! Oh, heck—yes! But can Tate and Libby really hope for a second chance?
Read an excerpt.
I think Garrett is my favorite of the three books. He’s the brother who’s left Blue River with aspirations of one day becoming President of the United States. He’s the top gun for a senator, who’s married to Garrett’s mother’s best friend, and Garrett has defended the man at every turn. However, the senator’s latest debacle is too much even for Garrett and his eyes are finally wide open.
So he heads home to regroup. There he runs into Julie Remington. He’s known her for years but now takes another look at her and likes what he sees. Her son even burrows into Garrett’s heart, a boy who is starved for a man’s attention. I love those scenes between man and boy throughout the book, especially when the biological father resurfaces.
Julie is a hometown teacher, goes to bat for her students, is afraid her ex-husband will try to take her son, and is beginning to have feelings for a man she’s been friends with for years. She and Garrett are thrown together while she’s living in the McKettrick home due to the huge termite balloon currently covering her own home, as well as the fact her sister is marrying his brother.
Trying to fend off the repercussions of a political scandal is not that easy and Garrett finds himself grudgingly pulled back in the fray before too long. That’s when he realizes how much home means to him. His brothers, the ranch, and especially Julie are where his home is. Julie has to learn to let go of some things she just can’t completely control and let a certain cowboy into her heart for good.
The rustling mystery continues in this book, escalating more and more so that the sisters are afraid for their men, who go galloping into the danger head on to protect what’s theirs. Again, the camaraderie among the brothers, as well as the sisters, is a fun part of the story. But it’s Garrett learning to be a father that won me over for this edition to the trilogy to be my fave.
Fast track up the political ladder, fast cars, fast women—that’s Garrett McKettrick. Make that was. A scandal has brought him home to Blue River, a place where a man can slow down, take stock and plan his next move. Which doesn’t include staying at the family ranch with his brothers. A city boy for a long time now, Garrett doesn’t think he has the land in his blood anymore. But Blue River has other attractions, like his former high school nemesis, Julie Remington.
Now a striking woman and much-respected teacher, Julie comes complete with a precocious four-year-old cowboy, a three-legged beagle and deep ties to the community. Good thing they have nothing in common—except their undeniable attraction and a future brighter than the Texas sun.
Read an excerpt.
Austin almost trumped Garrett in the favorite category. He’s the rodeo bull rider who was quite seriously injured in Tate, and he’s determined to again ride the bull that bested him. It turns out it wasn’t the best idea he’s had when he ends up with a hernia that knocks him off his feet for a bit. With his devil-may-care attitude and endless restlessness, he finds being nursed by the youngest Remington sister both heaven and hell, especially because they had something going a while back and he messed it up big time.
Paige wants to avoid Austin as much as possible, but since they’re going to be family now, that’s a little difficult to do. Then his older brothers ask her be the man’s nurse after his bull-riding incident. Austin doesn’t know when to or like to ask for help, so she’s not keen on being his babysitter. But then again, maybe it will be worth it to rub the man the wrong way as much as she can, the way he’s done her for years now. Thus, the balance of being off balance in each other’s company equals out. Until they tumble into bed again.
His brothers are constantly trying to shield him in every aspect of his life just because he’s the baby of the family. But Austin’s had enough. Of course, he’s just like them, so he runs headlong into danger and ends up injured again when the cattle rustling part of the story escalates even more. It’s his relationship with Paige he’s determined to keep them out of any which way he can. And what a relationship it is. Their love scenes are the hottest of the trilogy for me. Enjoyed every one of them.
Learning he can give up the rodeo and make a life on the Silver Spur, Austin opens himself to his love for Paige, telling her his reasons for his behavior ten years in their past and hoping for true forgiveness to have a life with the woman he never stopped loving. Paige, however, is now able to leave at any time after receiving an unexpected financial boon. Maybe leaving is the easy way out, though. Does she have what it takes to stay to face the feelings she never lost for Austin.
World champion rodeo star Austin McKettrick finally got bested by an angry bull. His career over, his love life a mess, the lone maverick has nowhere to go when the hospital releases him. Except back home to Blue River and the Silver Spur ranch. But his overachieving brothers won’t allow this cowboy to brood in peace. They’ve even hired a nurse to speed along his recovery. Paige Remington’s bossy brand of TLC is driving him crazy. As is her beautiful face, sexy figure and silky black hair.
Paige has lost count of the times Austin has tried to fire her, but this determined nurse is not going anywhere until he’s healed, body and heart.
Austin’s brothers are laying bets that Paige’s place in his life just might become permanent.
Read an excerpt.
Okay, Sybil, these books aren’t perfect. But even with a few faux pas, they’re light and easy to read, have engaging characters, especially the sexy men and the precocious children, and I still had fun with them. I don’t mind that real-life things get overlooked, that’s not part of why I read anyway. Entertain me and I’m happy. Yeah, sometimes I’m a darned easy but happy reader.
Overall Grade: B