Rocky Mountain Romance, Vivian Arend

The Rocky Mountain gang. Oh, how I’ve missed you. Yes, we’ve visited with you in the Thompson & Sons series, but it’s nice to get back to the original clans.

In Rocky Mountain Romance, Melody Langley is returning home after a year away to get some extra training for her veterinary skills. Who does she meet first thing? Steve Coleman. Her former boyfriend. The last time they saw each other was right before Melody left and she was dumping a pitcher of beer over his head in the middle of the local bar in front of his friends and family.

One of Melody’s complaints with Steve from a year ago is he was immature and careless with other people’s time. He was kind of just gliding along without ever stepping up to do what needed to be done. In this book Steve knows what he lost when he lost Melody and he’s determined to get her back no matter what. So while she’s spent the year studying, he’s spent the year growing up and facing some unpleasant realities about how he used to be.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY! Read on at your own risk.
(highlight paragraph to read spoiler)

While I liked this book, and this couple, quite a bit, I finished the book a little disappointed. I felt the whole situation between her and the ranchers was wrapped up a little quickly, and I wanted to know what Tom’s problem was. Was he annoyed she was left in charge? Was it that she was younger? newer? a woman? Not him? Was he the one causing the miscommunications or was it truly just a series of unfortunate events? I’m a demanding reader. I want to know MORE.

END OF SPOILERS!

The romance between Steve and Melody hit all the right notes. Seeing Steve struggle to really listen to Melody this time around and be a better man, both for her and for himself, was great. I felt he really paid attention to what was missing from their relationship before and he was putting in the work to make sure it didn’t happen again. He was in it for the long haul.

Melody was also willing to step up. She knew she was taking a risk on trusting Steve again, but she did it anyway because she could see how he had changed and Melody acknowledged that if he could put himself out there again, the least she could do was meet him halfway. It was also nice that she didn’t blame Steve for everything that had gone wrong before. It was as if their relationship was on hiatus while they each grew up a little and decided whether they were going to move forward together or not.

And here’s the part where Vivian Arend always gets me. She has these tortured men in her books that always just grab me and won’t let me go. They spend lots of time as minor characters in books before they get their own stories. The last one was Travis. I loved Travis from the moment I met him, and I KNEW his book was going to break my heart. And it totally did. And I loved every. single. moment. Now there’s Rafe. He’s Gabe Coleman’s younger brother from Rocky Mountain Angel, and he’s another one who is going to break me once she finally gets around to writing his story. Can’t wait.

All in all, and minor disappointment aside, this was a solid addition to the Six Pack Ranch books.

Rating: 3 stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka A Six Pack Ranch Girl
aka The Fish With Sticks

Rocky Mountain Freedom, Vivian Arend

This book was awesome. Go read it. Now.

What? That doesn’t cut it as a review? Damn. Okay, then here goes.

You know THAT BOOK? It’s the book in a series you’ve been waiting YEARS for. It’s the one with your favorite characters and you kept hoping it was the next one to be released and the next one and the next one, but your favorite author keeps tormenting you with little bits and hints of this character’s story in OTHER characters’ books and makes you wait FOREVER. And even though you’ve been DYING for this book and this character to FINALLY get their HEA, once you get the book in your hot little hands you’re terrified to read it? OMG WHAT IF IT DOESN’T LIVE UP TO EVERYTHING YOU’VE HAD IN YOUR HEAD FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS?!?!

Rocky Mountain Freedom and Travis was THAT BOOK for me.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Travis’ book since that scene in the barn in Rocky Mountain Heat when he told Blake why he though Jaxi was really dating Travis all those years ago. Right then my heart broke for Travis. And in Rocky Mountain Angel when Travis and Cassidy show up at Gabe’s cabin all beat up and needing a place to heal? How can you not want to just cuddle him and make all his hurts go away?! Through all 5 of these books I knew Travis was going to be the one I loved most. He was full of angst and drama and conflict and I couldn’t WAIT for his book.

BUT OMG WHAT IF IT DOESN’T LIVE UP TO EVERYTHING I’VE HAD IN MY HEAD FOR THE LAST 5 BOOKS?!?!?!

I sat down and read the book in one sitting. And it didn’t live up to my expectations.

It blew my expectations out of the freakin’ water.

I thought I loved Travis. I thought I knew what he was about. I thought I knew what his story was going to be like.

I was so, soooooo wrong.

I normally don’t enjoy rehashing previous scenes in new books, but because Travis’ story had significant moments throughout the rest of the series, I really liked how Vivian Arend brought those scenes back and gave us a different point of view. It also helped to put these scenes into context in relation to Travis (and Cassidy and Ashley). I didn’t have to rely on my faulty memory to figure out when and where something took place. YAY! Thank god for authors who are good to lazy readers.

One of my biggest complaints with a lot of ménage stories is the lack of “boy touching,” as I call it. Yeah, it’s great the woman is the center, blah blah blah, every woman’s fantasy, yadda yadda yadda, but that always seems unbalanced to me. The first time I found a ménage story where it felt like it really was a relationship between THREE people and not just boys vs. girl was Lauren Dane’s Laid Bare. This book feels very much the same. This relationship between Travis and Ashley and Cassidy really felt like it was between ALL of them equally, and not just Travis and Cassidy focusing on Ashley. They DO, of course, but Travis and Cassidy have their private moments, just as Ashley has private moments with Travis and Cassidy separately.

And the boy touching is HOT. Just sayin’. Also: No shortage of dirty talk. Always a plus with me.

I loved that all three of them each had their own issues to work out, and they were given the space and time and support they each needed to do so. They all loved and trusted each other and for the most part all three acted in the best interests of the other two. Not always, of course, or where would the tension and drama come from?

Travis…Oh, Travis. Poor, angsty, troubled Travis. I loved him so much. So SOOOO much. He’s damaged and knows it, and he wants Cassidy and Ashley more than anything, but he’s having a difficult time reconciling his needs with accepting their love.

Cassidy broke my heart. His issues with his father and his worry about…well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Ashley was exactly the catalyst the two guys needed to break through their emotional barriers and realize what they could have as a triad. She has some worries of her own, but works through them.

I think one of my favorite moments is when Travis finally tells Ashley how he feels about her. Her and Cassidy’s reaction was priceless, and exactly what Travis needed. Viv Arend did such a wonderful job showing how much the three of them trust and love each other, and how they all feel emotionally safe within the relationship. They know they can break down in tears or talk about bad childhoods and they won’t be judged. Instead they will be loved beyond measure. Really, isn’t that what all of us look for in our own Happily Ever Afters?

I don’t know what else to tell you, other than this book was sexy, hot, emotional, full of angst, and a wonderful read. Also, I feel absolutely confident in judging this book by its cover. Yowza!

I read between 200-300 books a year and I give 5 stars to about 10 of those each year. I’d give this book 6 stars if I could.

In fact, I think I’ll go read it again right now.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Travis4Ever
aka The Fish With Sticks

Rating: 5 Stars