Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bound, Branded, & Brazen -- by Jaci Burton -- A Review

In the wilds of Oklahoma, three sisters ignite a hot date with destiny. Valery, Brea, and Jolene McMasters reunite on the family ranch that should have been called Bar Nothing . . .
Bound . . . Valerie left for the big city, and she kissed her foreman husband, Mason, good-bye, along with the best sex she'd ever had. Now, seeing him brings back sizzling memories. But their rekindled fire threatens t o burn them both.
Branded . . . Watching Gage wrangle untamed horses with a gentle but firm touch leaves Brea hot and bothered. But can she live out her fantasy with a man who might ask for more than she's willing to give?
Brazen . . . Ranch hand Walker Morgan can't afford to lose his job by getting too close to his new boss, Jolene--no matter how much she tempts him. But Jolene's prepared to make the first move, because what Jolene wants, Jolene gets. And she wants Walker!
Three sisters have gathered at the McMaster's ranch to bury their uncle, the man who has been running their father's ranch. Now these three are the inheritors of this property and must decide how their future and that of the ranch will intertwine. Each sister has been hurt by the early death of their parents and the insensitive manner their uncle managed not only their parents' ranch but their own growing up experiences. Each sister has fears and "issues" -- these used to be called "hang-ups" over losing so much so early. Valerie has left the ranch to pursue her education as a doctor. And now she returns having finished her schooling, the internship and residency, and has now been invited to join a prestigious medical practice. She is definitely "on her way" but meeting up with her ex reminds her that her reasons for their divorce may not be as cut and dried as she would like to believe. But the question remains: has her fears of being abandoned caused her to leave behind the one person who fills her heart like no one ever can?
Brea is the middle sister who has dealt with the emotional blows by retreating into her computer and her romance novels. Yet her heart and her body yearn to move away from the stories into the reality of genuine human encounter, especially with Gage. He's solid muscle, well-spoken, Alpha to the core, but full of respect for women and horses. He is, at heart, a gentleman, and Brea wants to know him better. Their subsequent encounters are full of sensuality and tenderness, demonstrating Gage's persistent efforts to bring Brea into a joyous celebration of herself as a whole person and a vibrant human being.
Jolene has been the sister that stayed on the ranch, was the side-kick to her uncle although he did not acknowledge her efforts or give her the credit due. She knows every square inch of the ranch and it is in her blood. It is her home and holds her heart. Yet Jolene is also yearning for something other than work. She has been exposed to the calm and efficient Walker Morgan for five years and she wants him. He, on the other hand, has steadfastly turned away from every hint, suggestion, opportunity, and overt invitation to become involved with Jolene for reasons only know to him. She was not willing to let the stand-off persist and thus she has placed herself squarely in Walker's path so that he can no longer avoid the attraction that has been simmering between them for five years. Walker is willing to be everything Jolene wants him to be to her, as long as it is on the QT -- just make sure no one knows about it. Jolene will have none of that and the sparks do indeed fly.
Jaci Burton is known for her vibrant sensual novels and she has done it again! She writes in such a way that these characters come alive and breathe. Their stories are reminiscent of so many who want to find loving and caring in authentic relationship. The interplay between the sisters is heart-wrenching at times and very funny at others. Regardless of their disagreements, there is love and mutual awareness of their common history, and while each sister has responded to that history in her own unique way, they are very aware that the solution to their concerns will influence them all.
I liked this book and felt that under all the overt sensuality lay the deeper questions of how people handle death, how one responds to emotional abandonment, and how all this influences the way each manages one's adult relationships. It is also about learning and growing beyond one's fears and that all-important issue of learning to take emotional risks. I give this book a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Once again a great review! I really love Burton's books!