Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
He’s the one who taught her to ride. Now all he wants is to ride her.
Six Pack Ranch, Book 1
Blake Coleman is old enough to know that acting on impulse causes nothing but a heap of trouble. But when trouble’s a western-hat-wearing blonde with slim legs that go on forever, what’s a man to do? Wanting the sweet girl next door is just wrong. The responsible thing to do is keep his hands off.
Jaxi has other plans for Blake’s hands, and his heart. She may have once considered him a big brother, but that was a long time ago. She’s all grown up now and ready to convince him that she’s perfect for him. Except he can’t seem to see past the big “don’t touch” sign that’s apparently still hanging around her neck.
When Jaxi ends up living right under Blake’s nose, the undeniable heat between them slides off simmer and leaps up to barn-burning levels. However, a few of the younger six-pack Colemans have decided Jaxi’s brand of trouble is worth risking a few busted bones.
That is, if Blake’s finally ready to let go the reins and fight for what he wants…
Warning: Sexy cowboys seducing and being seduced in trucks, pool halls and barns. Droolworthy country charm, a little double-teaming, a few secrets and a whole lot of brothers to look forward to. Anyone wanna go for a ride?
Jaxi’s been a part of the big Coleman family since she literally tangled with brothers Travis, Jesse and Joel in a mud pit when she was seven years old. When she was eighteen, she had a brief, tumultuous relationship with Travis that ended suddenly with an argument involving the oldest Coleman brother, Blake – the one Jaxi’s always wanted that has run from her for just as long.
Three years later, the Coleman matriarch needs some temporary help at the ranch and Jaxi is on hand, perfectly qualified and now that he can’t escape, ready to hunt down Blake. The only problem is that while he’s wildly attracted to her, he’s also sure their ten year age difference is always going to be too much. His brothers finally force him to make a decision – three of them are willing to go after Jaxi themselves if Blake doesn’t stake his claim – but he has second thoughts about the way they started their relationship almost immediately.
I was trying to decide if I should pet the cover before or after the meat of the review and decided to just get it out of my system. Consider it petted. I’m not a huge fan of cowboy romances. Diana Palmer and Linda Howard pretty much beat it out of me in the late ‘80s with their Silhouette Romances that my grandmother used to hand off to me and I really didn’t pick any more up until I started reading Lorelei James and Beth Williamson recently. I don’t know that I even would classify this as a “cowboy” romance, since there aren’t any scenes of ropin’ and wranglin’ and stuff. It’s more of a “ranch” category, if there is such a thing.
The Coleman family is a big group of brothers, some slightly more dysfunctional than others. There are six: Blake, Daniel, Matt, Travis and twins Jesse and Joel. Some of the book is devoted to Matt and his often unhappy relationship with his girlfriend Helen, who won’t commit to him. Jesse and Joel are funny and a little wild and more than happy to share one girl – they would have loved to go after Jaxi if Blake wasn’t going to step in. Travis has a dark secret that Jaxi knows and is helping him hide from his family – I have no idea what it is based on what I read, but it’ll be interesting to see it unfold in the next two books.
Blake is a combination of sexy older brother alpha that’d have wild sex in a barn with his girl and a very sweet and old-fashioned guy who’ll also take her to a nice community picnic. I really enjoyed the way his relationship with Jaxi played out – there wasn’t a high degree of angst, just a nice steady progression of their relationship and with the rest of the family’s story woven in, it was enough conflict.
Jaxi was sweet and determined and not above a lot of deception to get Blake where she wanted him. She was a lot braver than I’d have been, for sure. I’m not sure how she managed to deal with all the brothers hanging on her without punching a few of them, but I liked that she always knew what she wanted out of life and she worked towards it.
The sexy times were, as usual in an Arend book, very hot without being too uncomfortably graphic. There was a sizzling, smoking scene that I have to mention – Jaxi took some dancing lessons and does a little pole dance in the barn in a little vest, short shorts and cowboy boots. Yes, Blake’s head popped off. There was also a lot of humor in the story. I laughed out loud in several places.
If I had to pick any part of the book that was at all weak, it would be that this felt a little bit like a setup book – that is that it obviously was one that introduced the family and got the series going by establishing the scene and characters. I enjoyed getting to know everyone and feeling like I was immersed in the ranch, but there wasn’t as much time spent with Blake and Jaxi as a result of the Max and Helen side story (relatively small though it was).
My Summary: By tying in their love of the Coleman ranch, Jaxi and Blake’s romance took on extra meaning. I enjoyed their story, Blake’s struggle to accept Jaxi as a partner, their cute adventures in dating and of course their steamy bedroom (and barn and kitchen) time. What I didn’t expect to love so much was the story of the Coleman family that wove through the story. It enriched Blake and Jaxi’s romance, making the ranch come alive and making me ready to dive into the next book as soon as I can.