Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: A Cowboy’s Home
SERIES: Montana #3
AUTHOR: R.J. Scott
PUBLISHER: Love Lane Books
LENGTH: 298 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 8th, 2016
One burned and broken man finds his way home. Can he find peace in the arms of a man easy to love?
Justin made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, battling domestic terrorism, never the man he really was, using hate to avenge the death of his best friend. The friend he’d killed.
What he doesn’t count on is getting shot, and if he’s going to die he wants it to be on Crooked Tree soil. Home.
Sam is as much a part of Crooked Tree as any of the families, and the offer to buy into the ranch is a dream come true. But falling for a hidden, secretive, injured man isn’t the way to keep his head in the game.
Welcome back to Crooked Tree Ranch and all the family drama it contains….
This is the story about Justin, the missing boy from twelve years ago. We’ve had a partial resolution, Adam, the other missing boy was reunited with his family in the second book in this series, and we’ve all been waiting to see what had happened with Justin. There will probably be spoilers for the last book in this review, if you haven’t read them all…. well, you need to go do that certainly, but consider yourself warned!
So as I said, this is the story of Justin the missing boy, now man, who vanished without a trace from Crooked Tree Ranch. When we hook back up with Justin in this book, he is in deep trouble. He appears to be in some sort of secret government unit, set against domestic terrorists, that is unraveling. There is a fight, some gunfire exchanged, some bad stuff happens that I won’t share, and Justin escapes with his life and a bullet wound. He heads to the only safe place he can think of, Crooked Tree Ranch. He tries to hide out and either recover or die, he hasn’t decided which he’ll prefer. But he is discovered by Sam, the chef of the restaurant at Crooked Tree.
Sam has been a part of the ranch as a chef, but not always part of the inner family you could say. He’s the hired help, appreciated and liked, but he’s not one of the founding families, and hasn’t been there long enough to know the whole dramatic story with the missing boys. He has some major family issues of his own, as we find out pretty quickly. The only good thing to come out of it is he has some money to invest, and wants to become a bigger part of the ranch. He begins to suspect something is off in his kitchen though, and that there may be someone breaking in, and hiding on the ranch. He investigates and is shocked to find a very injured man hiding in a wreck of a cabin. Yup, Justin.
This gets the two main characters together, and starts the resolution to Justin’s story. Unfortunately it also starts my issues with the book.
I LOVED the first two books in this series, and I was very excited to get to this one, and get the rest of the story that has haunted these families for so many years. I love the characters, the sense of family, the closeness the ranch has. The other two stories are possibly my favorite books by RJ Scott. But I was disappointed with this one. I don’t know if it’s because she rushed to get it out this summer instead of this fall, but it fell short for me.
The bulk of this book takes place in a cabin on the ranch lands, with an injured Justin, and a helpful Sam. But Justin spends the whole time threatening to leave, not willing to tell anyone what happened so many years ago. All of the other characters are gradually brought in, but nothing happens. There is lots of standing around, staring at each other, some crying, going outside, and coming back inside. Justin repeatedly refuses to talk, attempts to leave, falls down, passes out, is put back in bed, where Sam cares for him and pets his hair. There is definitely a bond growing between them, but it was way too slow for me. I’m not opposed to a slow burn, but this was too slow. There is no sex until 86% in to this book. 86%. Then it’s very rushed. Way too much time is spent on nothing happening in the cabin.
Then there is the back story and where Justin has been. I didn’t really get it…. It does all come out, but it was just too unbelievable for me to accept. But we do get some resolution after all this time. This is a good thing! There was also the introduction of some characters involving Sam right before the end that didn’t make sense. I don’t know why they were there so suddenly, other than to provide characters for another book?
I feel bad, I was so looking forward to this one, but it had too many issues for me. I did love Sam, I’m not sure about Justin, or their relationship. The backstory of where Justin has been didn’t really work for me. And there were some typos and editing issues. This just really felt like a rushed book, and not up to the quality I have come to expect from RJ Scott.
So I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t love it either. I still highly recommend the other two books in this series, and this one as part of the overall story around the ranch. Definitely read those first or this one won’t make any sense.