Hello, and welcome back! Oh, and Happy New Year! We're disappointed we didn't have any snow over the holiday week, but perhaps now that the kids are heading back to school we'll get some real winter weather. That would make them happy, I know. I've dug pretty well into the January releases already; I'm a little disappointed with some of this month's romances, and more so with the dearth of new releases. I'd hoped for a better start to the new year than the past few months of the last year.
However, I am not at all disappointed with the first book I have to share with you. Sadie Callahan, aka Anna Jeffrey, has Lone Star Woman (Signet) out now. Jude Strayhorn has spent her life preparing to take on the job of her father's ranch, but he's not inclined to believe a woman can do the job, so she's set her sights on the abandoned ranch next door. Only that ranch now belongs to Brady Fallon, and he has plans for it himself that don't involve selling it to some spoiled rich girl. But to make his own plans viable, Brady's going to need some money, and to get it, he'll have to work for Jude's father. In Jude's male-dominated world, it's not unusual to have her wishes thwarted, but that it's Brady in her way makes things much more complicated. And for Brady, it doesn't take him long to figure out that Jude isn't the spoiled woman he'd imagined, but that doesn't mean he can see a clear way for them to work out the attraction between them. She's way out of his league, even if he wasn't working for her father. But the emotions they experience are difficult to resist, even harder to hide. But when Brady discovers a secret Jude has kept from him, that puts a serious kink into any future between them. He views it as a betrayal, and Jude comes to realize there's no forgiveness for her. But how can she go back to life the way it was before? This author is fantastic, as always, no matter what name she chooses to write under. She has a way of getting inside her characters' heads that makes a reader believe, makes them feel right along with the characters. I always look forward to reading her books, and this one is a fantastic addition to my collection. Jude is a little bit naive, which is a refreshing change from some of the heroines on the bookshelves these days who're tough and rough. But Jude isn't willing to be relegated to the back burner like the women who came before her in her family's ranching dynasty, which reveals the strength she also carries. Good stuff, and a definite keeper. I'm borrowing four of Cupid's five arrows for this one.